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Filipino Memorial Mural to be Unveiled This Saturday at Milpitas Library

For Immediate Release:
October 9, 2013

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. –Five years ago, the Filipino Memorial Project (FMP) started an effort to raise public awareness about the role Filipino Americans played during the 1960s Labor Movement.  This Saturday, at 11:00 a.m., the Milpitas Library will unveil a public mural highlighting their remarkable contributions. 

 “When people view this mural, they will have conversations about the fact that the brave leaders depicted in it pioneered and initiated labor struggles to benefit all farm workers,” said Mayor of Milpitas Jose Esteves, who, along with other state and local dignitaries, and community leaders will participate in the unveiling ceremony.  “All Filipino Americans will have a sense of pride and honor in their heritage when they learn about those who came before them and have made history because of their courageous passion for the dignity of labor.”

Filipino cultural performances, cuisine and entertainment will accompany the unveiling of the 7’ x 4’ painted canvas featuring key historic figures, including Larry Itliong, Philip Vera Cruz, Andy Imutan, Ben Hines, Pete Velasco, Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta; all were instrumental organizers in the agricultural labor movements of the 1960s.  The large mural will hang on the walls of the Teen Homework Center in the Milpitas Library, located at 160 N. Main Street, in Milpitas.

“This beautiful mural illustrates the struggles that farm workers, many of them of Filipino origin, experienced in many agricultural fields of California,” said Dave Cortese, Santa Clara County Supervisor, District 3, who will attend the unveiling ceremony.  “It expresses our gratitude for their sacrifice and courage.” 

Comprised of scholars, students, historians, and community members at San Jose State University, the Filipino Memorial Project seeks to acknowledge those leaders in the Filipino community who, through their hard work and perseverance, brought about positive change for future generations.

The mural depicts the Delano Grape Strike in 1965, when more than 1,500 farm workers walked off the grape fields in Delano, California.  Filipino Union leader Larry Itliong, of the Agricultural Workers Organization Committee (AWOC), and Mexican American farm worker organizers, Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, representing the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), joined forces to organize the protest.

“The better wages, better working conditions, and medical benefits many have in the work place are the result of past generations experiencing adverse treatment and working together to overcome it,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, District 2, also attending the ceremony.  “What a great opportunity we have today to use art to exemplify the role Filipinos have played in the history of our region.”  

The mural was painted by local Bay Area artists who were taught mural painting techniques by Jessica Antonio.  The mural pattern was created by sketch artists Grayson Dere and Kenneth Lee, as well as muralist Niki Escobar.  The painting itself took several weekends to complete with the expertise of a third muralist, Yunnie Tsao Snyder.

About the Santa Clara County Library District

Known as one of America’s best 100 public libraries, the Santa Clara County Library District promotes knowledge, ideas, and cultural enrichment. Its collection includes more than 1.9 million books, videos, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, eBooks and extensive online resources accessible from home or work.

For eleven years, the Library has ranked as one of the best in the nation for its size by Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings. Also recognized as one of America’s 2013 Star Libraries by Library Journal, the Santa Clara County Library District is one of the most-used public resources in the region.

The Santa Clara County Library District includes two bookmobiles, an online library, seven community libraries and one branch library serving Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Saratoga and the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County. In 2013, the Santa Clara County Library District had more than 215,000 library cardholders and welcomed 3.2 million visitors who borrowed 9.7 million items. Visit Santa Clara County Library District online at www.sccl.org.

Contact:

Gwendolyn Mitchell/Marina Hinestrosa 
Office of Public Affairs 
(408) 299-5119 
 
Derek Wolfgram/Mark Fink/Lili Smith
Santa Clara County Library District
(408) 293-2326 ext. 3002/3010/3014