California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly Concurrent ResolutionNo. 66

Introduced by Assembly Member Bonta

(Coauthors: Assembly Members Chang, Chau, Chiu, Chu, Kim, Low, Ting, and Williams)

(Coauthors: Senators Liu and Pan)

May 11, 2015

Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 66—Relative to Filipino American History Month.


ACR 66, as introduced, Bonta. Filipino American History Month.

This measure would recognize the month of October 2015 as Filipino American History Month and the 428th anniversary of the first presence of Filipinos in the continental United States.

Fiscal committee: no.

P1    1WHEREAS, Filipinos and Filipino Americans have been
2contributing to California and the United States for hundreds of
3years, ever since October 18, 1587, when the first “Luzones Indios”
4set foot in Morro Bay, California, on board the Nuestra Señora de
5Esperanza, a Manila-built galleon ship captained by Pedro de
6Unamuno of Spain; and

7WHEREAS, In the late 1700s and early 1800s, Filipinos helped
8Father Junípero Serra establish the California mission system; and

9WHEREAS, Since the late 1800s, Filipino communities have
10existed in southern Louisiana, according to oral histories recorded
11by Rhonda Richoux Fox; and

P2    1WHEREAS, After the Philippines was colonized, Filipinos
2began immigrating to San Francisco, where they contributed to
3the city both as military personnel and as service sector workers
4such as bellhops, dishwashers, servants, and cooks; established,
5by the 1920s, a thriving community around Kearny and Jackson
6Streets, which became known as “Manilatown”; and settled, during
7the post World War II era, into the Fillmore, South of Market, and
8Excelsior districts; and

9WHEREAS, Between 1906 and 1935, the first large wave of
10Filipino immigration to the United States began, as Filipinos were
11recruited to California, Alaska, and Hawaii to work in the
12agricultural industries, canneries, and sugarcane plantations,
13respectively; and

14WHEREAS, The Filipino contract workers in Hawaii, or
15“Sakadas,” became the largest group of Asians on the sugarcane
16plantations by the 1920s; and

17WHEREAS, At the turn of the 20th century, Filipino students,
18or “pensionados,” farm workers, and laborers in manufacturing
19and in the service sector began settling in Stockton and the
20surrounding San Joaquin Delta area, where they built a community
21that became the largest concentration of Filipinos outside of the
22Philippines and established a thriving six-block ethnic
23neighborhood that became known as “Little Manila”; and

24WHEREAS, In 2000, the Stockton City Council designated this
25area, in downtown Stockton at the intersection of Lafayette and
26El Dorado Streets, as the “Little Manila Historical Site,” the first
27designation of this kind in the country; and

28WHEREAS, In the first decades of the 20th century, thousands
29of Filipinos in California worked in agricultural fields throughout
30the state, in cities and regions such as the Sacramento-San Joaquin
31Delta, the central coast, Imperial Valley, Orange County, the Inland
32Empire, Delano, Bakersfield, Coachella Valley, and the San
33Francisco Bay area, and became a critical element in the growth
34and political economy of the state, often enduring harsh labor
35conditions and poor wages, but persevering and creating a strong
36legacy of mutual support, strikes, and organization for farm labor
37unionization; and

38WHEREAS, In the 1920s, Filipinos in California also worked
39as laborers in the shipyards of Vallejo, where they established a
40Filipino American community and business center, and became
P3    1so successful that there were thousands of Filipinos working as
2shipbuilders by the start of World War II; and

3WHEREAS, During World War II, approximately 200,000
4Filipino soldiers battled under the command of the United States
5to preserve the liberty of our country and win back the liberty of
6the Philippines from the Japanese occupation; and

7WHEREAS, Thousands of these Filipino soldiers came from
8California, served in the First and Second Filipino Infantry
9Regiments, underwent training at Salinas and at Fort Ord,
10California, and were stationed at Camp Beale near Sacramento
11and Camp Cooke near Santa Maria; and

12WHEREAS, After World War II ended, many Filipinos who
13had served in the United States Navy settled in National City and
14elsewhere in the County of San Diego, as well as in the Cities of
15West Long Beach and Wilmington, where they worked in the Long
16Beach shipyards and Terminal Island canneries, served in the
17harbor area as nurses and medical workers, and created flourishing
18Filipino American communities numbering in the tens of
19thousands; and

20WHEREAS, Between 1941 and 1959, the second wave of
21Filipino immigration to the United States began, as nurses, students,
22“war brides” and fiancées of World War II military personnel and
23veterans, tourists, and Filipino members of the United States Navy
24came to the United States; and

25WHEREAS, In 1965, the third wave of Filipino immigration to
26the United States began, as the passing of the Immigration and
27Nationality Act abolished “national origins” as the basis for
28immigration, allowing for more immigration from Asia and Latin
29America and for much-needed Filipino medical professionals to
30come to the United States to fill United States labor shortages; and

31WHEREAS, On September 8, 1965, Filipino American
32agricultural labor leaders, including Larry Itliong and Philip Vera
33Cruz, organized more than 1,500 farm workers from the
34Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee in the Delano Grape
35Strike of 1965, in partnership with César Chávez, Dolores Huerta,
36and other Mexican American labor leaders of the National Farm
37Workers Association, sparking one of the greatest social, economic,
38and racial justice movements in the history of California and the
39United States, and led to the establishment of the United Farm
40Workers of America; and

P4    1WHEREAS, These agricultural workers, along with other
2volunteers, also built Agbayani Village, a retirement facility for
3elderly Filipino farmworkers, or “Manongs,” located at Forty Acres
4in Delano in the County of Kern; and

5WHEREAS, In 1968, Filipino student organizers were
6instrumental in the leadership of the Third World Liberation Front
7that led to the founding of our nation’s first Third World College
8at the University of California, Berkeley, and the first College of
9Ethnic Studies, at California State University, San Francisco, that
10was part of the larger effort to democratize higher education for
11all; and

12WHEREAS, From 1968 to 1977, Filipino American activists
13and residents of San Francisco’s International Hotel organized a
14popular, multiracial campaign that challenged local authorities and
15private development to place people and the public good ahead of
16profit, and support affordable housing for Filipino and Chinese
17immigrants and community members; and

18WHEREAS, From 1972 to 1986, Filipino American activists
19organized massive educational and political campaigns to restore
20civil liberties in the Philippines during the period of martial law
21in that country, creating dynamic local responses to international
22politics and placing pressure on the United States government to
23end its support of the Marcos dictatorship; and

24WHEREAS, In 1973, the fourth wave of Filipino immigration
25to the United States began, as political exiles and refugees from
26the Marcos era, intellectuals, tourists, students, student activists,
27professionals, semiprofessionals, and families came to the United
28States; and

29WHEREAS, In 2002, the City of Los Angeles, home to over
30120,000 Filipinos, designated part of the city as the “Historic
31Filipinotown” district, the largest designation of this kind in the
32country; and

33WHEREAS, The Filipino Community Center of the Los Angeles
34Harbor area in the City of Wilmington continues to serve as a
35model organization, facilitating community events such as
36weddings, baptisms, pageants, and fiestas; and

37WHEREAS, On November 8, 2013, Super Typhoon
38Haiyan/Yolanda, one of the strongest storms ever recorded in
39human history, struck the Philippines and devastated the lives of
40millions of people throughout the Philippines and the world; and

P5    1WHEREAS, Today, numerous other community-based
2institutions that take responsibility for the services, advocacy, and
3civic engagement needs of the Filipino American community exist
4throughout the state; and

5WHEREAS, The Filipino American population is currently the
6largest Asian American and Pacific Islander group in California
7and the third largest Asian American and Pacific Islander group
8in the United States; and

9WHEREAS, Nine Filipino Americans have received the
10Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest award for valor in
11action against an enemy force that can be bestowed upon an
12individual serving in the United States Armed Forces; and

13WHEREAS, Filipino Americans have served the public in a
14wide range of capacities, including, but not limited to, Chief Justice
15of the California Supreme Court, representatives to the United
16States Congress, legislators in the state legislatures of California
17and other states, and other city, state, and federal leaders of the
18United States; and

19WHEREAS, Throughout the history of the United States,
20Filipino Americans have made cultural, economic, political, social,
21and other contributions to our country that have become a vital
22part of the rich, diverse, and vibrant tapestry of our nation; and

23WHEREAS, Since World War II, federal, state, and local
24redevelopment projects, freeway and highway construction, urban
25decay, private development, demographic shifts, and poor city
26planning have destroyed a significant number of Filipino American
27historic sites and ethnic neighborhoods, and many of the remaining
28Filipino American communities and historic sites are in danger of
29being lost; and

30WHEREAS, Preserving our Filipino communities throughout
31California and the United States is critical to the preservation of
32Filipino culture, history, traditions, and heritage and to the
33preservation of our state and national history as well as our state
34and national future; now, therefore, be it

35Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate
36thereof concurring,
That the Legislature recognizes the month of
37October 2015 as Filipino American History Month and the 428th
38anniversary of the first presence of Filipinos in the continental
39United States; and be it further

P6    1Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies
2of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.