Tuesday, August 10, 2010

VVA's picnic at Burke Lake inspired civic engagement





On Saturday August 7th, Voice of Vietnamese Americans hosted a barbecue picnic at Burke Lake with more than 30 young students, young professionals, to share their passion of civic engagement and what to do for the Vietnamese Americans. Vel Hernandez, Chair of VVA's Advocacy Committee initiated the project to raise awareness about racial crimes and violence against young Vietnamese American ladies, with the recent case of Vanessa Pham, a beautiful successful young Vietnamese American student being murdered right in the heart of Fairfax without making any impact in the Fairfax County Police force and VA Administration.

"Vietnamese Americans are very under-represented", we need to encourage more civic engagement, more people registering to vote, and more voters really coming out to vote. Any one vote counts." Thanh Tran, a consultant with MBA degree from Minnesota came to attend the picnic and enthusiastically announced: "I do not let party lines bother mẹ I vote for both Democrats and Republicans, if the candidates are Vietnamese Americans".

Thanh suggested the Vietnamese Americans should learn the lesson from the Jewish Community.

Hoan Dang, Board Member of VVA, also attended the picnic and talked in length about the history of Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, a Japanese American who served in both the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration. Secretary Mineta's family was interned for several years in the Heart Mountain internment camp near Cody, Wyoming, along with thousands of other Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans. Upon arrival to the camp, Mineta, a baseball fan, had his baseball bat confiscated by authorities who feared that it was a weapon. While detained in the camp, Mineta, a Boy Scout, met fellow Scout Alan K. Simpson, future U.S. Senator from Wyoming, who often visited the Scouts in the internment camp with his troop. The two became, and have remained, close friends and political allies.



Hoan Dang himself is an Eagle Scout, a Scout Master who had founded a Boy Scout troop in district 19 of Montgomery County, Maryland, and is now running for State Delegate so he can better serve his people in District 19.



But you do not need to run for office to serve. Anh Thiên Nguyên, a young IT engineer, has been very active as a Voice of Vietnamese American Core Member and has participated in many Community events, from Health Fair, Housing Fair, Census 2010, even phone banking and canvassing. Binh Ly is another rising youth leader, who successfully directed the recent July Fourth Parade on Constitution Avenue, bringing pride to the Vietnamese Americans.

The Cake is created to resemble the Star Banner Flag, and it says "Congratulations" to congratulate Vel for her next step as a Grad Student at American University. Vel has proven herself a great natural leader during her time with VVA, and we wish her all the best. Ly Phan, a Realtor from Maryland, came to join VVA and shared the proud moment by cutting the cake with Vel and Hoan.



All members and friends of VVA will miss Vel dearly. However, we are very fortunate that Nhiên Pho, Miss Eden 2009, has graciously agreed to step up to replace Vel. Thanks Nhiên. We are very excited with Nhiên being our Advocacy Committee Chair. Nhiên has already signed up many members, Chris, Tony, Thanh, David, Shawn, ..., to help with phone banking and canvassing. A petition for the case of Vanessa Pham is to be drafted and a project is on the way...

















Long Nguyen, former President of MAUVSA, also came to share his passion and conviction for civic engagement with the team. Long recently participated in organizing a successful uNAVSA Conference right in the heart of the Greater Washington Area, with the theme: Uncommon Power for the Common Voice. (http://unavsa.org/conference/


So much inspiration and so much passion to create a strong Voice of Vietnamese Americans.





Thank you all who attended the picnic and shared our conviction.

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