Since the onset of the recent COVID-19 pandemic and shelter-in-place orders, our team of board members, staff, and volunteers have been re-envisioning our engagement with our multigenerational and multilingual Vietnamese American community at-large. We’ve shifted from holding in-person large-scale community-oriented events to virtually formatted events – particularly our Annual Black April Commemoration, which pays homage to the legacies of the Fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War, our annual Student Engagement for Education Development and Success (SEEDS) Summer program that fosters civic participation and leadership development for youth across Santa Clara County, and our Community Care Corners that aim to educate and spark dialogue about issues on racial and social justice movements. We’ve also revised our approach to providing accurate and relevant bilingual information to our community members regarding COVID-19 pandemic, participation in the 2020 Census, and voter engagement for the 2020 elections cycle through our bi-weekly live radio program VAR on Air.
VAR encouraged participation and conducted bilingual outreach for the 2020 Census in collaboration with other local nonprofit organizations in Santa Clara County to reach our most marginalized and hard-to-count community members to ensure that they were represented in the count.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, VAR mobilized to provide accurate and timely bilingual information regarding free testing sites, economic support programs, and the most up-to-date shelter-in-place order.
VOTER CHOICE ACT
Amidst the storm of false news and misinformation surrounding the 2020 election, VAR was committed to providing accessible, bilingual, factual information for our community members to exercise their right to participate in the elections such as voters’ rights, ballot proposition information, and promoting the 2020 Voters’ Choice Act
VAR is a partner of the Santa Clara County Office of Labor Standards Enforcement. We work in collaboration with OLSE to host trainings to educate and mobilize workers against unlawful labor practices that often hurt our most marginalized and hardworking community members.
VAR on air
VAR on Air is a live bi-weekly virtual program that began in 2020 and is hosted by the Vietnamese American Roundtable, where we cover information about programs and services from government agencies, local organizations, and significant issues our communities face. Topics have included COVID-19 updates in partnership with the County of Santa Clara, encouraging participation in the 2020 Census, and voter information and education for the 2020 elections.
VAR advocates and promotes civil liberty by hosting voter registrations and outreach events, as well as by informing community members on their voter rights and urging them to participate in the political process and elections.
In light of the murder of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and the struggle with Black Americans against racism, injustice, and systemic violence, VAR has hosted a series of Care Corner community check-ins. These Care Corners aim to provide space for dialogue and critical understanding as to how members of the Vietnamese American community, our friends and family, particularly in Santa Clara County, can address misconceptions, misinformation, and multi-generational division with respect to the intertwined legacies that Vietnamese refugees, immigrants, and their children can better understand our shared history and take steps towards allyship and action in solidarity.
Annually since 2013 on April 30th, the Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, known as Black April, VAR hosts a bilingual commemoration event free to attend for all members of the greater Vietnamese community in San Jose. Black April provides a unique opportunity for Vietnamese American families to pay homage to those who have sacrificed so much for the purpose of freedom and to help educate future generations of how their legacies have been marked and changed by the Vietnam War and bridge generations of refugees, immigrants, and their children.
The Student Engagement for Education Development and Success (SEEDS) Summer Program is an annual program that targets Vietnamese, Southeast Asian, and Asian American at-risk youth between the ages of 14-24 in Santa Clara County. The SEEDS Program aims to train and grow future community leaders who can address community issues through hands-on programmatic experience that tie critical socio-historical issues to local community issues to the identification and development of potential sustainable solutions and effective strategic advocacy.