6.23.20 VietRISE Public Comment Support Letter: GGHS Black Student Union Petition Demands, Affirmative Action to Garden Grove City Council

To view the PDF, click here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020 
Mayor Jones and Councilmembers of Garden Grove
11222 Acacia Pkwy
Garden Grove, CA 92840 

RE: Garden Grove Needs to Reallocate Funding from Police to Invest in Local Communities, and Support Affirmative Action

Dear Mayor Steve Jones and Councilmembers of Garden Grove, 

VietRISE unequivocally supports the Garden Grove High School Black Student Union’s call to reallocate $30 million of Garden Grove’s police budget to support local businesses, low income families, health services, housing and education.  We urge the city to proactively enact policy to make Black communities and all marginalized communities in Garden Grove feel safer by defunding the police department’s current funding allocation in the proposed 2020-2021 FY budget and reallocating it to other community services that will directly benefit and improve the lives of residents. 

Our organization is committed to dismantling systems of white supremacy and ending the criminalization of immigrants. Local policing and law enforcement are often the first point of contact where immigrants are sent to the prison-to-deportation pipeline, and Black immigrants constitute 20% of those facing deportation despite making up only 7% of non-citizens in the U.S., according to the State of Black Immigrants report. Garden Grove police has its own history of harming residents, through racial profiling, aggressive and violent practices, and abuse of power through city-funded equipment and technology.

In order for our communities to feel safe and restore public trust in government, the city must take action to codify protections for the wellbeing of their residents. Currently, the city of Garden Grove faces a budget deficit while residents continue to experience health and economic hardship due to COVID-19. According to the GGHS BSU’s petition

“Each year, the city of Garden Grove continues to increase its spending on the police budget by millions, while decreasing the money directly spent on community services. Over a two-year period of increased funding, the Garden Grove police’s use of force incidentally increased by an unacceptable 250%. The city has already projected a budget deficit of $5.2 million for FY 2020-21. During this period of financial uncertainty, we cannot provide more funds to the police department when small businesses and families are vulnerable.”

GGHS BSU’s petition

Defunding the police department and reinvesting money into community services is one of many steps that local elected officials should take to address systemic violence against Black communities. This is an opportunity for Garden Grove to be part of that change. We urge you to agendize the immediate revision of the Community Services and Community and Economic Development budget to absorb funds from the Police Department budget to reinvest in our communities through education, health, housing, and small business services for the 2020-2021 FY budget. 

Lastly, on the topic of affirmative action: according to disaggregated data provided by Asian Americans Advancing Justice in their Southeast Asian American Journeys Report (2020), Vietnamese students and families would benefit greatly from affirmative action. 43% of Vietnamese residents in California have a high school diploma, 30% have a BA or higher, 20% are low-income and/or experiencing poverty, and 50% have limited-English proficiency, the highest in the state of CA. Furthermore, the passage of Proposition 209 in 1996 harmed women and communities of color the most for the past two decades. For example, Black and Latino students admitted to the University of California decreased between 12 and 60 percent since it passed, and women in California make on average 80 cents for every dollar a man is paid; for women of color and single moms, that amount decreases to 60 cents per dollar. 

Not only will affirmative action benefit Vietnamese students and families, it will benefit and help improve the lives of Black, Latino, Indigenous, and other Southeast Asian communities by preventing discrimination and ensuring quality of opportunity in California. Therefore, as Vietnamese community members we also urge you to support affirmative action across the state.

PRESS RELEASE: 406 Residents, 19 Orange County Organizations, Call on Garden Grove to Pass Ordinance Banning Evictions and Met with Silence by City Council

View the PDF at this link here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Contact: Tracy La, tracy@vietrise.org

In Letters to City Council, 406 Residents, 19 Orange County Organizations, Call on Garden Grove to Pass Ordinance Banning Evictions and Met with Silence by City Council

Following the evictions of 10 Vietnamese and immigrant-owned businesses in April during COVID-19 in Garden Grove, the businesses and workers partnered with community organizations and residents to launch a petition calling on the Garden Grove City Council to ban all evictions during COVID-19. As of Wednesday morning, the petition had 406 signatures, including other small business owners and elected officials, as well as 19 community organizations and non-profit agencies that signed on the call to action.

On Tuesday evening, over 55 public comments were sent in by residents and community organizations to the city council to take action to ban evictions. However, only 19 comments were received by the Garden Grove City Council during their official meeting, and none of the comments sent in by residents were read out loud. In addition to the call to ban evictions, residents are concerned by their ability to be able to publicly address the Council, given the council’s decision to cancel all in-person meetings. In a virtual era of governance forced upon residents by COVID-19, residents are questioning their accessibility to their own local government and whether or not their voices and concerns will be heard by the City Council.

As of Wednesday morning, there has been no official response from the City Council to the public about whether or not the City will consider agendizing an ordinance to ban evictions. Meanwhile, the 10 evicted businesses have been forced to relocate to other sites in cities across Orange County, and some are still struggling to find permanent lots to protect and run their businesses.

The residents will continue to engage City Council and are encouraging residents to continue signing onto the petition to ban evictions in Garden Grove. The number of signatures on the petition and the full petition can be found at this link: bit.ly/stopevictionsingg.


Press Release: Cultural Festival in Little Saigon to Celebrate Sanctuary for Immigrants and Refugees

For Immediate Release
PDF Version Here
Sunday, October 20th, 2019

Tracy La, (858) 598-7805 | tracy@vietrise.org
SG Sarmiento, (202) 746-2099 | sgsarmiento@ndlon.org


25 years after Orange County was the birthplace of CA’s proposition 187, a new generation of youth are leading a cross-cultural movement to “bring human rights home” 

Little Saigon, Orange County, CA – On Sunday, October 20th, VietRISE and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) are hosting “We Celebrate Sanctuary Here,” a daylong community festival that will bring Vietnamese, Latino, and immigrant communities together in support of inclusion and solidarity, and in defiance of the re-animated politics of white supremacy.  

“Orange County is changing because of immigrant and refugee communities. We envision a county that is inclusive, that honors our cultures, and that upholds immigrant and human rights for all.” said Tracy La, Executive Director of VietRISE. “We reject the politics of hate and fear that some elected officials in Orange County have promoted and we will not stand by anti-immigrant rhetoric.”

“The power to defeat hate and trumpism won’t come from the top down,” said Salvador Sarmiento, National Campaign Director for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. “It will come from grassroots organized communities coming together to reaffirm who we all are, to celebrate each other, and to defend our most fundamental civic guarantees. Today’s festival is a call to action, from the bottom of our hearts.”

What:  We Celebrate Sanctuary Here: Community Festival 
When:  Sunday, October 20, 11:00AM – 4:00PM (speakers 1:00-2:00PM) 
Where:  Atlantis Play Center, 13630 Atlantis Way, Garden Grove

This community festival is free and open to the public.  It will bring together art and cultural activities such as a live art installation painting, screen printing, Vietnamese lantern-making, and papel picado (Mexican “pecked paper”).  There will also be live music and performances from OC and LA bands, poets and DJ’s, as well as local immigrant-owned businesses, community organizations and educational resources for immigrant families and youth.