As the first Filipino American elected to the California State Assembly, I am excited to have the opportunity to provide a voice for the Filipino American community -- a community whose contributions have been historically underemphasized in the story of our state. While Filipino Americans comprise an ever-growing population in California, their contributions to the farm labor movement have been largely overlooked in public school curriculums.
AB 123, which would require social science curriculums to include instruction on the contributions of Filipino Americans to the farm labor movement.
The stories of great Filipino Americans such as Larry Itliong, Pete Velasco and Philip Vera Cruz, and their leadership roles in critical turning points in the farm labor movement, should be learned by every child in our state. There have been legislative successes in the past to raise awareness about this issue; but to ensure these important stories are not forgotten, it is important to formally add this history to the public school curriculums.
My personal history and involvement with the farm labor movement inspired me to author AB 123. I was raised at the United Farm Workers headquarters in La Paz, California, where my parents organized farm workers alongside the leadership of the movement. My parents raised me to value public service and encouraged me to give back to the community. I am proud to be a product of California's great public schools. However, I also recognize that we must always strive for progress and improvement. It is essential that we continue to push to make our education programs better, and our public schools stronger, for every child in California. AB 123 is a step in that direction.