Sunday, May 15, 2011

VVA participated in the First Launch of Southeast Asian Indochinese American Heritage at the Library of Congress on May 14


From left to right:
First row (sitting): Diane Vy Nguyen-Vu, Anh Vu Sawyer, XuanLan Nguyen, Genie Giao Nguyen, Bounheng Inversin, Mali Phonpadith,
Second row: Brigitte Le, Xai Souphom, Dr. Hoi Dao, Prof. Bich Nguyen, Dr. Franklin Odo, Dr. Sovan Tun, Diane Hibino, Khiet Dang, Vinh Nguyen
Third row: Hoan Dang, Long Nguyen, Lynn,

On May 14, to celebrate the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, Voice of Vietnamese Americans participated in the First Launch to Archive Southeast Asian Indochinese American Heritage at the Library of Congress, Asian Division.

The event was hosted by the Asian Division, the Library of Congress, in collaboration with Community Leaders of the Cambodian Americans, Hmong Americans, Laotian Americans, and Vietnamese Americans. It also received participation of many Indochinese American writers, poet, and musicians.

Dr. Franklin Odo, Chief of Asian Division, Library of Congress, gave the Opening Remarks in recognition of many community leaders he has worked with throughout the years. Dr. Franklin Odo is a very well respected scholar specialized in Asian studies. He was a professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Hawai’i.

The President's appointed to White House Initiative on AAPI Commission, Commissioner Duoa Thor, a Hmong refugee who has worked tirelessly to advocate for the Southeast Asian Indochinese Community, gave the keynote speech, emphasizing the important role of Indochinese Americans in making our voice heard, be responsive to the social political landscape where we are a part of, and to contribute back to the community as much as we can.


Following Commissioner Doua Thor, the first panel, moderated by Khiet Dang, presented a general overview of Southeast Asian Indochinese American Communities through the lenses of 4 community leaders:

1. Dr. Sovan Tun from the Cambodian American Community: Presented the important role of Buddhism and the Buddhist Pagoda in supporting the community.

2. Nou Vang from the Hmong American Community: Presented the significant transition of the Hmong community from needy refugees to responsible citizens.

3. Bounhen Inversin from the Lao American Community: Presented the special roles of Laotian Women in the life of Laotian Americans.

4. Prof. Bich Nguyen from the Vietnamese American Community: Presented the overview of Vietnamese Community from 1975 - 2011.

5. Hoan Dang, President and CEO of HDI Optimum, Inc.: Presented his view of a 1.5 generation: that of an American who is a descendant of Vietnamese heritage. Hoan has actively participated in serving the American communities through boys couting, volunteering in different civic services and advocacy works. Most recently, he ran for a seat in the Maryland House of Representatives when he realized that his community needed representation at the state level.



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