Executive Director Announcement – Philip Nguyen

The Vietnamese American Roundtable (VAR) is excited to announce the selection of Philip Nguyen, as our first Executive Director.

Philip brings insight from his experience in community organizing and his academic background to this role. After graduating from UC Berkeley with B.A. degrees in Ethnic Studies and Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, he earned his M.A. degree in Asian American Studies from the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University, where he has taught courses on Vietnamese American Literature and the History of the Vietnamese in the US.  He has been involved with community-based organizations  dedicated to amplifying and advocating for  Asian American, Southeast Asian American, and Vietnamese American voices to the forefront,including most recently in his role as Program Manager with the Vietnamese American Roundtable, and his involvement with the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network, the Progressive Vietnamese American Organization, and the Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations.

Since 2013, VAR has operated as a volunteer-based organization, growing our programs and projects from needs that we, as members of the community, saw first hand. While VAR formally incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2017, we continued with volunteer efforts until 2020 when our first part-time staff members were brought on board to maintain our programming that focuses on our key strategy areas: cultural learning, civic engagement, and community building. With Philip at the helm as our Executive Director, we hope to continue to build both a stable foundation for our growth as an organization and critical cross-community bridges by providing crucial programs and initiatives responsive to our communities’ needs — focused on the push for equitable representation in all realms of civic participation.

We hope that you will join us in congratulating Philip and extend your support to VAR’s collective success.

Student Engagement and Education for Development and Success (SEEDS) 2021

The Vietnamese American Roundtable is excited to announce the opening of registration for our fourth annual Student Engagement and Education for Development and Success (SEEDS) Summer Youth Program for 2021.

2021 marks the fourth year of our SEEDS Summer Program that aims to train and grow future community leaders to address the most urgent social issues across our local, regional, and national communities while learning about Vietnamese migration history, culture, and identity.

Youth ages 14-24, from high school to college, will engage in curated community spaces, workshops, and hands-on planning sessions to identify significant issues that are resonant with their own experiences, to learn about the contexts that produced and maintained these issues, and to configure sustainable solutions to these issues, such as racial subjugation, discrimination, and anti-AAPI hate and violence.

The SEEDS Summer Youth Program aims to provide opportunities for youth to serve as representatives and voices for their communities. Our program curriculum this year, inspired by Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do and the fight against anti-Asian xenophobia, will expose young leaders to real world civics, personal and professional development, leadership capacity-building, and project management. SEEDS this year will also feature an array of local and national community organizers, activists, and advocates who will speak to their work and experience towards social and racial justice.

We encourage you to share this year’s program application to any students who you feel may  benefit from our programming and curriculum. The link to register can be found here at https://bit.ly/VARSEEDS2021.

Registration is open to all students attending high school or university interested in Vietnamese and Southeast Asian American history, community organizing, and culture. Registrations are encouraged to be submitted Sunday, June 13th; however, students are welcome to participate in the program on a rolling basis and via drop-ins. 

Below is a tentative program schedule; sessions are anticipated to be held on Saturday mornings at varying times in-person, pursuant to CDC guidelines. A final program agenda with locations and waiver forms will be sent to all registered participants by Tuesday, June 15th. Following each session, program participants will also be collaborating on a culminating project that directly addresses an issue that they seek to advocate for that will be presented at a public showcase at the end of the summer on August 7th, 2021, open to family, friends, and the community.

Food and educational materials will be provided at no cost to all registered students for all in-person sessions. Participants who attend a majority of program sessions will also be eligible for scholarships from our sponsors.

For any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at seeds@varoundtable.org. We look forward to continuing to grow and support the future leaders of our community!

2021 PROGRAM OVERVIEW**:

1. Saturday, June 19th, 10am-2pm: SEEDS Welcome & Orientation, Food History and Food Sustainability Workshop
Location: Viet History Museum, Kelley Park
Goals: Introduction and Welcome to the program, project-based learning objectives, issues brainstorming

2. Saturday, June 26th, 10am-1pm: Refugee Resettlement & History & Uncovering Our Personal Histories with Kim Delevett
Location: Viet History Museum, Kelley Park
Goals: Learn about and contextualize the history of refugees and immigrants in the United States. Equip students with tools to uncover their own personal histories

3. Saturday, July 10th, 10am-1pm: Vietnamese American Community Building with Vu Van Loc
Location: Viet History Museum, Kelley Park
Goals: Historicize Asian American and Vietnamese American community building formation via a tour of the Viet History Museum.

4. Saturday, July 17th, 10am-1pm: Anti-AAPI Hate and Violence | Grassroots Organizing and Advocacy
Location: Viet History Museum, Kelley Park
Goals: Reflect on anti-AAPI hate and violence and its systemic root causes; consider what motivates activist movements and what do allyship, action, and advocacy across our marginalized Asian American communities looks like

5. Saturday, July 24th, 10am-1pm: Professional Development and Financial Literacy Workshop, Career Panel
Location: Viet History Museum, Kelley Park
Goals: Learn from Vietnamese American professionals about how to present and package yourself in the workplace and shape how you envision your financial future.

6. Saturday, July 31st, 10am-1pm: Explorations of Creativity: Art, Expression, and Storytelling
Location: Viet History Museum, Kelley Park
Goals: Considering our “origin stories,” what are ways that we express ourselves through art, and how we advocate through expression to preserve traditions and values through storytelling and creativity

7. Saturday, August 7th, 10am-2pm: SEEDS Summer Showcase
Location: TBA
Goals: Each SEEDS participant will be invited to highlight their culminating project that centers on an issue in their local community. This event will be open to the public, inclusive of the friends and family of the SEEDS students.

Goals: Each SEEDS participant will be invited to highlight their culminating project that centers on an issue in their local community. This event will be open to the public, inclusive of the friends and family of the SEEDS students.

**All session topics and locations are tentative and to be announced; a final program will be sent to all registered participants by Tuesday, June 15th.

**VAR will implement all appropriate measures to follow Santa Clara County Social Distancing Protocol to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All program dates may be held online via Zoom if necessary.

** Students are encouraged, but not required, to attend all sessions, which may be held either in-person or online via Zoom

46th Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon – Virtual Black April Commemoration

April 30, 1975 marks the Fall of Saigon, an event that sparked the mass exodus of Vietnamese refugees from Vietnam and led to the creation of Vietnamese communities around the world. Black April is our flagship event to commemorate this historic moment and honor the sacrifices of those who fled a war-torn nation in search of security, opportunity, and freedom.

Please join us for our annual commemoration, which will be held virtually at 6pm on April 30, 2021. Our program will be streamed from our Facebook page. Please visit our event page for more information.

We have received many messages of support from our local elected officials, and we are grateful for the continued support of our policy makers. We share them here in advance of our program, and to show our appreciation for the uplifting messages of our allies.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Otto Lee
Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo
California Assemblymember Ash Kalra
San Jose Councilmember Sylvia Arenas
California Senator Dave Cortese

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