Interested in sharing your opinions about progressive politics? Want to highlight the great work of local community groups and individuals? Then join our blog team. Send us an email and we can sign you up. apafp AT apaforprogress DOT org.
This post was a collaboration between myself and our APAP Blog Editor and Board Member, Calvin Prashad.
Minh “Johnny” Nguyen breaks down divisions in communities and works with Vietnamese youth in New Orleans. This Unsung Hero is the founder of the Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association of New Orleans (VAYLA-NO), which advocates for the needs of Vietnamese youth and their communities. Minh was selected as one of our Unsung Heroes for his critical leadership in organizing youth in the Gulf Coast and mobilizing around the BP oil spill disaster.
VAYLA educated youth about the environmental impact of the oil spill along the Gulf Coast and its possible long-term effects. These youth were then mobilized to become the voices of the families most impacted in the disaster. VAYLA ran a Summer Training Institute educating youth on oppression issues such as a racism and classism and mobilizing them with tools to address those issues through community organizing, campaign development and advocacy. They produced a 10 minute documentary: “Breaking Through the Waves: Unheard Voices from the Gulf.”
VAYLA was one of the key organizations addressing issues of language access, health, jobs, and debt within the community. VAYLA was able to interview and collect over 100 needs assessments from community members. Across the Gulf Coast region, VAYLA organized multiple focus groups in 13 different cities in 3 states to facilitate a discussion to develop possible solutions to address long-term implications from the oil spill disaster. They were also able to arrange public meetings among members of the community with leaders and public officials on the local and national levels including the White House Initiative on AAPIs and several Congressional leaders.
Minh has dedicated his life to giving voice to the Asian American community in the Gulf Coast region. His long-term advocacy and organizing efforts have invigorated the political energy of the Vietnamese youth in New Orleans to unite, fight, and protect their communities from government-inflicted environmental injustices, such as negligible flood protections planning, water contamination, and the conversion of their largely African American and Vietnamese American community into a toxic dumpsite.
Clearly, Minh is a vaunted pillar of the Vietnamese youth community in New Orleans and one of many Unsung Heroes.
Join Minh as he raises funds for the Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association of New Orleans (VAYLA-NO).
This post is part of APAP's 2011 Unsung Heroes Project. Each blog post of our Unsung Heroes & Honorable Mentions features a personalized page for donations in our March Madness Fundraising Competition. Donations made on this page will not be tax deductible. The fundraising page that collects the highest total donations by April 1st will receive an additional prize from APAP.
APAP is a national network of progressive Asian Americans and allies. We count on the support of our members and friends to continue our work of advancing progressive ideas. Please consider joining today.
Membership is just $20 per year and members receive discounts to events and merchandise.