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Vietnamese Americans

January 16, 2009 | DANA PARSONS
What are some of the signs that an immigrant community has successfully blended into mainstream society? Off the top of my head: * Its children have done well in the public school system. * Workers have found meaningful jobs across the occupational spectrum. * People have begun taking part in the political system and run for public office. * The "majority" in society has come to consider the immigrants as part of the overall community fabric.
April 21, 2014 | By Anh Do
Along with its manicured greenbelts and meticulously neat neighborhoods, Irvine suddenly has something else on its hands: an international incident. Members of its vast Chinese American community are fighting a city decision to bow to the demands of Vietnamese Americans, who arrived by the hundreds this month to demand that Irvine abandon its plans to formalize a relationship with a tourist town in coastal Vietnam. A parade of speakers spent hours pleading with council members to reject the proposal, saying it would be insulting for the city to forge a "friendship" with a country they'd fled to escape a brutal communist regime.
May 24, 2004
Re "A Reviled Figure Resurfaces to Oppose Unwelcome Mat for Vietnam Officials," May 19: I am a Navy veteran who served aboard an aircraft carrier during the Korean and Vietnam wars. What's with all these Vietnamese demonstrations in Garden Grove and Westminster to "discourage" visits by Communist Party leaders from Vietnam? That war was more than a generation ago. Vietnamese Americans are living freely, comfortably and have attained their slice of the American dream. They now drive cars instead of pedaling bicycles.
April 9, 2014 | By Anh Do
When a city councilman in Irvine dreamed up the idea of forming a relationship with a coastal town in Vietnam, the leaders of this increasingly multicultural community got a quick, decisive lesson in foreign relations. Hundreds of Vietnamese Americans, many with wrenching stories of fleeing their homeland as communist forces took over the country, arrived by the busload at City Hall to tell city leaders they felt insulted and betrayed. By the time Tuesday's council meeting ended six hours later, city officials not only had dropped plans for a "friendship" pact with Nha Trang, they also had voted 3 to 2 to suspend Irvine's entire Friendship Cities Program.
Six prominent Vietnamese Americans from Orange and Los Angeles counties were given lifetime achievement awards here Sunday for creative work they began at least two decades ago in Vietnam and pursue today in their adopted homeland. A writer, journalist, sculptor, actress and two musicians received the awards from the Committee of Vietnamese Overseas Artists, a nonprofit group headquartered in Little Saigon. Organizers hope the awards will become an annual event.
December 13, 1999 | H.G. REZA, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A walkathon to benefit flood victims raised almost $100,000 Sunday from 3,000 Vietnamese Americans who marched in support of family members and others left devastated by Vietnam's worst flooding in almost 50 years. The daylong event, held under blue skies at Mile Square Park, was one of three fund-raisers organized Sunday by the Vietnamese expatriate community in the United States. Walks also were held in San Jose and Houston.
Pamela Pham remembers the merciless teasing. The way her new American classmates ridiculed her for pointing to things with her middle finger, a custom back home. * "The kids would laugh and laugh and laugh and turned that into a joke," Pham said. "They made me a joke." Journey Pham (no relation) remembers a family member's brush with death. The way somebody tried to shoot his brother, yelling, "You don't belong here," Pham recalled.
These days, Mai Ngoc Vuong and thousands of other Vietnamese Americans are besieged by a sense of helplessness. Her younger brother, Vuong Kim Lan, is among 31,000 Vietnamese "boat people" who since 1988 have been living in refugee camps in Southeast Asia, seeking political asylum and resettlement in other countries. Their hope--boundless years ago when they set out to sea on flimsy boats to escape the Communist regime of Vietnam--is about to run dry.
April 6, 2009 | My-Thuan Tran
Being called a communist sympathizer is enough to ruin a reputation in Little Saigon. In this staunchly anti-communist Vietnamese enclave in central Orange County, where the flag of fallen South Vietnam continues to wave, business owners, politicians and even pop singers know the label can spark street protests and damaging reports in the Vietnamese press. And in the past, those targeted have generally endured the attacks, knowing it would be futile to counter the accusations.
February 13, 1994
(Your) Page 1 story last Sunday (Feb. 6) reporting about what was called "the exile community's first collective show of opposition to the end of the trade embargo," regrettably focused exclusively on the protest leaders and the participants to the demonstration--where "a parade of speakers assailed (President) Clinton as a traitor"--without getting the views of others in the community, or at least of the bystanders, and there were many on that busy Tet shopping weekend. The fact is, in lifting the trade embargo against Vietnam, Clinton also announced the establishment of an office in Hanoi to pursue a dialogue with the Vietnamese government on the issue of human rights in Vietnam, a decision which is hailed by many Vietnamese Americans as a decisive step forward in the struggle for human rights and democracy in Vietnam.
January 20, 2014 | By Anh Do
Down at Lily's Bakery, the talk among those hunched over their beignets and iced coffee is focused on the upcoming Lunar New Year parade. The much-anticipated Feb. 1 procession, filled with lion dancers and dignitaries waving from passing cars, winds through Little Saigon as firecrackers pop and the old flag of South Vietnam flutters. The pressing question now is if a rainbow flag will be added to the colorful mix. After firm resistance, organizers of the Tet parade, along with other groups called to a community assembly, relented, agreeing to let a troop of Vietnamese American LGBT activists march.
December 20, 2013 | By Anh Do
Radio commentator and human rights activist Viet Dzung, who dominated the airwaves for decades in Little Saigon and was one of the early voices in the emerging immigrant community, died Friday. He was 55. Born Nguyen Ngoc Hung Dung, Viet Dzung became well known in the Vietnamese American community for both his singing and his political commentary on Radio Bolsa, an Orange County-based broadcast that reaches Vietnamese listeners across the country. Though he was born in Vietnam, Viet Dzung refused to return to his homeland after communist forces took control in the wake of the Vietnam war. He also told listeners that he preferred not to play music by artists from Vietnam because of the country's refusal to import music recorded by Vietnamese Americans.
October 6, 2013 | By Anh Do
The men had just finished their thick steaks and were starting to smoke cigars while artichoke hearts warmed on the grill. A plate of mooncakes awaited them nearby. On a sunny afternoon in the backyard of his home in the hills of Orange, Van Tran plots his political comeback. Once California's highest-ranking Vietnamese American politician, riding a wave of activism in the immigrant community where he came of age, Tran was bounced to the sidelines in 2010 when a veteran congresswoman, Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana)
July 27, 2013 | By Anh Do
Until Communist captors locked his dad in a 9-by-9-foot jail cell, Khoa Nguyen did not fully appreciate the battle his father was fighting. As a boy, he remembered him talking about the struggles in his homeland, the basic human rights he believed his countrymen in Vietnam had been denied. His parent's activity with a pro-democracy group finally drew his father from the family's comfortable Garden Grove home to Vietnam, where he hoped to train residents to use nonviolent methods in lobbying for reforms.
April 29, 2013 | By Anh Do, Los Angeles Times
One girl gasps as the grainy black-and-white footage rolls: Women are screaming, thrusting their babies at soldiers boarding a helicopter. In the next scene, hundreds of refugees packed in the belly of a rickety boat rock in the ocean, desperately trying to flee their homeland after the fall of Saigon. Gathered in a Garden Grove office, young adults who grew up in the shadow of war watch the images, only tasting the horrors their parents and relatives endured when South Vietnam fell to Communist forces 38 years ago. For many in immigrant communities like Orange County's Little Saigon, the memory of April 30 - "Black April" to those who lived through it - has been passed on only through photographs, stories or rough video clips.
November 28, 2012 | By Anh Do, Los Angeles Times
In a well-lit gym, the two men in white and gold robes sat on folding chairs, struggling to control their emotions. The Catholic faithful - grandmothers, fathers, members of a youth ministry - surged forward, offering tributes. "We will never forget you," parishioner Hieu Hoang said. "To us, you are like our own father. You will always be with us. " "Please don't forget us," another added. The sudden removal of two Vietnamese American priests at the largest parish serving Little Saigon has left the congregation at St. Barbara's confused and angry.
October 15, 2008 | My-Thuan Tran, Times Staff Writer
The first Vietnamese American in the country was elected to public office 16 years ago when Tony Lam won a seat on the Westminster City Council, making history for a refugee group that fled after the Vietnam War and settled in Orange County. Lam's election made national headlines and Vietnamese leaders had high hopes that he would become the bridge to help connect mainstream America and the Vietnamese.
March 19, 1995
Next month will mark the 20th anniversary of the Communist takeover of Vietnam, a traumatic event that sent hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing to the United States, many of them to Orange County. Here and in other communities across the country that the refugees and their America-born children now call home, the anniversary has become an occasion to take stock of what was gained and what was lost.
November 10, 2012 | By Anh Do, Los Angeles Times
He runs a trade magazine for the nail salon industry and lives quietly with his family in a small mobile home on the edge of town. But in a city that decades ago rose up as the new capital for Vietnamese outside Vietnam, Tri Ta is suddenly the king of Little Saigon. Since his election as Westminster's mayor Tuesday, Ta has been featured on Radio Free Asia, invited to San Jose to meet with Vietnamese leaders and watched as his name rocketed across the Internet, from Houston to Hanoi.
November 1, 2012 | By Anh Do, Los Angeles Times
Noodle shops and bakeries fragrant with pandan cake and coconut buns draw customers into aging Westminster strip malls. Daily papers compete for refugee readers with headlines screaming out news about Hanoi. Near the Civic Center, a statue of South Vietnamese and American soldiers stands tall. Yet in a city that gave birth to Little Saigon - the colorful capital of Vietnamese outside Vietnam - there has never been a Vietnamese mayor. In the decades since the fall of Saigon, voters in this central Orange County immigrant community have elected Vietnamese judges, a county supervisor, an assemblyman, and City Council members and school board trustees by the handful.
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