January 2, 2018
This past year, Vietnamese progressives felt bruised, assaulted, and downright insulted by attacks on our most cherished values and policies. We were defeated in many ways. (See #TaxScam #RefugeeBan #TransgenderMilitary #EndDeportations). Yet, we also triumphed in others (See #MeToo #YesBeeCan #KathyTran #NoRefugeeBanEver). Here are some tips to help you amp up your activism in 2018.
PIVOT Resolution 1: Lean into politics. Vietnamese progressives are poised to become our nation’s greatest political leaders. Growing up, we were told to stay away from politics. The fear and trauma engendered by the Vietnamese government before, during, and after the war continues to haunt Vietnamese communities today. As our community is healing, we realize that we have to be successful politicians to influence systems in our country. Politics is all around us. It is in our office hierarchy. It is in our local school board or Parent Teacher Association (PTA). It is in our right to vote. It is the power we have to donate to the candidate who can advance our policies. Be political. Be powerful. Do something substantial (like give money or labor) to help a 2018 mid-term race. Or dedicate yourself to taking down an entire destructive political agenda, as this now-famous how-to Resistance manual prescribes.
PIVOT Resolution 2: Take it to the streets. With the same passion we show in fighting for honoring our history and human rights in Vietnam, we Vietnamese must show our face in civil actions on domestic issues in the US. The most personal and powerful way to express our political and policy viewpoints is to put our bodies and freedom on the line by demonstrating in public. The issues at stake in Congress and in the White House are just as impactful as issues abroad. During the month of January, join in civil disobedience actions across the country as “DREAMers” push for legislation to regularize their immigration status. These undocumented students (some are Vietnamese!) came to America as youth, and through no fault of their own, do not have the proper papers. Visit weareheretostay.org to plug in to the DREAMer movement.
PIVOT Resolution 3: Know the issues and take a side. The age of #fakenews is over. No one should trust what is in print or on social media on its face. Seek trusted sources of information, news, and policy analysis on the key issues of the day. Read from diverse media outlets in order to get balanced views and different viewpoints. Go to seminars, workshops, and conferences to engage with thought leaders and experts. One complex issue PIVOT members working on involve “crimmigration” issues – especially as they impact the repatriation of Vietnamese to Vietnam. Fight against unjust deportations of Vietnamese and Cambodian individuals, who have already “paid the time for the crime.” To learn more about this topic visit SEARAC's website. Sign on to stop detentions and deportations in Vietnam and Cambodia.
PIVOT Resolution 4: Act in Solidarity and Know What it Means. For us to win on our issues, we need to unite with and collaborate with other groups, communities, and leaders who share the same values and ideals. Solidarity and unity with other communities will make us formidable to the other side. For instance, it makes sense for former Vietnamese refugees to be some of the most outspoken opponents of the proposed refugee ban, that seeks to ban and bar Muslim refugees from our country. For more case studies and tips on solidarity, listen to this incredible podcast “Solidarity Is This” by renowned author, civil rights leader, and Soros Equality Fellow Deepa Iyer.
PIVOT Resolution 5: Indulge in Self-care. Being an effective progressive activist means you will need to keep your individual wellness a high priority. You cannot build a strong progressive movement without completely taking care of yourself. To get daily tips, quotes, and thoughtful ways to ensure you are the strongest activist you can be, check out and “Like” the Revolutionary Self-Care Facebook page. Most of all, be fierce in the fight, yet compassionate with each other.