PLEASE SUPPORT CALIFORNIA AB 123: Including School Instruction on Filipinos’ Role in Farm Worker Movement
Join the NorCal Coalition to Pass AB 123! Check out our next meeting:
Thursday, May 2, 2013 @ 730 PM
222 Lausanne Ave.
Daly City, CA
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** Update: Send Your Support for AB 123 Now! **
What is Assembly Bill 123?
Assembly Bill 123 requires school districts, in providing study in the social sciences for grades 7 through 12, to include instruction on the contributions of Filipinos to the farm workers movement in California.
The American farm labor movement has had a tremendous impact on the history of California. However, the story of the Filipinos’’ contributions to this great movement has been widely untold in our schools. AB 123 seeks to rectify this problem by exploring those important contributions and adding them to the public school curriculum.
According to the 2010 report by the U.S. Census Bureau, Filipinos comprise the second largest Asian population within California, totaling 1.1 million residents. It is time to begin educating more Californians about the important role of this population—particularly during significant historical times such as the labor movement.
The names and historical significance of influential Filipino leaders in the movement – such as Larry Itliong – are unknown to most of our school children. Itliong was one of the leaders of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC), who unified farm workers and started the Delano Grape Strike of 1965-1970. This strike was pivotal in inspiring the farm labor movement towards ending the suppression and oppression of farm workers’ rights. Itliong and many others deserve to have their stories shared with future generations.
AB 123 provides instruction on the critical role of Filipinos on the history of our state, and honors noteworthy historical Filipino figures who never received proper recognition for their work in the farm workers labor movement.
History and Current Status of Bill
Introduced last January by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), AB 123 was unanimously passed by the Assembly Education Committee on March 20th. It will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on April 10. If passed, it will have to be approved by the entire Assembly floor by May 31st.
The bill will go through the same process in the State Senate: Education Committee, Appropriations Committee, entire Senate floor. If it passes these groups, it will go to the Governor to be signed into law.
Significance and Analysis
AB 123 will allow for students to learn about the major contributions of Filipinos and Filipino Americans in the farm worker movement and integrate positive examples and representation of Filipino history and culture in social science curriculums. We must connect the historical contributions of Filipinos in American society to the current contributions of Filipino workers and immigrants and the overall struggles of workers and immigrants. We shall link the 1960s-70s struggles of the Filipino farm workers to current struggles for comprehensive immigration reform, living wage, anti-trafficking, basic workers rights, etc. For instance, both agricultural and domestic workers were excluded from the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935. The success of the UFW brought about the Agricultural Labor Relations Act in California in 1975 that gave collective bargaining rights to farmworkers, however, to this day domestic workers are still unprotected when asking for respect of their basic rights and are unable to collectively bargain for conditions allowing them to labor in dignity.
We must also raise the issue of forced migration of the farm workers who had to leave the Philippines to seek better living conditions, only to be met with racism, discrimination, and abusive and inhumane working conditions and educate our communities that this still exists to this day as reflected by the more than 4,500 Filipinos leaving the country every day for similar reasons. The labor export program (LEP) of the Philippine government must be exposed for what it is – a legal and systematic way of perpetuating similar injustices against Filipinos who cannot find decent livelihood in their home country.
Youth and students have a right to learn their history. We must be conscious and critical of what we learn in our classrooms and who has a say in these decisions. The professionalization of education has caused school curriculums to move away from recognizing people’s history, thereby also preventing students from understanding labor organizing and its importance. We must expose the commercialized state of our public education and demand to recognize the solidarity between Mexican and Filipinos in the farm labor movement in California.
Additional Resources and Links
“Delano Manongs” trailer – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs6s1XVm83A
How can you support AB 123?
For individuals you can print this letter for support and send it in to:
The Honorable Mike Gatto
Chair, Assembly Appropriations Committee
State Capitol, Room 2114 Sacramento, CA 95814
or fax to Assembly member Rob Bonta,
ATTN:An-Chi Tsou. Fax (916)319-2118.
It must be mailed or faxed in by May 15.
For Organizations just add a letter head and to add more about why their organization is asking for AB123 to pass.
Letter template: AB123 Support Letter