Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Extra Credit: Isang Bagsak! One fall, One Down

Good evening everyone!

For my extra credit blog post, I would like to talk about how our Filipino Student Association here at UCSC uses a “unity clap” to close our events. The Unity clap originated from the United Farm Workers Movement of the 60's which consisted of mostly Filipino/Filipina and Latino/Latina farm workers. Due to a language barrier (many were illiterate in English and only spoke their native tongue) and physical barriers of the cornstalks, they needed a common way of communicating with each other. At the end of each day, the farm workers would start a unity clap. They would start off slow like a heartbeat then increase in speed. The unity clap/common heartbeat symbolizes our solidarity with our allies in our similar struggles and experiences. In unison, we say "Isang Bagsak", which in Tagalog means "one down" or "one fall". We carry this meaning so that we and our allies know that we rise and fall together.

Our campus barely instituted a Critical Race and Ethnic Studies class which is not enough to satisfy any needs for learning about one’s culture. Our association created a 2-credit class called Pilipino Historical Dialogue (PHD) which is taught by undergraduates as a mean to teach about Filipino history. One thing that resonated with me is the United Farm Workers movement. My father picked fruits in Hanford, California when he came to America. He worked all kinds of jobs over the course of his life such as driving small trucks, peeling potatoes (which is why he rarely eats French fries), and custodian work. Even after the bargaining agreements for better conditions, he said that the reason he still is dark skinned was from the sun that roasted him when he was still a teenager.

Larry Itliong.jpgI would like to pay my respects to the Filipino farmworkers as well as the Latino farmworkers since we did not get to watch the Delano Manongs. During the Cesar Chavez movie, it didn’t fully capture how powerful it was to unite the two farmworker groups. The leaders of the movement were Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz and they were powerful speakers and united the voices of Filipinos all around. The Delano strike was a turning point as it crippled many of the capitalist owners of the fields. Under the Feet of Jesus makes a good point that we are very disconnected with the labor that goes into picking the produce we eat. It’s a strange feeling knowing that my dad did a unity clap just as how I do after we finish our events here for FSA.

Know history, know self. No history, no self.

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