‘Journey For Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong’, A Must-Read Children’s Book for Hispanic Heritage and Filipino American History Month Celebrations

National Movement to Tell Story of Filipino American and UFW Co-Founder Larry Itliong Gains Significant Momentum

A page from Journey For Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong. Illustrated by André Sibayan.

August 26, 2019, Stockton, CA  - The historically significant book “Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong” continues on the second leg of its national movement and book tour with co-author Gayle Romasanta starting in Santa Ana, California at the Beyond "Hispanic Heritage Month" Lecture Series at Alta Baja Market on September 12. “Journey for Justice” is about Larry Itliong, co-founder of the United Farm Workers (UFW) with Cesar Chavez, and also gives a glimpse of Filipino American and Mexican 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.

“Often we seek ourselves in books and can't find us in them, especially when we seek our own history within this nation,” shares Sarah Rafael García, author of SanTana's Fairy Tales, LibroMobile Founder, & Granddaughter of a Bracero Farm Worker. “But we shouldn't stop at our history, we need to learn more and create visibility for those who did the work before us, who claimed the dirt paths and streets, chanted in their own words along our side, and sacrificed their own existence beyond their culture. Journey For Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong is not only a Filipino American narrative, it is also Chicanx history, it is the foundation of the UFW, and an essential story about an immigrant who fought for civil rights and contributed to U.S. history. It is important to share this story all year round,” says García, a lead organizer in the Santa Ana tour stop. 

The 16-city national book tour, with stops already in Delano, California, Seattle, Washington, New York City and Washington, DC, has created a movement with Latino, Filipino and Asian Pacific Islander nonprofit organizations throughout the country to bring the history of Larry Itliong to their communities. Additional tour dates include Houston, Texas (September 13-16) at Rice University, followed by University of Alaska, Anchorage (September 27-28), University of Michigan (October 6), University of Illinois, Chicago (October 11-12), and more to be announced.

"The book signifies the start of a movement where stories such as these are breaking out into the mainstream media. There were game-changing moments in history that many may not know about. Two ethnic groups came together and aligned due to the tenacity of one man, a Filipino American, who fought for justice. This is the start of building inspirational moments like these into sustainable education. Future and current generations need to see role models and heroes that look like them in history books,” says Filipino American National Historical Society - Houston Chapter President Christy Poisot. She adds, “We also want to acknowledge a role model gone before her time, historian and author Dr. Dawn Mabalon, a Stanford trained historian, who put her heart and soul in this book. She inspires all of us to champion this movement and continue the work she started."

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. The aim of the book tour 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. It is also to teach students at each tour stop and inspire student leaders to build solidarity with other marginalized communities to make change. 

Emilio Huerta, lawyer and son of Dolores Huerta, reading Journey For Justice at the book tour kick off, February 2019, Delano, CA.

Emilio Huerta, lawyer and son of Dolores Huerta, reading Journey For Justice at the book tour kick off, February 2019, Delano, CA.

“As Filipinos in Alaska, we are very excited to have Gayle Romasanta share with us the story of Larry Itliong, a prominent Filipino American labor activist, who refined his labor activism in the fish canneries of Alaska. It’s important for people to know that Filipino Alaskan history is rich and goes back to the 1700s, and that one of the most well-known Filipino Americans in history was an Alaskero! Future generations of Alaskans - Filipino and non-Filipino - must know this,” says E.J.R. David, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology and Director, Alaska Native Community Advancement in Psychology (ANCAP) Program, University of Alaska Anchorage.

This book will be the first out of a planned series of four books about Filipino American historical figures for students ages 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

All tour events are free to attend, family-friendly, and will feature: 

  • Speeches from community leaders (In Santa Ana, Los Angeles Times features writer and author Gustavo Arellano will be facilitating the Q & A, In Texas, community leader and FANHS Houston President Christy Poisot, and in Anchorage, EJ David, PhD, author and professor, University of Alaska, Anchorage). 

  • 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 

‘Journey For Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong’ featured in Smithsonian Magazine.

‘Journey For Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong’ featured in Smithsonian Magazine.

Partners in the upcoming tour stops include Libro Mobile; Alta Baja Market; FANHS Houston Chapter; Unipro; Advocate OCA-Greater Houston; Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce, Texas; National Federation of Filipino American Associations; Shell Oil Company; Rice University; Chicago Cultural Alliance; FANHS Greater Chicago Chapter; Jane Addams Hull House Museum, University of Illinois, Chicago; CIRCA-Pintig; Philippine-American Cultural Foundation; University of Alaska, Anchorage Center for Community Engagement and Learning; Alaskero Partnership Organizers; and FANHS Alaska Chapter. 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.

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