Tuesday, May 15, 2018

SB 895 - Establish a Vietnamese-American Refugee Experience Curriculum in School







About 300  Vietnamese-Americans showed up in Sacramento for the State Senate hearing on the SB 895 sponsored by State Senator Janet Nguyen and co-author by Assembly Member Ash Kalra.  

This bill would require the commission to develop and submit to the state board, on or before December 31, 2022, and the state board to adopt, modify, or revise, on or before March 31,2023, a model curriculum relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, as specified, for use in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. The bill would encourage a school district, charter school, or county office of education that maintains any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, that does not otherwise offer a standards-based Vietnamese American studies curriculum relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, Vietnamese boat people, and the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, to offer a course of study based on the model curriculum. 




CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

SENATE BILLNo. 895


Introduced by Senator Nguyen
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Kalra)

January 12, 2018


An act to add Section 51207 to the Education Code, relating to pupil instruction.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 895, as amended, Nguyen. Pupil instruction: Vietnamese American refugee experience: model curriculum.

Existing law requires the adopted course of study for grades 7 to 12, inclusive, to include, among other subjects, the social sciences. Existing law encourages instruction in the area of social sciences that may include instruction on the Vietnam War, including a component drawn from personal testimony of Southeast Asians who were involved in the Vietnam War and men and women who contributed to the war effort on the homefront, as specified. Existing law requires the State Board of Education, with the assistance of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, to establish a list of textbooks and other instructional materials that highlight the contributions of minorities in the development of California and the United States. Existing law establishes the Instructional Quality Commission and requires the commission to, among other things, recommend curriculum frameworks to the state board.
This bill would require the commission to develop and submit to the state board, on or before December 31, 2020, 2022, and the state board to adopt, modify, or revise, on or before March 31, 2021, 2023, a model curriculum relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, as specified, for use in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. The bill would encourage a school district, charter school, or county office of education that maintains any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, that does not otherwise offer a standards-based Vietnamese American studies curriculum relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, Vietnamese boat people, and the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, to offer a course of study based on the model curriculum. The bill would require the model curriculum to be developed with participation from specified entities, including, among others, Vietnamese American refugees and Vietnamese American cultural centers and community groups located in California. The bill would provide that implementation of its provisions is subject to the receipt of grants, donations, or other financial support from private or public sources for its purposes, including, but not limited to, an appropriation in the annual Budget Act or another statute.

Vote: majority   Appropriation: no   Fiscal Committee: yes   Local Program: no  

BILL TEXT


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The State of California is committed to providing excellent educational opportunities to all of its pupils.
(b) There are 92 languages other than English spoken throughout the state, with the primary languages being Arabic, Armenian, Cantonese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
(c) There is a growing body of academic research that shows the importance of culturally meaningful and relevant curriculum.
(d) The state’s educational standards should be guided by core values of equity, inclusiveness, and universally high expectations.
(e) The state is committed to its obligation to ensure its youth are college prepared and career ready, while graduating 100 percent of its pupils.
(f) The implementation of various culturally relevant courses within California’s curriculum that are A–G approved, with the objective of preparing all pupils to be global citizens with an appreciation for the contributions of multiple cultures, will close the achievement gap, reduce pupil truancy, increase pupil enrollment, reduce dropout rates, and increase graduation rates.
(g) For the past 40 years, Vietnamese American refugees have enriched the social, cultural, and economic landscape of California and have achieved success in many professional fields, including business, politics, law, science, education, literature, journalism, sports, and entertainment.
(h) The state encourages the participation of pupils, community members, and members of California Vietnamese American communities in the development of a model curriculum that recognizes the importance of survivors, rescuers, and liberators of the Vietnam War, including Vietnamese-American Vietnamese American refugees, Vietnamese boat people, and members of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces.
(i) The state currently encourages the incorporation of survivor, rescuer, liberator, and witness oral testimony into the teaching of human rights, the Holocaust, and genocide, including the Armenian, Cambodian, Darfur, and Rwandan genocides.
(j) Currently, the instructional resources available for use in California public schools do not include sufficient oral testimony from survivors, rescuers, and liberators of the Vietnam War, including Vietnamese American refugees, Vietnamese boat people, and members of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces in the United States and especially in California.
(k) The state acknowledges the need to elevate tragic personal stories like those of the Vietnamese boat people who, after the fall of Saigon in 1975, risked their lives escaping communism only to spend weeks or months at sea battling storms, diseases, starvation, and pirates.
(l) The state acknowledges the importance of the history and experience of the more than 250,000 members of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces who were sent to reeducation camps after the fall of Saigon, where many spent up to 17 years in captivity and more than 20,000 died before they were released.
(m) The state acknowledges that oral histories can help pupils better relate to and understand different perspectives in curriculum by providing first-person accounts from individuals who have experienced some of the most tragic times in international history, helping the subject become more than statistics on a page.
(n) The County of Orange, along with the City of San Jose, are home to the largest Vietnamese populations outside of Vietnam.
(o) It is in the best interest of all people and the future of this state to ensure that each school district, charter school, and county office of education has access to a model curriculum and culturally accurate instructional materials relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, including the experiences of the Vietnamese boat people and the members of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces.

SEC. 2.

 Section 51207 is added to the Education Code, to read:
51207.
 (a) The Instructional Quality Commission shall develop, and the state board shall adopt, modify, or revise, a model curriculum relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, that began with the fall of Saigon in 1975, including oral testimony of survivors, rescuers, and liberators of the Vietnam War, including Vietnamese-American Vietnamese American refugees, Vietnamese boat people, and members of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, to ensure quality standards and materials for this area of study. The model curriculum shall be developed with participation from Vietnamese American cultural centers and community groups located in California, survivors, rescuers, and liberators of the Vietnam War, Vietnamese American refugees, and a group of representatives of local educational agencies, a majority of which are kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, and teachers who have relevant experience or education backgrounds in the study and teaching of Vietnamese American history. The model curriculum developed pursuant to this subdivision shall include curriculum appropriate for use in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools.
(b) The model curriculum shall be written as a guide to allow school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education to adapt their related courses to best meet the educational needs of their communities. The model curriculum developed for use in high schools shall include examples of courses offered by local educational agencies that have been approved as meeting the A–G admissions requirements of the University of California and the California State University, including, to the extent possible, course outlines for those courses.
(c) When teaching about the Vietnam War and the postwar period, the Legislature encourages the incorporation of writings that represent all perspectives of the refugee experience, including oral testimony by survivors, rescuers, and liberators of the Vietnam War, and Vietnamese refugees.
(d) The model curriculum shall include discussion of the Vietnamese boat people and members of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, the reasons behind the exodus, the hardships faced by the Vietnamese people attempting to flee who were apprehended by the communist government, and the conditions that led to the resettlement of Vietnamese people in America.
(e) On or before December 31, 2020, 2022, the Instructional Quality Commission shall submit the model curriculum to the state board, and the state board shall adopt, modify, or revise the model curriculum on or before March 31, 2021. 2023.
(f) The Instructional Quality Commission shall provide a minimum of 45 days for public comment before submitting the model curriculum to the state board.
(g) Beginning in the school year following the adoption of the model curriculum pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (e), each school district, charter school, or county office of education maintaining any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, that does not otherwise offer standards-based Vietnamese American studies curriculum relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, Vietnamese boat people, and the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, is encouraged to offer to pupils a course of study relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience based on the model curriculum. A school district, charter school, or county office of education that serves pupils in any of grades 7 to 12, inclusive, that elects to offer a course of study in the Vietnamese American refugee experience pursuant to this subdivision, shall offer the course as an elective in the social sciences or world history and shall make the course available in at least one year during a pupil’s enrollment in grades 7 to 12, inclusive.
(h) It is the intent of the Legislature that local educational agencies that maintain high schools submit course outlines for studies relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience for approval as A-G A–G courses.
(i) For purposes of this section, “oral testimony” means the firsthand accounts of significant historical events presented in a format that includes, but is not limited to, in-person testimony, video, or a multimedia option, such as a DVD or an online video.
(j) The implementation of this section is subject to the receipt of grants, donations, or other financial support from private or public sources for its purposes, including, but not limited to, an appropriation in the annual Budget Act or another statute.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Once Again, Ao Dai Festival in San Jose, May 12







This will the 6th Ao Dai Festival in San Jose.  This elaborated biannual tradition was started 12 years ago by San Jose long time legal maven, Jenny Do.

The cultural extravaganza is on May 12 at Fairmont Hotel.

www.aodaifestival.com

Free Outdoor Opening Ceremony – Come early to get good view of the spectacular event
4:00 pm San Jose City Hall, 200 East Santa Clara, San Jose, CA
4:30pm Circle of Palm, 127 S Market St, San Jose, CA (in front of the San Jose Art Museum)
4:00 pm- For everyone wearing Áo Dài, walk procession from San Jose City Hall to Circle of Palm.  The public is welcomed to join us.
4:30pm Outdoor Opening Ceremony presenting SJMA’s Ao Dai: Weaving Community (free), Circle of Palm, 127 S Market St. San Jose, CA
Be a guest at our outdoor opening ceremony, a presentation of colors, sound, and opulence. Stilt walkers, drummers, and models in colorful Áo Dài will adorn the Circle of Palms next to Fairmont Hotel.  San Jose Art Museum will also present an Áo Dài woven by the community.  The children of Vietnam will invite Mother Âu Cơ (the mother of Vietnam) to Ao Dai Festival’s home to bless all participants.  This portion is open to the public.



5:30pm Evening Event/Program (Ticket Required)
Fairmont Hotel Foyer (second floor), 170 S Market St, San Jose, Ca 95113
5:30 PM Cocktail Hour: Music, gourmet wine, hors d’oeuvres, and meeting the all the artists/designers. You will be welcomed to an elaborately decorated reception hall featuring the three regions of Vietnam.  You will hear the sexy sounds of saxophone and monochord.  Witness a calligraphy artist and his brush create a unique experience for our guests.  You will feel all that makes up the Fabric of Silicon Valley.
5:35 PM Ao Dai Calligraphy
5:45 PM Fabric of Silicon Valley presented by Chopsticks Alley Art. Presenting traditional outfits from different ethnicities.
 6:30 PM  Evening Show & Dinner.  Enjoy our dinner show extravaganza inside the Fairmont Hotel Imperial Ballroom.  This year’s theme title is Confluence of the Rivers (Hội Trùng Dương), promising attendants an evening to remember.
9:00 PM – 11:00 PM EVENING DANCING. Our celebration continues after the show.  Join us and dance to the depth of joy, and to celebrate another Ao Dai Festival anniversary.




Friday, December 22, 2017

Hiep Thi Le, Actress and Restaurateur, Dies of Cancer at 46


Actress, Hiep thi Le, who starred in Oliver Stone's third movie in his Vietnam war trilogy, passed away three days ago due to complications from stomach cancer.  Le is survived by her husband, two children and six siblings.

She was born in Da Nang in 1971 and came to America as boat people in 1979.  Her family settled in Oakland.  She went to UC Davis with a dream of going to medical school.

As a college student, she went to an open casting call in Northern California.  "...I don't know how I got here ... My cousin heard about these auditions for a movie, and I just went with a friend to see what it was about. They kept calling me back", she explained. 

Le was selected out of  16,000 Viet-Americans seen by casting scouts for Oliver Stone's  Heaven & Earth.  She was chosen for the starring role of portraying Le Ly Hayslip.   In the film, she played a woman who ages from 13 to 38, who became an abused housewife, mother and successful businesswoman in the United States.


Following Heaven & Earth, for which she received critical acclaim, Le would have roles in the movies Cruel Intentions and Green Dragon as well as minor acting roles  in television shows.

She also made a career as a chef and restaurateur.   She was the co-owner of  the popular Le Cellier, a French-Vitenamese restaurant in Marina Del Rey, just south of Venice Beach, California.

Bill Gates and " The Sympathizer"

This is taken from the blog of Bill Gates and his book review. Gates often says that he tries to read one book per week
https://www.gatesnotes.com

A fresh take on the Vietnam War

I didn’t know what to expect the first time I visited Vietnam.
Although I’m a bit too young to have worried about my draft number, the Vietnam War cast a long shadow over my youth. Like many people of my generation, my view of the conflict was influenced by violent, American-centric movies like The Deer Hunter. So I was unsure when I found myself on a plane to Hanoi in 2006. Many of the people I was scheduled to meet with lived through the war. Would they resent me for being American?
The answer was, to my relief, a resounding no. Everyone I talked to was warm and welcoming. You would have never known our countries were at war just decades earlier. But the visit made me realize how little I had seen or read about the Vietnamese perspective on the war.
In the years since that trip, I’ve tried to learn more about the Vietnamese experience. Most recently, I picked up The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen. I don’t usually reach for historical fiction, but when a good friend recommended it, I picked up a copy—and I’m glad I did.
The Sympathizer’s narrator—we never learn his name—is a communist double agent embedded with the South Vietnamese Army and their American allies. After he’s air-lifted out of the country during the fall of Saigon, he ends up in California spying on his fellow refugees and sending reports written in invisible ink to his handler back in Vietnam.
The story we’re reading is the narrator’s confession, which he is forced to write while held in a North Vietnamese reeducation camp. Much to the chagrin of the camp’s commandant, this confession makes it clear that the narrator is not a true believer in their cause. Instead, he “sympathizes” with people on both sides of the conflict.
For a novel that’s been met with such commercial success and critical acclaim (it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction last year, and Nguyen recently received a MacArthur genius grant), it is surprisingly bleak. Nguyen doesn’t shy away from how traumatic the Vietnam War was for everyone involved. Nor does he pass judgment about where his narrator’s loyalties should lie. Most war stories are clear about which side you should root for—The Sympathizer doesn’t let the reader off the hook so easily.    
More than 40 years later, many Americans still grapple with the big questions surrounding the Vietnam War: should we have gotten involved? Did our political and military leaders know what they were doing? Did they understand what the human cost of the war would be? (If you’re interested in reading more about this debate, I recommend H.R. McMaster’s excellent book Dereliction of Duty.)
Nguyen largely ignores these questions and instead tackles the role of individual morality in a time of war. The narrator commits horrible acts on behalf of the North Vietnamese government he serves and the refugee community he’s spying on. He plays both sides to survive. In the end, his lack of conviction makes him the most immoral character of all.
Despite how dark it is, The Sympathizer is still a fast-paced, entertaining read. I liked one particularly memorable section where the protagonist meets a famous Hollywood director and becomes a consultant for the Vietnam War epic he’s working on called The Hamlet. His attempts to bring the Vietnamese perspective into the film are thwarted at every turn by the director, who eventually grows so sick of the narrator that he may have tried to kill him with a stunt explosion gone wrong (the book doesn’t make it clear whether he did or not). If you’re a movie buff, you’ll notice that The Hamlet bears more than a passing resemblance to Apocalypse Now.
In an interview with NPR last year, Nguyen shared the story of the first time he saw Francis Ford Coppola’s classic film. He described watching a scene where American soldiers kill Vietnamese people as “the symbolic moment of my understanding that this was our place in an American war, that the Vietnam War was an American war from the American perspective and that, eventually, I would have to do something about that.” The Sympathizer offers a much-needed Vietnamese perspective on the war. I’m glad that it’s experienced such mainstream success, and I hope to read more books like it in the future. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Mai Khanh Tran for US Congress


Going up against a 12-term California GOP Rep. Ed Royce is a tough battle for anyone not alone a political novice.   But a Magna Cum Laude Harvard graduate and a Wall Street analyst-turned medical doctor,  Mai Khanh Tran is taking on a challenge.

The district covers northern Orange County, eastern LA County and part of San Bernardino County (including cities like Diamond Bar, Chino Hills, Fullerton and Yorba Linda).  Ethnic diversity is becoming a reality for this once Republican bastion with 50% of the population is Latinos and Asians. Royce's district has a 1.7% point Republican edge in voter registration.

Ed Royce is an active politician and has built a strong relationship with his ethnic voters and he is considered to be one of the more effective lawmakers in the US Congress.

 Tran's main reason to against him so far is his close tie to Donald Trump and his voting against the  national health care that will result in about  25 millions American without health insurance coverage.

Running in an expensive media market against a well known incumbent who has a war chest of over $3 million, Tran will have a difficult time unless she can make a strong case for herself or Donald Trump implodes catastrophically and rile up the Democratic voting bloc.




Friday, June 16, 2017

19-6, Vietnamese National Armed Forces Day Honor

This is a resolution passed recently by the California State Senate to honor Vietnamese soldiers and their contribution in the war against the communist.    Before the Fall of South Vietnam in 1975, June 19 was the Vietnamese National Armed Forces Day to honor the soldiers and their service to South Vietnam.

Only the Vietnamese version was released from the Office of State Senator Janet Nguyen. 
  


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Diana Moreno
June 15, 2017 (714) 741-1034

 Thưng Ngh  Janet Nguyễn  Thượng Vin Tiểu Bang California vinh
danh Cu Quân Nhân VNCH
(Garden Grove, CA)  Trong tinh thần tri ơn đối với nhng s hy sinh ca các cu chiến sĩ VNCH, Thưng Ngh Sĩ Janet Nguyn xin trân trọng thông báo Thưng Viện Tiểu Bang California vừa thông qua Nghị Luật SCR 61. Nghị Luật này do Thưng Nghị  Janet Nguyễn  tác giả để vinh danh  k niệm Ngày 19, Tháng Sáu là Ngày Quân Lực VNCH, trong Tiểu Bang California.

“Sự chn lựa đc biệ
này là đ tỏ lòng kính trọng  ghi ơn các Cựu Quân Nhân VNCH đã chiến đu can đảm cùng với các Chiến sĩ Hoa K đ bảo vệ T Do  Dân Ch cho ngưi dân
trong cuộc chiến Việt Nam,” Thưng Nghị  Janet Nguyễn phát biểu.   

“Tôi rt hân hạnh  đưc sự ng h của các đồng viện tại Thưng Viện trong vic thông qua ngh lut này đ vinh danh
Ngày 19, Tháng Sáu là ngày mà toàn thể cư dân California ng nhớ đến những đóng góp và hy sinh của các quân nhân rất đáng đưc vinh danh này.”

Trong cuc chiến Vit Nam, quân đội Hoa K  VNCH đã cùng chiến đu bên nhau để đánh bại các lc lưng Cng Sản. Trong c gắng clực lưng đồng minh này, khoảng 58,000 chiến sĩ Hoa K  250,000 chiếnsĩ VNCH đã hy sinh

Hơn 300,000 quân nhân Hoa K  hơn 1 triệu quân nhân VNCH cũng b thương trong lúc chiến đấu đ bảo vệ nn T do Dân ch cho miềNam Vit Nam.

Sau khi SàiGòn b rơi vào tay Cng Sản, hàng ngàn cu chiến sĩ VNCH đã đuợc đnh cư trên đất nưc Hoa K t do yRiêng tại Tiểu Bang California có khoảng 100,000 cựu chiến sĩ VNCH.

Ngày nay, nhng cu quân nhân này là thành viên hoạt động tích cực của các tổ chức cựu chiến sĩ khắp Tiểu Bang California.

“Ngoài nhng cng hiến trên chiến trưng, Cựu Quân Nhân VNCH đã sát cánh cùng với các cựu chiến sĩ đồng minh Hoa K để bảo v  ng h các mđích ca cu chiến binh trong Tiểu Bang California,” Thưng Ngh Sĩ Janet Nguyễn phát biểu. 

Với nghị luật này, chúng ta không ch vinh danh s hy sinh  dn thân ca nhng quân nhân dũng cảm,  đây còn  mt cơ hội để thế h mai sau hiểu đưc ảnh ng tốt đp của việc phục vụ quân sự  cuộc chiến Việt Nam.”

Với ngh lut này, Thưng Ngh  Janet Nguyn cũng mun bày t sự kính trng  tri ơn đối vcác chiến sĩ đã hy sinh, cũng như các nạn nhân trong cuộc chiến Việt Nam. 
Sau khi đưThưng Vin thông qua, Ngh QuyếSCR 61 s đưc chuyn sang H Viện để biu quyết.
                                                                  # # #




SB 895 - Establish a Vietnamese-American Refugee Experience Curriculum in School

About 300  Vietnamese-Americans showed up in Sacramento for the State Senate hearing on the SB 895 sponsored by State Senator ...