Friday, March 18, 2011

Virginia Redistricting Commission - Preserving Vietnamese Communities as Communities of Interest




VVA Statement as Presented to the Independent Bipartisan Advisory Redistricting Commission at GMU - Fairfax - on Tuesday March 15, 2011

Good evening, Chairman and Members of the Independent Bipartisan Advisory Redistricting Commission.

My name is Genie Giao Nguyen, chair of Voice of Vietnamese Americans, a non-partisan, non-profit organization advocating for civic engagement in respect to the constitutions of the United States and of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

We would like to sincerely thank Governor McDonnell and all the Commissioners serving in this Independent Bipartisan Redistricting Commission. Your roles in the process have assured us that we can hope for a just and fair redistricting process in Virginia, despite the challenges of time constrains, budget cuts, significant changes in the populations and demographic disturbances due to foreclosures and unfair anti-immigrant activities.

As one of the youngest Asian American communities, Vietnamese Americans in Virginia in 2011 have the population rapidly increased within the last decade. If the population of Virginia grew 11%, Asian American population in Fairfax grew 17.5%, among which, Vietnamese Americans would be among the fourth largest group in the APIA community.

However, Vietnamese Americans are very much different from other immigrant groups. We came here in 1975 as refugees. We came barehanded. We had tried very hard to overcome challenges, and we have risked our lives to call Virginia home.

After 36 years, the younger generation has assimilated into the main stream, contributing as young professionals and successful businessmen, Vietnamese Americans are trying to pay back to this Commonwealth. However, more than half of our population are direct immigrants with limited English skills, aging-related health issues, growing dependency on the community with the same history, traditions, same culture, and same interests.

Vietnamese Americans in Virginia respectfully request Governor McDonnell and his Advisory Redistricting Commission to consider Vietnamese American Communities in Falls Church, in Springfield, in Woodbridge, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Richmond, as communities of interests, and kindly keep us together as much as practicable in redrawing the districts.

We understand that you are undertaking a very demanding and difficult role. Voice of Vietnamese Americans in Virginia is ready to work with you and support you in this process.

Thank you for your consideration,

Genie Nguyen

Voice of Vietnamese Americans

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