Journey for Justice – the Life of Larry Itliong

Journey for Justice – the Life of Larry Itliong

Chicago, Il. – The celebration of the Filipino American History Month in the greater Chicago area is continuing throughout the month of October. Last week, it was huge success for the three events and 3x the power for the Journey for Justice book tour Chicago stop. The book written by the late Dr. Dawn Bohulano Mabalon and co-author Gayle Romasanta who came to sign the books, is the first children’s/youth book about the story of Filipino American labor organizer Larry Itliong pioneering efforts who led the famous Delano Grape with fellow manongs like Philip Vera Cruz and led the alliance with the Mexican farm workers under Cesar Chavez to become the UFW. 

The first book launch event was at the historic Jane Addams Hull-House Museum where over a hundred people packed the museum to welcome Gayle Romasanta who travelled to Chicago from Sacramento, California. The event is also part of the month-long celebration of different cultures and heritage called Inherit Chicago, organized by the Chicago Cultural Alliance. The welcome remarks were given by Ross Jordan from the Hull-House, Vanessa Vergara from the Chicago Cultural Alliance and Estrella Alamar from the Filipino American Historical Society of Chicago. A stage reading of the story of the life of Larry Itliong was performed by the CIRCA Pintig theater group led by Larry Leopoldo. The evening was capped by an amazing performance by the FIA’liwan choral group from the University of Illinois Filipinos in Alliance group and the closing remarks given by Anna Guevarra of the UIC Global Asian Studies.

The next day, the book launch travelled to the northside, the morning event was held at the Seafood City/Elston Market Mix community room. The welcome remark was made by Consul Ryan Gener of the Philippine Consulate in Chicago followed by remarks from our event partners – AFIRE, FALA represented by Mark Calaguas. Musical entertainment was provided by the Chicago Angklung Rondalla Ensemble, the dance group of the Philippine American Seniors Association of Chicago and the musical band called Virtual Session Band. The stage reading of the life of Larry Itliong was also performed led by Levi Aliposa  as Larry Itliong. In addition to the performances, we also have art works display from Paul Balan, photographs display from Neil Reyes and historical photos on display curated by Anthony Tumpag,

The afternoon event was held at the Budlong Woods Chicago Public Library where another full house crowd gathered to learn about the story of Larry Itliong. Here, the welcome remark was given by Tom Stark, the CPL Branch Manager. A couple of cultural dances was performed by Gabi Delson of the PACF Performing Arts. The stage reading of the life of Larry Itliong was also performed led by JP Jael as Larry Itliong.

In the end, the previously untold story of Larry Itliong has now been told here in Chicago thru the book Journey for Justice and thru the many attendees of the 3 book launch events. Over 70 copies of the books have been sold and at least 5 books have been donated to the public libraries. FANHS Chicago chapter will continue to sell more copies of the book and sponsors fund raiser to be able to donate more book to libraries all over the greater Chicago area.

The book launch event could not have been possible without the support, donation and help from all our sponsors, partners, performers and volunteers. Special mention to the Chicago Cultural Alliance for the generous grant, to the Jane Addams Hull House, Seafood City of Chicago and the Budlong Woods Chicago public library for hosting and providing the venues for free. Special shot outs to our emcees – Ginger Leopoldo, Joy Sales and Everett Icao and all the stage readers, singers, dancers, musicians for their awesome performances. Last but not the least, we are so grateful to have Gayle Romasanta for being with us in person and for the late Dr. Dawn Bohulano Mabalon for writing the book Journey for Justice which will forever be treasured to honor and recognize the contributions of Larry Itliong and all the manongs who fought for justice. #FAHM2019