The New Haven campus known to the community for decades as Alvarado Middle School may soon go by a different name.
A public hearing on the possible name change will be held during tonight’s Board of Education meeting at 7:30 p.m.
According to the school district, Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz were contemporaries of Cesar Chavez who helped organize the 1965 Delano grape strike, which led to the United Farm Workers movement.
An online petition has been created in support of the name change.
From the petition:
Roughly, 1 in 5 students in the New Haven Unified School District are Filipino, and 1 in 3 people in Union City are Filipino. Changing the name of Alvarado Middle School would serve multiple purposes. One being that we can honor forgotten Filipino heroes Philip Vera Cruz and Larry Itliong, and their important roles in the fight for farm labor rights and civil liberties, work that reached the fields of Union City. Another reason is that we can potentially instill a great sense of pride and empower our large Filipino population, while also shining a light upon the past solidarity work of Filipino and Mexican people. It would be beneficial for all staff, parents, students and residents. Let's make history!
But not everyone embraces the proposed name with open arms.
“Don't get me wrong, these men were great people and accomplished great things, but schools are a melting pot of kids from everywhere, and picking out two Filipino Men is not the right thing to do. Alvarado is a fine name and represents the history of the entire city, not just a single group,” resident Mark Hutchins wrote in an email.
The idea for naming a school after the Filipino-American leaders came last year when the Itliong-Vera Cruz name was submitted for the district’s independent study school. The school board instead went with the Decoto School for Independent Study.
Following the decision last August, school board members said they would consider naming another New Haven campus in honor of the Filipino community.
The topic is now up for discussion tonight.
The public hearing will be held 7:30 p.m. at the New Haven Unified School District office located at 34200 Alvarado-Niles Rd.
Are you in favor of renaming Alvarado Middle School after the Filipino leaders? Tell us in the comments below.