Untold Story of Filipino American and UFW Labor Leader Larry Itliong Makes Debut in New York and Washington DC

May 6, 2019, New York, NY - The historically significant book Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong will make its third stop in its national book tour in New York City at John Jay College of Criminal Justice on Saturday, May 18, followed by Washington DC on Monday, May 20, at Busboy and Poets (Brookland location). As the first book about Larry Itliong, co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW) with Cesar Chavez, the book also gives a glimpse of Filipino American history and the solidarity between Filipino and Mexican farm workers that created the largest farm labor movement in the history of the United States.

The 15-city national book tour, with stops already in Delano, California and Seattle, Washington, aims to create a movement with Filipino and Asian Pacific Islander nonprofit organizations  throughout the country to bring the history of Larry Itliong to their communities. The aim is to remember and celebrate often forgotten Larry Itliong, who led the Delano Grape Strike, co-founded the UFW with Cesar Chavez and was an important social justice leader in the farm labor movement. Partners in the east coast book tour stop include John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York; Filipino National Historical Society Metro New York Chapter; Washington, D.C. Mayor’s Office of Asian Pacific Islander Affairs, Asian Pacific Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO; Asian American Studies Program, University of Maryland; Filipino Young Professionals of Washington, D.C.; Rita M. Cacas Foundation; and Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Consulting. Sponsors of the nationwide tour include Bridge and Delta Publishing; University of California, Davis Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies; Little Manila Rising; Pin@y Educational Partnerships, PapaLoDown Public Relations Agency, and the Filipino American National Historical Society.

Both the New York and Washington D.C. family-friendly events will feature:

  • A tribute to Dr. Dawn Mabalon

  • Speeches from community leaders (In New York, Dr. Kevin Nadal and more; Washington DC, Ben de Guzman and more)

  • Q&A and book signing with co-author and publisher Gayle Romasanta

  • Performances by Filipin@/x artists and students

  • Overview of the free teacher’s guide created by Pin@y Educational Partnerships


“As one of the largest immigrant groups in the country, we want our history to be recognized and our stories to be told. We’re happy to honor the legacies of both Larry Itliong and Dr. Dawn Mabalon here on the East Coast with the NYC community.” Shares Kevin Nadal, FANHS National trustee and professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

_J4J DC Flyer (2).png

"Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) of D.C. is proud to be a part of this event to bring Larry Itliong’s history to light; for far too long, his contributions and efforts to bring justice to immigrant workers have been overshadowed and forgotten. Dr Mabalon’s work helps to reclaim his legacy as a labor leader for the next generation of Asian Americans who do not often see ourselves mirrored in the history that is told." shares Thoa Hoang, APALA DC

Currently, Filipino Americans are the largest Asian American group in 10 of the 13 western states, the second largest Asian American population in the nation, and is the oldest Asian population in the nation, with hardly any mention of their contributions to U.S. history in school textbooks.

While the book celebrates Larry Itliong and history of the Delano Grape Strike, it also highlights Dr. Dawn Mabalon’s life work as the co-founder of Little Manila Rising (formerly the Little Manila Foundation), Filipino American National Historical Society scholar and trustee, a San Francisco State University professor, and author of multiple books including “Little Manila Is In the Heart: The Making of the Filipina/o American Community in Stockton, California” (Duke University Press, 2013).

Bridge and Delta Publisher and Owner Gayle Romasanta and the Filipino American community aim to further Dr. Dawn Mabalon’s work to spread Filipino American history, especially “Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong,” Mabalon’s last book. Romasanta says, “Dawn made history accessible and was a revered community activist. She not only was a scholar, but her work touched the Filipino American community on a national scale. She saved the remaining Filipino neighborhood Little Manila buildings in her hometown of Stockton and named the area ‘Historic Little Manila,’ she traveled the country speaking and connecting with the community and spreading her wealth of knowledge about American history, Filipino American food history, and more. Dr Mabalon was the leading Filipino American historian before her untimely passing.”

This book will be the first out of a planned series of four books about Filipino American historical figures for students 10 and up, from Bridge and Delta Publishing. A free teacher’s guide to accompany the book was created by Pin@y Educational Partnerships and is available to download at www.bridgedelta.com.

New York, NY
Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong & Tribute to Dr. Dawn Mabalon
Saturday, May 18, 2019
John Jay College Floor 2, 524 W 59th St
New York, NY 10019

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/574125246406950/
Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/journey-for-justice-the-life-of-larry-itliong-book-tour-tribute-to-dr-dawn-mabalon-tickets-60829011210

Washington, DC
Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong & Tribute to Dr. Dawn Mabalon
Monday, May 20, 2019
Busboy and Poets (Brookland location)
625 Monroe St NE
Washington, D.C. 20017
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/413747882690743/
Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/national-book-tour-of-journey-for-justice-the-life-of-larry-itliong-tickets-61551259474

# # #

About Larry Itliong: The story of Itliong is a crucial one and missing in California textbooks and public memory. Itliong co-founded the UFW with Cesar Chavez on August 22, 1966, and since his death in 1977, has largely gone unnoticed. Itliong immigrated to the United States in 1929 when he was 15, and immediately began working throughout the United States as a farm laborer and in the Salmon canneries of Alaska. He would later begin to organize Filipino American laborers and ultimately became a union organizer for the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC). When he led Filipinos in the Great Delano Grape Strike, he contacted Cesar Chavez and asked for the Mexican farm workers to join the strike with them. On September 16, Cesar Chavez and the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) joined the Filipinos in the Great Delano Grape strike. In 1966, AWOC and NFWA merged to become the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFW). The Great Delano Grape Strike lasted for five years and thrust Chavez in the limelight, while little has been known about his cofounder Larry Itliong. The farm worker movement became one of the greatest social justice and economic movements in California and the United States.

About Dr. Dawn Bohulano Mabalon: Dawn Bohulano Mabalon, PhD, is a third-generation Pinay (Filipina American) born and raised in Stockton, California, and the descendant of farmworkers and teachers. She received a BA in history and an MA in Asian American Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles and a doctorate degree in American history from Stanford University. Before her untimely passing on August 10, 2018, she was a professor in the department of history at San Francisco State University, a co-founder of Little Manila Rising in Stockton and a board member and National Scholar of the Filipino American National Historical Society. She is the author of several articles, essays, poems, and books, including “Little Manila Is in the Heart: The Making of the Filipino American Community in Stockton, California” (Duke University Press, 2013) and the first book about Larry Itliong, “Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong” (Bridge and Delta Publishing, 2018).

About Gayle Romasanta: Gayle Romasanta received her Bachelor of Arts, Creative Writing, from San Francisco State University and received a scholarship to attend the Master of Fine Arts Writing program, at California College of the Arts. Since then, her work as a writer and editor has been published in newspapers, magazines, books, online, and featured on radio and television programs on KQED, KPFA, ABS-CBN, WB, NBC and FOX news affiliates. Gayle’s work in theater, film and music has been featured in events and venues such as the Houston Asian American Music Festival, San Francisco Asian American Jazz Festival,  and the Cultural Center of the Philippines. She is a former artistic director of Bindlestiff Studio, the only Filipino American theater in the United States. She also co-founded California College of the Arts literary arts journal, “Eleven Eleven,” and her first children’s book, “Beautiful Eyes” (Meritage Press 2012, Bridge and Delta Publishing 2018 ) is part of the curriculum for the San Francisco Unified School District. She also co-composed the music for the first Google Philippines campaign commercial in 2014. Currently, she is the founder and owner of Bridge and Delta Publishing, producing the first-ever series of its kind: eight books on Filipino American history for 4th-9th grade students, their teachers and families. The first book, Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong, co-written with the late and great Dr. Dawn Mabalon, was launched on October 27, 2018.

About Andre Sibayan: Andre Sibayan is an illustrator and designer, born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. His work has been featured in major national and international magazines, retail brands, kids apparel, and various food, beverage, and hospitality branding projects. Growing up on comics, anime, and Saturday morning cartoons has given him an affinity for creating art for the young and the young at heart.

About Bridge and Delta Publishing: Bridge and Delta was founded on the spirit of "home" and immigrant journeys that are absolutely American at their core. This independent publishing house publishes Filipino American stories for families and communities to understand their past, present and future; so that their immigration story gives them a better understanding of who they are and where they are headed individually and as a community. A percentage of profits from each book sold goes to nonprofit community organizations supporting ethnic studies and teaching Filipino American history in the K-14 public school system.

About Filipino American National Historical Society: Founded in 1982, the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) documents and promotes Filipino American history through its archives, conferences, books, programs, films, art and more. With 33 Chapters throughout the USA, FANHS has recognized October as Filipino American History Month for decades.