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School Board Says AMS Name Change Will Happen, But to What Name?

The topic will be brought back for discussion at the next school board meeting.

The fight for renaming Alvarado Middle School after Filipino American leaders continued Tuesday as about 150 local youth marched from the school to the New Haven Board of Education meeting to voice their support.

The Tuesday night meeting was an informational one called for by the school board to clear the air on a number of concerns.

The topic became a highly debated, contentious community issue when the board discussed possibly renaming the school after Filipino American labor leaders Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz on March 5. The matter raised many questions from community members.

As the decision on the name change lingers, school board members set the record straight on a few key items Tuesday night.

A name change is already approved

“This board has already decided to change the name of Alvarado Middle School. That is not the question anymore. The question is: What will the name be?” board president Linda Canlas stated Tuesday.

According to board member Michelle Matthews, the board unanimously approved renaming Alvarado Middle School during their Jan. 15 meeting.

A naming committee then pondered various names before presenting the board with the Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School name — an idea that has been kicked around the district for 13 years and passed over three times in the past, board members said.

Who’s going to pay for it?

A big concern among those opposing the name change is the cost, which district officials estimated at $10,000, according to media reports. Though board members themselves did not directly comment on the cost Tuesday night, supporting organizations said they would raise funds and pay for it themselves.

“Rest assured that we will not ask for general funds from the school district,” said councilman Jim Navarro, who is also a member of the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce and a former New Haven board member. “Not a single dollar from the district will be spent or fund this project.”

What’s in a name?

Many of those opposed to the change argue that it would neglect the historic significance of its current name — that of two-time governor Juan B. Alvarado, who served as California’s governor from 1836 to 1842, and for whom the town of Alvarado was named after.

But that’s not exactly the case, according to Matthews.

“While I recognize the attachment to Alvarado Middle School and its name, those of you who know this community and know our history know that the reason Alvarado Middle School was named Alvarado Middle School is because it was located adjacent to Alvarado Elementary,” Matthews said.

Other schools in the district already reflect and embrace the community’s diversity, including Cesar Chavez Middle School, which was originally named New Haven Middle School.

The Alvarado name also continues to live on as two main roads and an elementary school bear it, board member Jonas Dino added.

If the name change is adopted, it would be the first school in the country named after Filipino Americans, according to board members. “That’s extraordinary right there,” Dino said.

Public comment

Despite no action being taken, more than a dozen community members and leaders spoke at the meeting to reiterate their support:

  • Joe Ku’e Angeles, a Logan counselor and member of the New Haven Pilipino American Society for Education: “We have the money … This needs to happen for diversity, for no other reason than that. New Haven is a district and a community that celebrates the idea of diversity … This economy will not change in six months. It will not change in a year.”
  • Erica Viray-Santos, a San Leandro teacher and former New Haven teacher: “We are not just trying to rename a facility, we are trying to instill a strong sense of self … This is not just Filipino history, it’s American history.”
  • A James Logan High School student: “This renaming does not divide us but unite us … This is history in the making. We are part of this history. I say ‘we’ even though I am not Filipino. I am the people. I am Itliong, I am Vera Cruz.”

The only opposing voice came from the Alvarado Middle School School Site Council. Member Lance Nishihira read a letter to the school board acknowledging the importance of the two Filipino American leaders but asking they delay taking any action on the matter.

"What’s the hurry? Such a discretionary expense can surely wait until the school district is on firmer footing," Nishihira said.

What happens now?

The Board of Education will decide on a name based on a recommendation from the naming committee at their next meeting, which will be held April 16.

How do you feel about the name change? Tell us in the comments below.

xpo081 March 27, 2013 at 06:29 AM
Here's a FAQ on the renaming: https://www.facebook.com/kaisahan
Edward March 27, 2013 at 06:51 AM
If you don't have a facebook account you are not allowed to read the FAQ. Why don't you re-print it here with copy/paste so all can read it?
John March 27, 2013 at 07:19 AM
Edward, its all biased propaganda...
Quincy Jay Victoria March 27, 2013 at 07:23 AM
Edward, here's what I can tell about you: 1) You love Pete Stark...intensely. 2) You don't have any respect for a nation if you refuse how to spell their name correctly. It's "The Philippines" and its people are known as "Filipinos", not "Philipeans" and "Philippinos". 3) You only choose to remember Itliong and Vera Cruz as deserters through 1 article, when it was those same men that inspired Cesar Chavez to unionize and fight for the rights of not only Mexican and Filipino farm workers, but for all migrant workers, regardless of race. Why don't you try reading this article and formulating a better opinion: http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Organizing-Bargaining/Remembering-the-Unsung-Heroes-of-the-Labor-Movement Heck, why not just do some further research with a Wikipedia search on the men you're trying to bury?
Quincy Jay Victoria March 27, 2013 at 07:23 AM
4) You tend to spend your time trying to find Filipinos with the last name Alvarado just to avoid a name change. That's not the point. The point is to honor the "silent heroes". Cesar Chavez didn't do it all by himself. 5) Your idea of budgeting the name change to $280k includes renaming absolutely every last bit of material referencing Alvarado MIddle School. That idea, in itself, is absolutely ridiculous and sounds more like erasing the history of the school. That is not what this entails. 6) You're a 40 year Caucasian resident who knows that Larry and Philip never set foot in UC, but believes Cesar Chavez did. Chances are, 40 years ago, you didn't know ANY of them.
Edward March 27, 2013 at 07:48 AM
1 Yes, I respect Pete Stark and feel if the School Board dead set on Killing Alvarado Middle School's Old name, why not Honor A LOCAL hard working Congressman. 2 I can't spell worth a darn and do not have a spell checker. 3 As a 44 year member of a Union Myself, I remember how hard they worked to form the UFW and boycotted Stores that sold non-union Grapes and produce. I also know that there were a lot of early groups trying to form up unions and finaly they united to form the UFW. But Union City does not grow Grapes and it was the Central Valley of California that needs to remember those who formed the unions.
Edward March 27, 2013 at 08:07 AM
4 Answering DON's statement on finding a name Alvarado, i could not find any Historical Alvarado names you could use and gave a few names of current leaders, entertainers and even a Beauty Queen. 5 Updating of literature, signs, maps forms, ribber stamps, yearbooks would all have to be done and because they do not correct themselves, teacher, administators, printers and maintenance men would all have to be PAID to do these things. Every Band uniform, sports uniform, Color guard flag that had Alvarado on it would have to be changed. Who is going to pay for that? 6 I never said I liked the fact that New Haven Middle School had it's name changed to Cesar Chavez. I thought it was a DUMB idea then as well. 40 years ago, when i moved to Regency Park in Alvarado, I did not march with workers out in the Valley but Raised a Family and had a son who just happened to Graduate from Alvarado Middle School in 1986. And re-naming Alvarado to some long name that won't fit on a football jersey is just plain Stupid. Alvarado Middle School FOREVER!
Edward March 27, 2013 at 08:15 AM
Build a new HIGH SCHOOL on the west side of union City and name it anything you want. just don't mess with ALVARADO, the original Jr High/Middle School.
Edward March 27, 2013 at 08:27 AM
28% is not a Majority. So says the other 72% Have you noticed the Anti Name Change protests? The Pinoy comunity has been working within it's self to make this change but this is the first we heard about it and we feel it is being ramed through without a hearing. Like changing the Name of "Union City" to "Little Manilla", I feel this should be a choice made by the people and not just a "Gang of 7" on the School Board. Put it on the Ballot along with another Measure "H" to fund the change and see if that flys.
Edward March 27, 2013 at 08:28 AM
28% is not a Majority. So says the other 72% Have you noticed the Anti Name Change protests? The Pinoy comunity has been working within it's self to make this change but this is the first we heard about it and we feel it is being ramed through without a hearing. Like changing the Name of "Union City" to "Little Manilla", I feel this should be a choice made by the people and not just a "Gang of 7" on the School Board. Put it on the Ballot along with another Measure "H" to fund the change and see if that flys.
Edward March 27, 2013 at 08:30 AM
28% is not a Majority. So says the other 72% Have you noticed the Anti Name Change protests? The Pinoy comunity has been working within it's self to make this change but this is the first we heard about it and we feel it is being ramed through without a hearing. Like changing the Name of "Union City" to "Little Manilla", I feel this should be a choice made by the people and not just a "Gang of 7" on the School Board. Put it on the Ballot along with another Measure "H" to fund the change and see if that flys.
Edward March 27, 2013 at 08:36 AM
28% is not a Majority. So says the other 72%... Have you noticed the Anti Name Change protests in front of the School? The Pinoy comunity has been working within it's self to make this change but this is the first we heard about it and we feel it is being ramed through without a hearing. Like changing the Name of "Union City" to "Little Manilla", I feel this should be a choice made by the people and not just a "Gang of 7" on the School Board. Put it on the Ballot along with another Measure "H" to fund the change and see if that flys. How much is this realy going to cost us taxpayers?
Humble Devotee March 27, 2013 at 05:44 PM
Please make a note we are living in a diverse world. Diversity is the key here,respecting each other for who we are. We are truly living in a Global World. There are diverse cultures and religions but we all must keep in mind that English is the Universal Language. It has connected all of us irespective of our race,color or national origin All the countries of the world are connected through the medium of English. Lets Thank God for his creation and respect each other for who we are. We have so much to learn from each other cultures and diversity. Lets all Thank God for bringing us all together and learn to live in harmony.......Let Peace Prevail.....
Quincy Jay Victoria March 27, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Edward.... 1) Fine. I can respect that. I was just pointing out that you're the only one pushing for Pete Stark like you raised the man yourself. BTW...AMS was not named after Alvarado to honor the late Governor. It was named as such because it was adjacent to Alvarado Elementary. 2) Fine, you can't spell. I guess you don't notice the little red squiggly lines that show up under the word when you misspell something. It's your browser's built-in spell check. Try right clicking on it. It'll show you how to spell whatever word correctly. Besides, when I address a person or a state/country/city, I have enough respect to learn how to spell it correctly. Wouldn't that bug the hell out of you if someone kept calling you "Ehdworde" or "Adwords" and had no sense to even attempt to spell it correctly because they felt like it didn't matter? 3) "But Union City does not grow Grapes and it was the Central Valley of California that needs to remember those who formed the unions." That has got to be the most ignorant thing I've seen. It's like saying "Hey...we don't need to celebrate African American Civil Rights because all that stuff happened in the south. I grew up in Union City as a Caucasian. It has nothing to do with me." You obviously don't know the scope of what they were doing for migrant civil rights. Of the millions of migrant farm workers in the United States, 700,000 of them are in California alone. Farms are not solely in Central Valley.
Quincy Jay Victoria March 27, 2013 at 06:02 PM
4) Fine. 5) The people for the name change are working on private funding. They have yet to disclose who and what amount will be used. 6) Your reply totally missed the point. You had responded to someone earlier that "Itliong and Vera Cruz never set foot in Union City" like you had a pulse on what they were doing. What about Chavez? He was a cohort with Itliong and Vera Cruz, but for whatever reason he's left out of the argument. Go back to my third point. Just because what the UFW was fighting for was centralized around Central California, does NOT mean that it was JUST for Central CA. "And re-naming Alvarado to some long name that won't fit on a football jersey is just plain Stupid." Did you seriously just say that, EHDWARDS?? (hey...look at that. A red squiggly line under your name. Does that mean I spelled it wrong? Eh...doesn't matter)
Quincy Jay Victoria March 27, 2013 at 06:41 PM
One more thing, Edward: Those two Filipinos you called "quitters"? They quit because their leader, Chavez, endorsed Ferdinand Marcos, then president of the Philippines, who was viewed as a dictator.
Edward March 28, 2013 at 06:01 PM
One quit because of political Hispanic VS Philipino Language problems, (Did have enough money to print literature in more than /two languages..English and Spanish and the other used the Visit to the Philipines as an excuse instead of continuing the fight to keep the Labor Movement focused on all imigrands and people including his own race. You can not blame a Visit by Cesar Chavez for the QUIT. It was deeper than that and it was an excuse, rather than a reason.
Quincy Jay Victoria March 28, 2013 at 06:41 PM
Seriously, Ehdword? You really want to go ahead and continue to disrespect my country by misspelling it AFTER I corrected you? Then you go on to tell me that Itliong and Vera Cruz quit because of a LANGUAGE BARRIER?? Seriously? You are so misguided and disrespectful to believe that a simple language barrier will cause the 2 to quit. NEWS FLASH FOR YOU: Tagalog and Spanish are very similar. Even if they didn't understand all of it, Filipinos would understand at least part of it. EDUCATE YOURSELF: There was much more than a language barrier to deter Itliong and Vera Cruz. It was about representation and Filipinos being less and less represented in the UFW. Since DAY 1, Mexicans didn't respect what Filipinos were doing by crossing their picket lines. Itliong and Vera Cruz reached out to Chavez because they wanted to fight alongside each other to help out migrant farm workers. However, increasing tactics to alienate Filipinos was too much to handle, along with Chavez's support of then-dictator Ferdinand Marcos, caused the rift between Itliong and Chavez. http://kensongco.myefolio.com/Uploads/Larry%20Itliong%20case%20study.pdf
mina March 28, 2013 at 07:16 PM
Misuse of my tax dollars!! Shame on the Union City School Board. Why can't they focus on education, after all that is what they were elected to do...right? Leave the school name as is - nothing wrong with it.
Edward March 29, 2013 at 07:06 AM
Depends on who is writing history. http://ufw.org/_page.php?menu=research&inc=history/04.html
Edward March 29, 2013 at 07:22 AM
Here is a list of real heros from the UFW. http://ufw.org/pdf/Martyrs.pdf
Quincy Jay Victoria March 29, 2013 at 07:44 AM
Edward, are you seriously coming at me with a "REAL heroes of the UFW" statement? Again, you disrespect what Itliong and Vera Cruz have done by not including them. Not to take away from these people that gave their lives for the UFW, but by not including the founders of the UFW, you have chosen to be part of the problem and not the solution. I seriously hope you find guidance in life.
Edward March 29, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Many of my previouse posts say that I was against nameing New haven Middle School "Cesar Chavez" and I now am Stating Alvarado Middle School should not be re-named either. Picking Labor leaders to name shools after when most were leading the illiterate to begin with, sets low standards for education.
AMS mom March 31, 2013 at 09:50 AM
To make this happen, we need to have Apple's employees to be the school district board.
Edward April 03, 2013 at 05:38 AM
You know they are selling off "Cabellio Elementary" to raise funds for the School District and the adjacent park could be named after these two Union leaders without all this hassle. Just 3 blocks from Alvarado Middle School, this park has Lighted Tennis Courts, Baseball Diamond and is owned by the City. Here is a perfect oppertunity to name somehting that will change it's Name anyway. As a Union Member myself, I know there needs to be recognition without Alienation. It's time we take this off the School Board Agenda and put it on the City Agenda to rename the Park after the District Sells Cabellio School. After All, Cabellio School sits on old Agricultural land that used to be worked on by both Mexican and Phillipino (filipino) workers prior to being built.
Edward April 03, 2013 at 05:45 AM
Quincy... My country is the "United States of America" even though my Ancestors came from Norway, France, Germany and Ireland. Why do Philipenos from the Philipines change the "Ph" to "F" after they come to the United States and call themselves Filipinos? Why do they want to change the name of Alvarado Middle School and "upset everyone" when, You know, they are selling off "Cabellio Elementary" to raise funds for the School District and the adjacent park could be named after these two Union leaders without all this hassle. Just 3 blocks from Alvarado Middle School, this park has Lighted Tennis Courts, Baseball Diamond and is owned by the City. Here is a perfect oppertunity to name somehting that will change it's Name anyway. . As a Union Member myself, I know there needs to be recognition without Alienation. It's time we take this off the School Board Agenda and put it on the City Agenda to rename the Park after the District Sells Cabellio School. After All, Cabellio School sits on old Agricultural land that used to be worked on by both Mexican and Phillipino (filipino) workers prior to being built.
Edward April 14, 2013 at 02:58 AM
Hey Kids!!~ lets name that school!!! Lets see what funny names we can call the Middle Schools of Union City. Lets start with Cesar Chavez Middle School. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C3%A9sar_Ch%C3%A1vez How About "Lit'le Ceasars" after the Pizzas they try to bribe us with. http://www.littlecaesars.com/home.aspx. And how about the New name for the west side middle school they want to name Lary Itliong ( http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/19/us/larry-itliong-forgotten-filipino-labor-leader.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&; ) and Philip Vera Cruz ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Vera_Cruz ) Both were contrivercial like Marajuana so we could call it "Itchy BONG" because the school board must be "smoking something" to be so itch to change the name. Just look at all the posters of these guys to know they wanted change and nothing like implying legalization of marajuana to embody their revolutionary spirit. http://legalizationofmarijuana.com/ Hey Kids, It's your school. You Name the school for the 4 years you are there, then, the next Class gets to re-name it.
lb May 14, 2013 at 01:32 PM
As a Filipino and AMS alumni, I'm iffy on the name change. As a Filipino, I really do appreciate the name change more than you guys know. Most people don't know these two men and a lot of it has to do with them not even being written in textbooks. The name change brings honor and it can also be an opportunity for people to really get to know a piece of American history. Now... the whole thing about "turf wars" and "gangs" is just so ridiculous. If you're against renaming a school because of "upcoming turf wars," what does that say about the Union City community as a whole? You're really spitting on Chavez, Huertas, Vera Cruz, and Itliong's memories by doing something as stupid as "fighting over territory." Those four people were PARTNERS... they were FRIENDS. They would never want people to be against one another, especially in their names. So if you appreciate their contributions, the "turf war" thing needs to stop. What I'm more concerned about is the money. $10,000 is not enough to change a school's name; there's more than just switching out blocks of letters. I'm opposed to draining people's money just to gain some ethnic recognition and really, that's not something I would be proud of. All in all, the name change is meaningful to me, but at the same time, it seems to come at an inopportune time. If anything, I think what would be more effective is building a statue with a template describing their contributions.
lb May 14, 2013 at 01:46 PM
You know that's actually a good idea. If anything, I think the $10,000 can be used to make a statue that can be built on the park that describes who the park was named after and all the contributions Vera Cruz and Itliong made. I mean, as a Filipino, it's pretty cool to have a school named after important Filipino figures, but the park seems like a good way for recognition instead and everyone is happy... or happier.
Edward May 14, 2013 at 06:09 PM
Right now, the park as a generic name called" Vertrans Park". Why not rename it to Itlion-Chavez-VeraCruse Park and have a statue of all Three holding picket signs that sat "Honor Labor" in 3 different languages. Itliong's in Tagolog, Chavez's in Spanish and Veracruze's in English. The new developer, of the SOLD Cabelio School, must pay $10,000.00 into the Union City park fund for each unit built. 46 units is $460,000.00 towards the monument and improvments to the park, unless Union City takes it away to other parks. Better be there at the "Planing Commision" meetings to get what you want.

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