Initially created for retired Filipino fieldworkers, Agbiyani Village continues to provide a home

Providing a home retired fieldworkers then and now

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Nearly four decades after Agbayani village was built, the sounds of men's footsteps still echo down its hallways.

Cesar Chavez opened the retirement home for Filipino farm workers in 1974.

Back then, Filipino field workers were all men brought over to California in the early 1920s and 1930s to work in the farm fields.

Anti-miscegenation laws prohibited them from marrying outside their race.

"Once they went on strike or were no longer able to perform, they were kicked out of labor camps and had no place to go. They couldn't go back to the Philippines because they'd been gone 40 or 50 years and they had no children to take care of them because they were never married due to racist laws," said Chavez's son Paul Chavez.

Knowing the men were destitute and faced living on the streets, Chavez created Agbayani village located on the UFW's Forty Acres compound in Delano.

The retirement home has 58 dorms, a kitchen, dining room and nearby clinic.

Josephina Flores lived at Agbayani village for 7 years while she worked as a labor organizer.

"All the Filipinos didn't have family. So they had friends to talk to and were really happy when they were here. And they had games and things like that," said Flores.

Agbayani village started as a retirement home for farm workers, but now also serves as affordable housing, providing a home for nearly 4000 farm workers over the years.

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