Vietnamese Student Union » November 2012

Monthly Archives: November 2012

2012-2013 Email Updates

VSU Press Release: In Response to Hate Crime in Front of the VSU Office

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womyn

For Immediate Release*

On November 27th, 2012 at approximately 8:30 AM, a piece of white paper was found posted on the sign of the Vietnamese Student Union’s (VSU) office on the fourth floor of Kerckhoff Hall. This vandalism, which included an illustration of an obscene hand gesture, read “asian women R Honkie white-boy worshipping Whores!!!” VSU is disappointed and offended that such racial and sexist comments are being made on a campus that prides itself on its diversity. It is truly upsetting that this is not simply an act of ignorance, but intolerance towards our organization. The fact that someone took the time to create, print, and post this hate crime in front of our office proves that this act is deliberate and intentional. This is not just an attack on our organization, but also an attack on the bigger API community and womyn*, especially of color.

The incident carries several implications for society’s view of Asian womyn. By categorizing Asian womyn as “whores”, the perpetrator of this incident further promotes stereotypes of hypersexuality and objectification. This message conveys the image of Asian women as mere sex objects rather than human beings and rejects their personal identity. Moreover, it reinforces the idea that Asian women have an innate attraction towards whites to the point of submissive reverence. This belief creates division within our community and across communities by portraying White males as the dominant group. Asian males who have become socialized to feel foreign or inferior to Whites can feel sexually threatened by White males and express contempt towards their female counterparts. This message breeds divisiveness and seeks to undo the work of many people of color and allies.
As the official voice for all Vietnamese students at UCLA, VSU is against the objectification of womyn. Events and issues such as pageants and human trafficking only perpetuate such notions, and VSU has made strong stances against them. The racist and sexist slurs within the front of our office only proves that we as an organization must continue to promote diversity and advocate for the needs of our community. Each year, VSU hosts its annual Vietnamese Culture Night (VCN) in Royce Hall to promote and share Vietnamese and Vietnamese-American culture with thousands of UCLA students, family, and alumni. Events like this aim to increase the presence of our community not only at UCLA, but as contributing members of our society, and combat stereotypes and ignorance demonstrated by the incident mentioned. It is especially relevant that the comments posted outside our office occur just months before our 33rd annual VCN, which will seek to address the issue of human trafficking and challenge the perceptions of Vietnamese and Asian womyn.

Although there is no quick fix solution to the incident that has transpired, we want to ensure that it will not go unnoticed. We feel the most effective action that will begin addressing this issue is to first generate awareness. Awareness alone brings light to this issue and opens opportunities for critical dialogue and potential action. This will come in the form of an awareness event held by the Vietnamese Student Union on Thursday November 29th, 2012 at noon at Meyerhoff Park in front of Kerckhoff Hall. To effectively gauge the demographic affected by this incident, this event allows prominent student leaders and UCLA faculty to demonstrate that our community is not silent and any further ideations of such actions are not tolerated. To further branch out to the demographic and allies of our cause, the Asian Pacific Coalition at UCLA will open a discussion forum Wednesday December 5th, 2012 at a time and location to be announced. Not only will this event promote awareness but also give some peace of mind to individuals who feel unresolved about the issue.

Respectfully,
The Vietnamese Student Union at UCLA

 

2012-2013 Email Updates

VSU Fall Week 9 Updates and Announcements

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white elephant

Happy Week 9!

It’s the holiday season and what better way to celebrate than to come out to our holiday-themed events? Have some fun with VSU before winter break!


VSU Week 9 GM and White Elephant

Where: Ackerman 2408

When: Wednesday, November 28th, 6:00PM – 8:00PM

It’s that time of year again! The weather is getting (relatively) cold and KOST 103.5 is playing Christmas music again. Too bad we’ll all be home for winter break–Luckily VSU will be celebrating the holidays a little early with this week’s General Meeting!

Relax, see some familiar faces, and bring a wrapped gift (5 dollars or less) and participate in our White Elephant gift exchange before finals start!

Remember to bring a gift! You don’t want to be left out!

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/515764448448934/


SEA CLEAR Wellshop #3: Got Stress?

Where: ROTC 120P

When: Tuesday, November 27th, 6:00PM – 7:30PM

Got stress?
Need help studying for finals?
Want a fun study break?

Come out and join us for a stress relieving and relaxing workshop on Tuesday November 27th in ROTC 120P from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm.

※FREE massages and refreshments

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/172206886257044/


SEA CLEAR Christmas Event: ‘Tis the Season

Where: SAC Basement 3

When: Friday, November 30th, 5:00PM – 8:00PM

SEA CLEAR’s first ever Christmas event — you don’t want to miss it!

Hot Cocoa? Gingerbread men? Candy Canes? White Elephant? More Hot Cocoa? It’s pretty obvious that ‘Tis the SEAson > studying for finals. Come get your Christmas coziness on with SEA CLEAR Mentorship!

Bring your mentor/mentee and earn points!!

But, BESIDES bringing your lovely mentor or mentee, also bring:

  • Food or drinks for our Christmas potluck! SIGN UPS will be sent out shortly (no one wants just four gallons of hot cocoa)
    EXTRA POINTS WILL BE REWARDED TO PAIRS WHO BRING FOOD/DRINKS for our potluck!
  • A 5$ value present to participate in our White Elephant Gift Exchange! There will be a give-to-take policy: you MUST bring a present to take one. ***Gifts MUST be: Roughly $5 in value || Gender neutral || Wrapped up! || PG-13, please***

AFTER ‘Tis the SEAson, there will be a Christmas Movie Night from 7 to 10 PM in the SAC LOUNGE. Bundle up in some SEA CLEAR Christmas love with us. 🙂 The movie will be revealed at the event!

Take a break from finals studying and join SEA CLEAR Mentorship at ‘Tis the SEASon!
You won’t want to miss it.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/167989096679661/

2012-2013 Email Updates

Undocumented & Unafraid Book Launch at UCLA

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The Vietnamese Student Union (VSU) is proud to be a co-sponsor with the UCLA Labor Center’s Dream Resource Center, UCLA students and other organizations in launching Undocumented and Unafraid: Tam Tran, Cinthya Felix, and the Immigrant Youth Movement. The book launch will be held in the California Room at the UCLA Faculty Center from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM on November 26, 2012.

This book is a tribute to the lives and work of two UCLA alumnae, Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix, who both passed in a tragic car accident. They were both strong advocates and leaders for the immigration youth rights movement.  As you may recall, VSU showcased the story of Tam Tran during our 2011 Vietnamese Culture “Còn nước, còn tát: Still We Rise”. For those who missed it, the story was based on the true trials and tribulations of the Tran family, demonstrating the resilience of Vietnamese people. Following the Vietnam War, the family fled Vietnam and found refuge in Germany before settling in the United States. After more than a decade of rebuilding their lives in America, the family risked losing everything when the government threatened to deport them for being undocumented. The book expands on Tam’s story, and focuses specifically on her work with the immigrant rights movement. Tam has publicly talked about the Dream Act, screened her films, made presentations before several national conventions and conferences, and testified before the US Congressional Immigration Subcommittee.

When speaking on issues of immigration, many tend to forget about undocumented youth, many of them immigrated here when they were only children with their parents hoping to find a better life in the United States. These children grow up thinking they were American, not knowing they were here illegally until they are faced with the reality that they are unable to acquire drivers’ licenses like their peers in school. Without proper documentation, they can’t legally work, obtain financial aid, or even go to the movie theaters. They constantly fear deportation and they are afraid to speak up. They have to work under the table because they lack a social security number.  It is immoral for us to send undocumented youths and students back to a country they never grew up in. Like Tam, she was only six years old when the Tran family came to the United States. The Tran family applied for political asylum, but was denied because they had emigrated from Germany rather than directly from Vietnam. The family received a withholding of deportation exemption, but no pathway was available to legal residency or US citizenship. An excerpt from the book:

“Tam was Vietnamese, but she had never been to Vietnam and was not a Vietnamese citizen. She was born in Germany, but Germany does not grant citizenship based on birthright. And although Tam spent more than twenty years in the United States, the American government refused to grant her legal status. So she was not only undocumented but also stateless, trapped in a disgraceful immigration morass” (4-5).

Undocumented youth cannot simply gain documentation by completing the U.S. citizenship test. The broken immigration system prevents folks from migrating to the United States, with the waitlist as long as ten years to be allowed citizenship or access into the country. It is a difficult process to gain legal status, and applying for citizenship varies on case-by-case bases, and it is deemed impossible for many families.

The undocumented youth experience is still a real struggle for many undocumented youth especially for the Asian Pacific Islander Community. There is a misconception that this is mainly a Latina/o issue, but many API youth are faced with the undocumented experience. Silence is common among the API community, because of the sociocultural practice of being silent in fear of being harmed. Tam showed that “her courage to speak up on behalf of other students demonstrates that silence is a habit that can be broken” (49). Tam has spoken in front of US Congressional Immigration Subcommittee and advocated for the Federal DREAM Act, which would have allowed undocumented youth a chance to gain citizenship. Three days later, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents raided her family’s home and took the Tran family into custody. They were release and avoided  deportation with the help of members in Congress and immigration attorneys.

Today, the immigrant youth movement has been building momentum throughout the country and has made significant progress in advocating for undocumented youth, but the legislative obstacles and trials undocumented youth have to face are still daunting and a harsh reality today. In 2010, the DREAM Act passed in the House of Representatives, but failed to pass in the senate. However, in 2012, the Obama’s administration announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) plan. DACA would stop the deportation of undocumented youth who match the certain criteria previously proposed under the Dream Act. DACA prevents deportation for a period of two years and allows them to be legally employed. The United States are taking steps in the right direction; we now must push for a gateway for undocumented students to gain citizenship.

We recommend you to grab a copy of the book for yourself, your friends and family at the book launch. Please visit: http://www.undocumentedunafraid.com to find out more  about the book. On the website you can learn about other book tours and order online a copy of the book. The Federal Dream Act can become a possible reality for undocumented students if we bring awareness to the issue and we speak up for them.

 

Roman Nguyen

VSU President