Name of AAPI FigurePhilip Vera Cruz
What is the person’s Asian heritage or ethnicity?Filipino
Area of Influenceactivist
Date of birth or time periodDecember 25th 1904
How did this individual make a contribution to their field or to society/culture at large?Philip Vera Cruz had a large impact on the farming community in the United States by helping create the united farm workers to give farm workers at the time more rights. Around the time Philip moved to the united states the immigration act of 1917 was passed banning the immigration of most pacific islanders except Filipinos. Filipinos were allowed into the United States still but only as cheap labor on farms. After the Philippine American war around the turn of the century The U.S. occupied the Philippines which made it easy for them to bring in Filipinos as cheap labor while banning other Pacific islanders. For a long time in the U.S. Filipino farm workers were abused as cheap labor and there was not much they could do about it. Philip worked hard with the community to unite them and organize ways to protect their workers rights. For a long time groups that would try to do this existed but didn’t get much done, Philip worked started his fight in small groups that existed already and brought what they were doing to new levels eventually forming the United Farm Workers with the help of Cesar Chavez and others. The United Farm Workers was a massive union of farm workers in America and Philip was elected as vice president for most of his time working with them. After retiring he continued to push for change in other smaller ways more focused on smaller communities.
Why did you choose this person? What about their story speaks to you?Something that really interested me about Philip was how he fought for the farming community and the story of Filipinos being brought to America as cheap farm labor at the time. This isn’t really something I had learned about in school at all and the passion Philip had to unite the farming community to fight for their rights is inspiring. Philip had really great ideas that he brought forwards but I think something really interesting about him is also the way people talk about how he spoke to the community and brought them together. I think Philip really wanted the Farming community to all work together on this and to give other people the same passion for change that he had.
Resources to share if others want to learn more (optional)–list websites, books, or other resources you used to learn about the person -poem he wrote – video because I can’t download it.
Submitted byParker Lin-Butler
City, StateLexington, Massachusetts