Cesar Chavez Film Leaves Out Filipino American Leadership Role in Farmworkers Struggle

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March led by Larry Itliong (left) and Cesar Chavez (right), via FANHS. Photographer unknown.

Note: The Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) today issued a media release critiquing the new film, Cesar Chavez, saying that the film leaves out Filipino American contributions and misses an opportunity to provide an accurate account of the farmworker struggle. I have not yet seen the film, but am sharing this because the Filipino American farmworker story deserves attention. My posting this is in no way intended to diminish the labor and civil rights legacy of Cesar Chavez or others who led or were involved in that movement. I am thrilled that this movie was made, even while lamenting that the story omits the roles that Larry Itliong and other Filipino Americans served in advancing the cause of labor. I will see this movie and encourage others to see it as well. Thank you to Ron Muriera for sharing this. – Keith

The National Board of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) celebrates the appearance of United Farm Workers (UFW) co-founder Larry Itliong in the Hollywood biopic Cesar Chavez. However, FANHS argues that the film misses an opportunity to offer a nuanced and accurate history of the farmworkers movement that was born of the Filipinos’ 1965 Grape Strike because it does not emphasize the importance of the historic multi-ethnic alliance between Mexicans and Filipinos in the UFW.

FANHS hopes that moviegoers inspired by the film continue to learn about the movement and are spurred towards dialogue and action towards today’s movements for worker justice and such issues as immigration reform.

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