SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) —  City leaders gathered at the future Delano Manongs Park in East San Jose to honor the community’s Filipino Americans and in solidarity in condemning the recent surge in hate crimes against the AAPI community. 

San Jose District 5 Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco in partnership with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services, elected officials and leaders from the Filipino community, held a press conference Tuesday to honor the future park. 

“I am proud to represent a district with a large Filipino American population but it is incumbent upon us to remember them not just in words but in factual, concrete moments like these,” said Carrasco. 

“To name the newest park in the Eastside to Delano Manongs feels like the perfect name and the perfect time to do so.” 

Courtesy: City of San Jose

The city of San Jose will dedicate and name the new city park to honor the thousands of Filipino farmworkers who organized and participated in the 1965 Delano Grape Strike. 

These Filipino farmworkers worked alongside activists Cesar Chavez to organize the strike from 1965-70 throughout the state’s Central Valley. 

“The recognition of the Filipino farmworkers and especially those who stood for equality, justice, and human rights in Delano of 1965 is overdue,” said Ben Menor with the National Federation of Filipino American Associations. 

“As an immigrant and resident of Santa Clara County of 65 years and 12 of them in the city of San Jose and a direct descendant of those Manongs being recognized today,” Menor added. 

“My dad, Benedicto Menor, a Manongs and veteran of World War II who came to this country from the Philippines in 1927 as a laborer would be so proud of this honor.” 

(From left to right) SOMOS MayFair Executive Director Camille Fontanilla-Llanes, Santa Clara County Board of Education trustee Peter Ortiz, Ben Menor, Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco, Dr. Jennifer Briscoe and Alex Chu with L.E.A.D Filipino, PRNS Director Jon Cicirelli, and Director of Public Works Matt Cano.

Filipino community leaders in attendance also stood in solidarity in condemning the recent hate crimes against the AAPI community, especially among the community’s Filipino residents. 

“While the Delano Manongs Park in San Jose honors the history of Fil-Ams, this history moment comes at a time when we see ourselves fronted with increases of hate and violence targeting AAPI communities, even within our own backyard,” said Alex Chu with L.E.A.D Filipino.

“We know that simply naming a park won’t immediately solve the racial tension in the world, but we also know the symbolic gesture is a strong step in celebrating Fil-Am history,” Chu added.

“This gesture shows that the community of San Jose’s commitment to standing against hate together, not once, but twice, with 72% of the votes, the Manongs Delano Park was voted the number one name.” 

Ben Menor (left), Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco (middle) , and SOMOS MayFair Executive Director Camille Fontanilla-Llanes (right).

The term “manong” means “elder brother” in the Ilocano language and was commonly used as a term between the Filipino farmworkers who led the grape strike more than 55 years ago.

The Delano Manongs Park located at the corner of Gimelli Way and Beechnut Drive in East San Jose is set to open within the next few months and will be open to everyone.