WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of the 70th anniversary celebration of the establishment of Philippines-United States diplomatic relations, the Philippine Embassy, in collaboration with the Asian-Pacific American (APA) Film held a community screening of the documentary, The Delano Manongs at the Romulo Hall of the Philippine Embassy on 22 April 2016.
The Delano Manongs tells the story of farm labor organizer Larry Itliong and a group of Filipino farm workers who played a pivotal role in The Delano Grape Strike of 1965. 1,500 Filipinos collaborated with Chicanos and other ethnic workers to strike against the grape growers of Delano, California that eventually brought about the creation of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW).
The documentary showed a period of early Filipino migration to the United States, with the hope that young Filipino-Americans of today will have a better appreciation and understanding of what they fought and stood for.
“Our screening of Delano Manongs is not about going on a sentimental journey to the past but aims to impart a brief lesson in American history and show a snap shot of a period in Filipino migration that many Filipino-Americans may have forgotten or may not be even aware of,” the Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Minister Patrick Chuasoto, said in his opening remarks.
The Director of the documentary, Ms. Marissa Aroy, was also present during the screening together with APA Festival Director Paul Marengo.
“It wasn’t until I became a filmmaker that I became curious and I wanted to know more about the history of the Philippines and the Filipino-American relations and to understand why it is that I am Filipino-American,” Director Aroy whose grandfather was actually one of the Manongs said at the Q&A session after the screening.
“For me, making the film for the younger generations and for myself so we can value our contributions to the United States and put into context our immigration story as something as important and as valuable as any other immigrant story,” Director Aroy explained when asked about her experience in making the film and its personal relevance to her.
In October 2013, Assembly Bill 123 requiring public school instruction of the Filipino-American’s contribution to the farm labor movement in California was signed by Governor Jerry Brown. ###