According to the Filipino American National Historical Society, in 2009, U.S. Congress recognized October as Filipino American History Month in the United States. Today, SV@Home would like to honor all Filipino Americans’ contributions to Santa Clara County society, culture, economy, education, organization, and housing.
Pride and solidarity are hallmarks of Filipino American history. Famously, Filipino American leaders Larry Itliong and Phillip Delacruz led the Delano Grape strike with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee. They collaborated with Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, who led the National Farm Workers Association. Together, they formed United Farm Workers.
In San Jose, the newly-built Delano Manongs Park honors the contributions of Filipino Americans to the community. Manongs translates from the Ilocano (a language from the Ilocos Region in the Philippines) word “big brother” but has evolved to describe the first generation of Filipino immigrants to the US and those who have guided future generations to engage and organize their communities.
In housing-related FIl-Am history, the fight to preserve affordable units at the International Hotel (also known as the I-Hotel) in San Fransico’s Manilatown traces its origins to the late 1960s. As a low-income residential hotel, it became the center for residential struggles when in November in 1968, 150 elderly Filipino and Chinese tenants from the Manilatown district of San Francisco began a nine-year-long anti-eviction campaign against Financial District encroachment.
This multi-year struggle culminated finally in the development of today’s senior housing and community space on the original site of the I-Hotel. The entire struggle involved numerous groups and individuals over almost 40 years. The effort spawned the organization of the Manilatown Heritage Foundation and the Chinatown Community Development Center.