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Larry Itliong Unity Park now open to the public in Delano

The community of Delano filled the new Larry Itliong Park for its grand opening. Rather than a regular ribbon cutting, the community essentially threw a party
Posted at 9:22 AM, May 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-13 13:36:40-04

DELANO, Calif. (KERO) — An inspirational landmark has recently been added to Delano that will serve as not only a new community hangout spot but will also serve as an educational tool for the community on Larry Itliong.

  • The Larry Itliong Unity Park was created in remembrance of organizer of the West Coast Labor Movement Larry Itliong — a prominent figure in Delano history. Rather than a typical ribbon cutting, the community essentially threw a party.
  • Son of Larry Itliong, Johnny Itliong says growing up watching his fathers advocacy work first hand made Saturday’s park opening even more sentimental to him.
  • Not only does this park serve as a new community hang out spot but it also acts as a learning tool in educating future generations by becoming an inspirational landmark for future generations to come

It was a project two years in the making with millions of dollars in funding. But now, the wait is over and the community of Delano has one more park to enjoy that comes with historical significance. The Larry Itliong Unity Park is here and it seems like the community couldn’t be happier.

Hundreds of community members gathered for the grand opening of the Larry Itliong Unity Park. However the opening of the park wasn’t like any ribbon cutting — instead the community turned it into a celebration.

Along with speeches from park representatives and family members of Larry Itliong, the park was filled with vendors, food trucks, and even a history display of Itliong’s impacts for the community.

Son of Larry Itliong, Johnny Itliong says it was a surreal feeling when he got news that the park would be in honor of his father but couldn’t believe that this would be the end result.

“You know Im just like, my heart is full of joy because if anybody was deserving of it he was definitely,” said Itliong. “He gave a lot of his life to it.”

Itliong says he grew up going to the camps with his father and he says seeing his advocacy work first hand made Saturday’s park opening even more sentimental to him.

Board President of the Filipino-American National Historical Society Museum Erwin Mina says he was born in raised in Delano. Growing up throughout the civil rights movement and living in a farming camp, Mina says this is a dream that at one point seemed impossible.

“The impact of today for us, it would be like you and me talking about going to the moon. We never thought that would happen we just lived it,” said Mina. “We lived a really tough life but with this park it’s really symbolic of the progress that the children of the Manong’s have made.”

Itliong says while this park is named after his father — the full title is the Larry Itliong Unity Park. Because his fathers efforts weren’t just for the filipino farmworkers, but for all the farmworkers who were facing injustice.

“His goal was to bring his countrymen together but then realizing throughout the years it wasn’t just about filipinos anymore it was about the ones who had no voices and he was the one that spoke for them,” said Itliong.

With this park soon to benefit multiple generations to come, Itliong shares one final message for the community about the importance on his landmark.

“This is America and this is what America is all about forgiveness, learning about our history and not repeating it,” said Itliong.

Not only does this park serve as a new community hang out spot but it also acts as a learning tool in educating future generations by becoming an inspirational landmark for future generations to come.


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