My dad came to the United States in 1926. He landed in California and then worked a number of different jobs. Primarily, he worked as a domestic and as a field hand in the San Joaquin valley, and he migrated up to the Northwest working on farms and even working in the Alaskan canneries—the fish canneries in Alaska. The jobs were very difficult.

My mother worked in the fruit packing industry, primarily with Del Monte and Tree Top.   She worked for Tree Top for thirty-five years. She took pride in what she did and she never complained about the work.



I was in my early twenties when I first went up to Alaska. And I saw that there were some real injustices that were going on there, and I didn't like it. In order to change anything, I needed to say something. I just couldn't just sit around and let it happen to me. I had to say something.

There was segregated messing where you had white folks eating in a different mess hall than Filipinos. During the time I was there nobody complained. Prior to that, Gene Viernes was at the same plant, and he had complained about it. I think they had a food boycott. This was Ward's Cove, Ketchikan.

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The housing had Filipinos sleeping in one quarters. They had Japanese in another quarters. They had whites in one place. People were separated by their ethnicity. And that wouldn't have been a problem if everybody had the same kind of housing. The Filipinos—their conditions in their housing was really below par. Some of the rooms didn't have mattresses or springs to their beds. They didn't have any place to put their clothes. Half of the toilets worked. The shower facilities weren't adequate. Half of them worked or they had mildew built up in most of the stalls—I mean, it was below average, where everybody else had better conditions.

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