Racist graffiti in Union City targets Filipinos

April 30, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Investigators in Union City think they know why racist graffiti is suddenly appearing around town. They think this all stems from a controversy related to the renaming of a local middle school.

The messages, written over the weekend, are similar at all three locations. They use an expletive aimed at Filipinos as seen on the sign of a building owned by the Filipino community center.

"This race thing shouldn't be part of our lives anymore. We're all living in America living as Americans," said Jim Sison, a Filipino community member.

A Filipino restaurant across the street was also tagged, as well as the office of the Filipino Advocates for Justice. Police are treating it as a hate crime.

"For us we have a different take on it. For us we see this as a message that we need to do quite a bit more community building," said Chris Cara from Filipino Advocates for Justice.

Police believe the initials in the graffiti "AMS" stand for Alvarado Middle School and this all stems from the controversial renaming of the school in honor of two Filipino-American farm workers.

"They were the ones who worked with Cesar Chavez before," said Union City Councilmember Pat Gacoscos.

Gacoscos points out the irony in the word "Mexico" or "Mex" used to cross out the word Filipino on a sign. She says Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz merged their union with Cesar Chavez and other Mexican farm workers to form the United Farm Workers Union.

"Then Cesar Chavez became the more well-known than the United Farm Workers leader," said Gacoscos.

That's why renaming that middle school Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School is so important to so many Filipino-Americans in Union City.

Police are searching for a suspect in this hate crime investigation.


Load Comments