Members of various Filipino American community groups will march to encourage the New Haven Board of Education to rename Alvarado Middle School after Filipino American leaders.
According to an employee with the Filipino Advocates for Justice, the event will begin with a rally at the middle school, located at 31604 Alvarado Blvd., at 4 p.m. Supporters will then march more than three miles to the New Haven district office at 34200 Alvarado-Niles Rd.
The matter will be discussed at the Board of Education meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. It is listed as an information item on the agenda.
The district has proposed renaming the middle school in honor Filipino American labor leaders Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz, contemporaries of Cesar Chavez who fought for the rights of farm workers.
The contentious topic drew more than 100 people, including local and regional political leaders, during a March 5 school board meeting.
“Naming the school in their honor will be a great testament to their work,” a representative for Assemblymember Rob Bonta said during the meeting.
If the school is renamed after the leaders, it would be the first school in the nation to be named after Filipino Americans, members of community groups said.
Other schools in the district are named after Tom Kitayama, Union City’s first mayor and the first Japanese American in public office in California; Delaine Eastin, the first woman elected as State Superintendent; and labor and civil rights leader Cesar Chavez.
There middle school is currently named after Juan B. Alvarado, who served as California’s governor from 1836 to 1842, according to historian Timothy Swenson. Alvarado Elementary School also bears his namesake; there has been no discussion of changing the name of the elementary school.
Some of those against the name change argue that it would be an ineffective use of funds during these turbulent financial times.
According to the Fremont Argus, renaming the school would cost about $10,000. Members of the various groups in favor of the name change said they would hold fundraisers to help offset the cost.
On Monday, members of the Alvarado Middle School Site Council wrote , noting that the community "has a lot of affection, attachment and pride" for the current name. The school site council also raised concerns about the district's priorities.
“Wouldn’t money, be it public or private, be better directed toward something that substantively enhances our children’s educational experience?” the School Site Council wrote. (Read the full letter here.)
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