Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Congressman Cao Commemorates "Vietnamese Refugees Day"

Cao Commemorates “Vietnamese Refugees Day”

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao’s (LA-02) first piece of legislation, H.Res. 342, designating May 2, 2009 as “Vietnamese Refugees Day,” was passed unanimously by the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The resolution commemorates the arrival of Vietnamese refugees in the United States, documents their harrowing experiences and subsequent achievements in their new homeland, and honors the host countries and other voluntary agencies that welcomed the boat people and facilitated their resettlement into mainstream society in the United States,” declared Cao.

On May 2, 2009, designated as “Vietnamese Refugees Day,” the Library of Congress’ Asian Division will join many Vietnamese-American organizations across the United States in sponsoring a symposium entitled: “Journey to Freedom: A Boat People Retrospective.”

“Like me, many of the conflict’s refugees came to the United States. In fact, it was April 28, 1974, exactly 34 years ago today, that, as Saigon fell, I climbed aboard a C-130 destined for the United States and my new life,” said Cao in support of the resolution.

Cao added that, since the Vietnam War ended, approximately 2,000,000 Vietnamese boat people and other refugees are dispersed globally. As of 2006, 72 percent of those Vietnamese-American in the United States are naturalized United States citizens — the highest rate among Asian groups.

Vietnamese-Americans significantly contribute to the cultural and economic prosperity of the United States as artists, scientists, astronauts, restaurateurs, Olympians, professors and lawyers. H.Res. 342 designates May 2, 2009 as “Vietnamese Refugees Day” in honor of Vietnamese-Americans’ journey to freedom.

“By doing so, we enshrine in the hearts and consciousness of Americans the tragic, heroic and uplifting stories of perseverance and the pursuit of freedom of millions of Vietnamese refugees to ensure these stories will stand as an inspiration to generations of Americans to come,” affirmed Cao.

The bill had 67 co-sponsors.

Cao’s statement from the House floor can be viewed here:


Friday, April 17, 2009

Journey to Freedom May 2nd Event Details

Reposted from http://www.lcasianfriends.org/event/journey_to_freedom_the_boat_people_retrospective

Journey to Freedom: The Boat People Retrospective
Submitted by tdoan on Fri, 2009-04-03 10:26. ADFS events
Start: 2009-05-02 08:30
End: 2009-05-02 17:00
Timezone: Etc/GMT-5

In the years following the Vietnam War, more than 1 million refugees fled the war-ravaged countries of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Those who took to the ocean in small, overcrowded ships were dubbed the "boat people." Many perished on the seas, some at the hands of pirates, while others took refuge in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Indonesia. By the late 1970s and 1980s, the United States, Canada and other nations accepted many of those who survived the refugee camps.

The plight of these refugees is the subject of a symposium titled "Journey to Freedom: The Boat People Retrospective," to be held at the Library of Congress from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Saturday, May 2, in Room 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C.

The symposium, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Library’s Asian Division and the Asian Division Friends Society, with support from the Voice of Vietnamese Americans, Boat People S.O.S. Inc., the National Congress of Vietnamese Americans and individuals from the Vietnamese American communities in the Greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Pre-registration is required due to space limitation. Contact Remé Grefalda at regr@loc.gov, (202) 707-6096.

Senator James Webb (D-Va.) will deliver the opening keynote address. Rep. Joseph Q. Cao (R- La.) will be the luncheon keynote speaker.

Scholars, community leaders and former refugees will discuss the topic in four sessions: "Historical Background," "Exodus," "Rescue and Hospitality," and "Remembering Who We Are and Where We Have Been."

Drawn from the Library’s collections, a display of literature on the Vietnamese boat people will be on view throughout the day in the Asian Division Reading Room, Room 150 of the Thomas Jefferson Building. In the reading room, from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., several authors will sign their books on the subject, which will be available for purchase.

Two short films, to be shown at 2 p.m., will depict the resettlement process: "Waiting Days at Morong, Bataan" and "The Hong Kong Resettlement Village."

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized website at myLOC.gov.

The Asian Division is the central repository for all types of Asian publications that are not broadly available at other locations in the United States. Initiated in 1869 with a gift of 10 works in 934 volumes offered to the United States by the Emperor of China, the Library’s Asian collection of more than 2 million items is the largest and most comprehensive outside of Asia.

In 2007, the Asian Division began collaborating with cultural and educational institutions throughout the United States to build an Asian Pacific American (APA) collection in the Library of Congress. Currently, the APA Collection includes the Betty Lee Sung Collection, the Carlos Bulosan Archives, the Jade Snow Wong Collection, the James Miho Conceptual Diaries and the Royal Morales Collection. It also includes the Vietnamese American Archives, which houses archival refugee materials donated by Boat People S.O.S. Inc. and VOICE (Vietnamese Overseas Initiative for Conscience Empowerment), a U.S.-based-non-profit organization.

Journey to Freedom May 4th Event Schedule


Monday May 4th, 2009
George Mason University, Johnson Center, Dewberry Hall

[Tentative Program]
8:30 – 9:00 Registration


9:00 – 9:15 Welcome by Dr. Hung Manh Nguyen,

Director, Indochina Program at GMU, Advisor, Voice of Vietnamese Americans Opening Remarks by the Dean of the Humanities Department, GMU

9:15 – 10:00 Panel Discussion

· Dr. Ha Do Conley, Boat Person; President of the Vietnamese Association of Illinois
· Nguyen Minh Nguyen, Walk Person
· Mrs. Jackie Bong Wright, President, VAVA; Non-profit organization that participated in helping to resettle the Vietnamese Refugees during the first phase
Moderated by: Hoan Dang, President of MVMA; Board of Directors of VVA

10:00 – 10:20 Q & A

10:20 – 10:30 Proposal of Directions in Moving Forward – Mission of VVA

10:30 – 10:55 Survey and Small Group Discussion

10:55 – 11:00 Wrap-up


11:00 – Noon Keynote Speaker: Dean of the Humanities Department, GMU
Introduced by: Prof. Bich Nguyen, Chair of NCVA; Advisor, Voice of Vietnamese Americans.


Noon – 12:15 Introduction: The GMU VSA and VVA, The Boards and their Missions

12:15 – 1:00 Panel Discussion

· Andy Tran, Boat Person; Wells Fargo, Home Mortgage Consultant, Multi homes/ Builder Development.
· Dr. Quan Xuan Dinh, Boat Person and Former Re-education Inmate; Principal Advisor, Agriculture Ministry of Liberia – Advisor, Voice of Vietnamese Americans.
· Isabel Thao Nguyen, President of GMU VSA; active in projects of VOICE
Moderated by: Katie Thuc Nhi Dang, Attorney; Board of Directors of VVA; born in Palau Bidong refugee camp; parents were boat people

1:00 – 1:20 Q& A

1:20 – 1:45 Survey and Small Group Discussion

1:45 – 2:00 Closing Remarks

2:00 – 2:15 Intermission

2:15 – 4:30 Film Screening at Johnson Cinema: Journey From the Fall

4:30 Adjourn

6:00 – 8:00 Candlelight Vigil at the Capitol Reflection Pool (Co-sponsored by VVA, in conjunction with NAVASA and other Vietnamese American organizations)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Vietnamese Americans and the Census

This article from Nguoi Viet online describes special efforts to ensure that Vietnamese Americans participate fully in the next U.S. Census. Address lists are currently being updated in preparation for the mailing of questionnaires in the winter. Please provide your thoughts on strategies you are aware of in your community to inform and engage residents about the Census.