IPR is featuring some of the many AAPI pioneers who impacted the field of public relations in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month.
Philip Vera Cruz (1904-1994) was a Filipino American who advocated for labor rights and led several social justice initiatives for agricultural workers.
After immigrating to America from the Philippines, Vera Cruz picked grapes, lettuce, and asparagus in Delano, Central Valley, CA. Like many other farmworkers he faced rough work conditions, working long hours in 110-degree heat. This prompted Vera Cruz to join the Agricultural Worker Organizing Committee (AWOC) and become a leader in farm workers’ rights.
In 1965 Vera Cruz and others led the Delano Grape Strike to increase workers’ pay. The campaign to boycott non-union grapes attracted national and international support. The strike and boycott soon won the support of the National Farm Workers of America and led to the eventual merging of the two groups to form the United Farm Workers (UFW). Vera Cruz also formed the Farm Workers Credit Union and created Agbayani Village, a retirement community for older farmworkers. In addition to his activism in the agriculture community, Vera Cruz was active in the Asian American rights movement throughout his career.