School Board to Vote on AMS Name Change Tonight

Groups both for and against changing the school’s name will hold rallies near the district office.


The New Haven Board of Education will vote tonight on whether it will rename Alvarado Middle School after Filipino American labor leaders Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz, or keep its current name.

According to the school district's meeting agenda, the Facility Names Committee has advanced two names to be considered for the school: Alvarado Middle School and Itliong-Veracruz Middle School.

The naming committee, comprised of several community members appointed by school board members, recommended the names at a Feb. 13 meeting, according to the district. Committee members present during the Feb. 13 meeting included Nicholas Concepcion, Ben Menor, Jenniefer Nemecek, Jatinder Sal, Ivan Santos, Robert Singer and Pam Sison.

The issue has since divided the community, and groups both for and against the name change will be holding rallies this evening.

According to Kaisahan, a local social justice advocacy group, a solidarity rally will be held at the James Logan High School parking lot at 6 p.m. in support of changing the school’s name to Itliong-Veracruz Middle School. Organizers are asking supporters to bring flags, signs and shirts promoting diversity.

Similarly, community group (Old) Alvarado United will be holding a rally on the sidewalks in front of the district office to demand the school not be renamed. The rally will also be held at 6 p.m. The group is asking those who want to keep the name to stand together with signs and wear AMS colors (green and yellow) or AMS Cougar clothing.

Those supporting the name change say it will be a significant milestone in American history as it would be the first school named after Filipino Americans.

“We are not just trying to rename a facility, we are trying to instill a strong sense of self,” said Erica Viray-Santos, a San Leandro teacher and former New Haven teacher who has helped spearhead support for the name change, at a March 19 meeting. "This is not just Filipino history, it’s American history."

Kaisahan outlines in detail more reasons for pushing for the name change in a post on their Facebook page.

Those against the name change argue that renaming the school is not an “extraordinary circumstance” as outlined in the board’s naming policy and that a change would be a blow to Union City’s history.

“[We] recognize what the Filipino community is doing and respect that, but feel the history of the area should not be taken away in such a manner,” Josheph Garcia, an (Old) Alvarado United member, told Patch in a previous interview.

Meanwhile, some residents and members of the Alvarado Middle School Site council are calling foul on the district for a lack of public discourse prior to the board greenlighting a name change at their Jan. 15 meeting.

Members of the AMS SSC took the liberty to launch an online survey to get the community’s sentiments regarding the name change last week, but were snubbed when school officials asked people to disregard the SSC’s efforts.

Despite only being online for 27 hours, the survey received more than 200 responses, an overwhelming number of which was against changing the school’s name.

Read about the survey’s findings here.

At board meetings last month, a majority of the school board members seemed to lean toward supporting the name change.

“New Haven Unified celebrates diversity and equality. These ideas are the pillars of strength the district prides itself,” board president Linda Canlas said at a March 19 meeting. “This community is ready to make room for others that have been forgotten and have been invisible.”

Board members Michelle Matthews and Jonas Dino backed Canlas, with Dino adding that being the first district in the country with a school named after Filipino Americans was “extraordinary” in itself.

Board members Michael Ritche and Sarabjit Cheema were open to exploring other options, such as erecting statues or renaming a different facility after the Filipino American leaders as their names have been discussed for various New Haven sites in the past.

Tonight’s meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the district office at 34200 Alvarado-Niles Rd.

How do you feel about renaming Alvarado Middle School? Tell us in the comments section below.

Marie April 16, 2013 at 04:32 PM
How much will it cost? will it take away from our children? IS THIS REALLY TIME TO SPEND MONEY ON THIS? If there is such a desire let the citizen that want to change pay for all cost associate with change.
Davis April 16, 2013 at 04:53 PM
If they Filipino community wants NAME recognition perhaps they should name the TENNIS COURTS on Dyer after their heroes. They already have EXCLUSIVE use of the facility anyway!!
Edward April 16, 2013 at 07:11 PM
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? Come on, let's get real. Come to the meeting tonight and "sound Off". Musicians...Bring your HORNS and let them Know "MUSIC" is more important than these Name Changes. The 97 percent, who do not want the Name Change, need to "show up" and support our Historic "Alvarado Middle School" as the "Name of Choice" by the Majority of the Community. Don't let them rename the School so it can be called "Itchy BONG" by your rivals..
Edward April 16, 2013 at 07:28 PM
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" itchy" 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/ Would you like your rivals to nickname your school "Itchy BONG"? (Rymes with Itliong.) If you don't, come to the meeting tonight and show your support for Historic "Alvarado Middle School" where the "A" in Alvarado if for Academics, you could be Sorry tomarow. GO COUGARS ! http://amsweb.nhusd.k12.ca.us/?q=node&page=2
Davis April 16, 2013 at 07:54 PM
Edward, If the name change happens, it will be interesting to see how many variations of the names there can be. I am sure there are alot of things that rhyme with Bong. The School Board is responsible for the divisiveness of the community as it was with the two Parcel Tax initiatives,...... drove a spike right down the middle of the city because of their own greed. Now with nothing good that can happen, this Name change will creat more havoc, they are steadfast in wasting more taxpayer money and time. You would have thought that a Marine like Jonas Dino would support the entire community versus just 28%. Just a damned shame!
Edward April 16, 2013 at 08:00 PM
You do Know Larry Itliong was a Marxist don't you? Do a Search with "Marxist and Larry itlion" and you will get quite an eye opener. http://farmworkermovement.org/essays/essays/MillerArchive/018%20The%20Grapes%20Communist%20Wrath.pdf
Cheryl April 16, 2013 at 09:14 PM
Marxists? Itchy Bong? Really? Come on, now. I'd expect comments from, I don't know, middle schoolers?
Bob R April 16, 2013 at 11:28 PM
The three Filipinos will claim diversity tonight as their motivating factor as long as their ethnic group is recognized. Wait, isn't that racist? You bet it is! Tonight you will see payback for the Filipino votes to get these three on the school board. Does not matter if these people are scholars, or idiots, as long as they are Filipinos they will get the vote. So get used to decades of a scholastically challenged school board. Cheema, please encourage your friends to run. It's our only chance of escaping this mess.
Bob R April 16, 2013 at 11:29 PM
No, it's LIPVC, or as the kids say Lip Feces Middle School. Cool huh!?
Bob R April 16, 2013 at 11:30 PM
Do your research on the Marxist comment. It's true.
K April 16, 2013 at 11:56 PM
I think the efforts of Juan Bautista Alvarado are just important to remember and honor.
Edward April 17, 2013 at 03:06 AM
We have so many parks and even a couple of "CLOSED" schools that when they are turned into "PARKS" could be named in honor of these people. Why do we need to re-name and existing school, when 97% of the people want the name to remain the same? Like I said before, the School Board is "HIGH" on a "Power Trip" and a good "nick name" would be "Itchy BONG" in recognition of their "Trip" and their need to scratch the backs of those who they THINK got them elected.
Edward April 17, 2013 at 03:13 AM
Hey Cheryl...it is about middle schoolers being pawns in a Racist Fight. They need to speak up and tell those School Board members what they feel. Being silent is not what either Larry Itliong or Philip Vera Cruz would have done if this was their school. The question is, would they choose a School to be named after them or the Students getting a Class 1 Education and being able to fight for what is right. In the end, it is "Their School".
Edward April 17, 2013 at 03:15 AM
After they sell off Cabellio School, they could rename the entire park.
Timothy Swenson April 17, 2013 at 04:42 AM
But do you know what they are? How many people really know what he did for Alta California?
Bob R April 17, 2013 at 05:41 AM
I attended the meeting tonight. I admit I do not routinely attend board meetings, but the performance of the board was just embarassing. It looks to me like they don't know their own policy or procedures. Motions were made on diatribes of 5 minutes that required repeating 5 times, a lack of understanding of basic concepts presented in those motions etc. I was not impressed particularly with Canlas. As the leader of the board she appeared to be reckless and really unaware of board policy. I was all for following an organized and thoughtful process and the chance to do that was not provided tonight. So why did Mathews flip-flop? Did she get text message before her 2nd statement and vote? We may never know, but her initial indications appeared to be for fixing the process. She later changed her mind and voted for the name change anyway. Or maybe she's just confused.. No idea.
Veronica April 17, 2013 at 06:00 AM
I think changing the name is ridiculous.
Ron April 17, 2013 at 06:10 AM
I think it's time for me to change the name on the deed to my house... time to sell and get the hell out of the shit hole. When I moved here the schools were decent. Now they are going down the toilet. Why are we arguing over the name of a school when we should be arguing about a failed school district and a failed school board?
Bob R April 17, 2013 at 06:14 AM
AND, guess which group is dragging down the school scores? It sure isn't the Chinese or the Indians, any guesses?
Edward April 17, 2013 at 06:16 AM
"itchy BONG" Middle School "got your Goat". Wait untill you see how they spend that $29.2 million they got. All new "Itchy BONG" Uniforms, Every website corrected. But please don't leave, we need every vote we can get to stop them from raisng our property taxes for more silly stuff.
John April 17, 2013 at 06:17 AM
hey Ron, You should I did....am glad I did I got tired of the BS that goes on in that city -- they are in debt reaching $100million the schools are crap and keep going down...they like to bus in Oakland kids just to get more money off per student...that is why they need 4 principals for one school. 5.5k students crazy. the police force and fireman are pulling down large sums off the city retirement chain...it wont ever end they will put more ballots to increase taxes and raise water/garbage/etc...more than cities with better water/education/etc....and the only city that will name streets buildings etc after council members without any justification nor worry about costs...like putting a 100k into a stargate sg1 type objects then spend more money on name changes than EDUCATE kids
Cheryl April 17, 2013 at 04:53 PM
So cool I should text my BFF. Wait. I already texted her that the name change will happen.
Cheryl April 17, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Hey Edward. I hope a lot of students on both sides were vocal. Probably not as they're too busy listening to their iPods to care.
End Hate April 17, 2013 at 05:47 PM
As a Filipina, I am 100% against renaming Alvarado Middle and was 100% against the renaming New Haven Middle to Ceasar Chavez for many reasons. I was not there last night when the decision was made but hearing all this fist pumping stuff is rather embarrssing, this isn't the Jersey Shore. Yes, I am proud of my race and proud that I live in a diverse community like Union City but no race really has to prove their pride by renaming a building after one of "your own." What is embarrassing is all the racially charged comments that are being made by some of the individuals on this thread. It started off as a fight whether or not to rename a middle school but it's turning into some hate war against each other. Is it really necessary? Is the issue renaming the middle school that comes from Filipino/Spanish ancestry or is it renaming the school period? What is the real issue here? It's situations like this that put everyone in a bad place. Everyone just needs to get over it or act on it in a peaceful non-racial manner. If you feel that renaming is wrong, great, get the process going and stop it. If you are for the renaming, great, but don't be a jerk about it. Be the example to your kids. Showing your children to stand up for what you believe in by being respectful and professional. If you choose not to do anything about it, get over it.
Es1 April 17, 2013 at 09:41 PM
Edward, you really would stoop that low to mock these names because your choice of outcome was not chosen? How do you expect your views and comments to be taken seriously? (this is me assuming you're an adult.)
Edward April 18, 2013 at 05:07 AM
Actually they call Cesar Chavez "Ceasar Salad", Bernard White was called "Barnyard" But Alvarado was held sacred and respected. Now it is up for grabs by naming it after some Marxist Labor leaders who left the UFW because it was not radicle enough.
Edward April 18, 2013 at 08:09 PM
They stood up alright, with Clinched fists. This is not about Labor leaders getting their due, it is about "PINOY POWER". If it were about the Labor Movement, the school district would not hire non-union contractors to do the work on the schools over the summer. The winning bids on that 29.3 Million Grant would go to Union Contractors and their workers. "Double Gates" and renaming a school after labor leaders is "Double Talk". The Spirit of the Labor movement by these great leaders is being turned into "TURF WARS" based on ethnicity rather than their Works. Honor Labor Union? YES !
Veronica April 19, 2013 at 04:16 AM
I agree.
Veronica April 19, 2013 at 04:18 AM
Good points.
Edward April 19, 2013 at 04:23 AM
Union City was suposed to "unite" the townships of Decoto, Alvarado and Hew Haven into a UNION that would stop the anexation into Hayward in 1959 when Hayward tryed to anex the whole lot into South Hayward. Today, most have forgotten this and want "one upsmanship" to re-name what the founders never intended to change. Keeping the identities and history intact. Re-naming Schools after labor leaders when the School District does not Honor labor in Contracts, it has with contractors, service providers and even with it's own teachers, like what happened to all the Music Teachers and Band Leaders, does not honor the persons they are naming the Schools after at all. What Larry Itliong. Philip Vera Cruz and Cesar Chavez all had in common was getting workers united to gain a fair share in the wealth of California dominated by Agriculture and Land Barons. Now that the School District is commited to naming their schools after these labor leaders, they need to step up and stop playing Games with Labor. Union City needs to be a UNION TOWN and New Haven Unified needs to do it's part and not just give "lip Sevice" to ethnic groups by saying they "Honor Labor" when they realy don't. Watch who gets the School building and modification contracts with that $29.2 Million they had bestowed on them. it should stay local by hireing local workers through local labor unions, not give pink slips to garner Votes in local Bond measures and put "Labor History" into the curiculum.


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