Apply for our Immigrant Community Relief Fund: $800 per person

ABOUT THE FUND: We will provide cash assistance of $800 for undocumented and impacted Vietnamese immigrants in Orange County who are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any questions, contact Indigo at

Please share with those who are eligible. Application link and more information is available at this page:

Applications are available in English, Vietnamese, and Spanish.

Apply at
Apply at

Please note: This fund is prioritizing Vietnamese applicants. People of other ethnicities may apply, but you may experience a delay of 2-3 weeks for us to review your application.

Protesters with face masks hold signs at a rally.

LA Times Op-Ed: Vietnamese refugees who’ve served prison time unjustly face deportation. That must change

Check out this must-read opinion editorial published in the LA Times on April 7, 2021, written by Thai Viet Phan, Santa Ana’s first Vietnamese American city council member. Read the op-ed below. Vietnamese language version coming soon. We thank Council member Phan for working with us on this op-ed and for her strong support and dedication to defending immigrant and refugee communities from detention and deportation. 

We urge Governor Gavin Newsom and members of the California legislature to take the right step forward and help end anti-Asian and anti-immigrant violence by pardoning refugee An Nguyen and passing AB 937 – the VISION Act!

Protesters with face masks hold signs at a rally.

A protest is held in Orange County’s Little Saigon on March 14, the day before ICE deported about 33 Vietnamese immigrants to Vietnam. (Courtesy of Tim Phan)


Like me, An Thanh Nguyen is a Vietnamese refugee. We both came here as children. After a life largely spent in Santa Ana, I became the city’s first Vietnamese American council member last year. Nguyen, whose family lives in nearby Cypress, is facing deportation to Vietnam.

I know all too well the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that confront families and children seeking to rebuild their lives in a foreign land. Like many Vietnamese refugees, Nguyen’s father fought alongside the U.S. during the Vietnam War; he spent four years as a prisoner of war. After Nguyen’s mother fled the country in 1985, her seven children finally joined her in 1990.

While resettling in the U.S., Nguyen — facing poverty, racism and bullying — struggled to fit in and feel at home. He was a young man when his life took a wrong turn, and he committed several robberies. While serving more than 20 years in state prison, he took advantage of programs that could help him turn his life around.

Yet, upon completing his prison sentence in October 2019, he was immediately transferred to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement instead of being released to his family and community or given the opportunity to rebuild his life. He was detained, released, detained again — and was last released a year ago.

However, his nightmare has not ended. Nguyen can be deported at any time for being an immigrant who committed a crime — despite a 2008 agreement between the U.S. and Vietnam that excludes Vietnamese nationals who arrived here before July 12, 1995, from being deported to Vietnam.

More than 2,000 Southeast Asian refugees, including Vietnamese refugees who arrived before 1995, have been deported from the U.S. since 2017. As of 2018, about 8,000 Vietnamese immigrants who came to the U.S. at a young age had been impacted by the criminal justice system and the immigration system — both of which can be unforgiving. Nearly 7,700 Vietnamese immigrants currently facing deportation have a criminal conviction.

This detention of immigrants who have already served their prison sentences is known as “double punishment.” Even though Nguyen is no longer in ICE detention, he still wakes up every day unsure whether he will be deported to Vietnam. ICE can choose at any moment to expel him from the U.S., and only a pardon from Gov. Gavin Newsom can prevent that from happening.  

Newsom must immediately use his executive power to pardon Nguyen, who is among the thousands of immigrants who continue to face potential deportation to a country most have not seen since they were children.

And once AB 937 makes its way through the state Legislature, Gov. Newsom must sign it into law. The bill, [otherwise known as the VISION Act and] introduced in February, would protect immigrants who have been deemed eligible for release from being transferred from state prisons and local jails to ICE detention. Leading Asian American organizations such as VietRISE and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-California have made clear that this bill is needed to prevent immigrants like Nguyen from being unjustly transferred to ICE detention after completing their jail or prison sentences.

My November election to the City Council in Santa Ana — which has one of the nation’s largest immigrant communities — came after years of attacks on immigrant and refugee communities by the Trump administration, which increased Southeast Asian detainment and deportations by ICE by more than 100% across the country. I am the representative for Ward 1, which has Santa Ana’s largest population of Vietnamese residents, and my constituency has been especially hurt by these attacks.

Despite the Biden administration’s promises to do better by our country’s Asian immigrant communities, ICE deported about 33 Vietnamese immigrants and refugees to Vietnam on March 15. A day before the flight departed, protesters in Westminster Park chanted, “Deporting Vietnamese refugees is anti-Asian violence.” I agree. 

The continued deportation of victims of war and of immigrants and refugees is not only wrong but also unconscionable and cruel. The country cannot continue to perpetuate this hateful, inhumane practice.

Thai Viet Phan is a member of the Santa Ana City Council. Her letter to Gov. Newsom in support of An Thanh Nguyen’s pardon can be found here. A petition in support of Nguyen can be found here.

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Vietnamese and Asian American Organizations Across the Country Denounce Upcoming March 15 Deportation Flight to Viet Nam, Say Deporting Refugees is Anti-Asian Violence

FRIDAY, MARCH 12, 2021
Contact: Tracy La (

ORANGE COUNTY, CA; NEW YORK, NY; PHILADELPHIA, PA; SAN JOSE, CA; WASHINGTON, DC.; SEATTLE, WA – In the midst of the Biden Administration’s 100-day deportation moratorium, organizations across the country working to end the deportation of Vietnamese immigrants and refugees were notified that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has scheduled a deportation flight to Viet Nam on Monday morning, March 15, from Texas. There are 33 Vietnamese people who are scheduled to be on this flight. Among the 33 people are Hieu Huynh, a 49-year old refugee who arrived in 1980 with his family after fleeing the aftermath of the war in Viet Nam, and Tien Pham, a Vietnamese refugee who spent years in a refugee camp and resettled in San Jose, CA following the war. 

Several of the Vietnamese refugees set to be deported by the Biden Administration include those who came before 1995. The United States and Viet Nam signed a bilateral agreement in 2008 that prevents Vietnamese refugees who came to the U.S. before 1995. The scheduled deportation of Vietnamese refugees on this Monday flight not only violates this agreement, but is recognized by all of the organizations signing onto this statement as an act of anti-Asian violence.

During President Biden’s first address to the nation, he denounced violent attacks against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic and called on the attacks to end immediately. On his 2020 campaign trail, Biden published an op-ed in one of the most prominent Vietnamese newspapers in the country, sharing how proud he was to “have voted to increase funding to help newly arrived Vietnamese resettle in the U.S.” after fleeing persecution.  Finally, In a January 26, 2021 memo, he declared, “The Federal Government should combat racism, xenophobia, and intolerance against [APIs] and should work to ensure that all members of AAPI communities — no matter their background, the language they speak, or their religious beliefs — are treated with dignity and equity.”

Below is a statement shared by all of the signed organizations:

“Deporting Vietnamese immigrants and refugees to a country that they have not known since they were young is an anti-Asian violent attack, not only on them as individuals, but on their family and our Vietnamese and immigrant communities across the country.

As organizations working with Vietnamese immigrants and fighting to end all deportations, we call on the Biden Administration to do better for Asian communities than his predecessor, end this senseless anti-Asian violence, immediately stop the March 15th deportation flight to Viet Nam, and end all deportations now.

The organizations plan to host a rally in Westminster Park, Little Saigon, CA on Sunday, March 14 at 12:00PM PST to denounce the deportation of Vietnamese refugees, and call on the Biden Administration to ground the plane and halt all deportations until a DOJ investigation of ICE is completed.


The list of organizations include: VietRISE, Asian Prisoner Support Committee, VietLead, Mekong-NYC, SEADefense Project, Providence Youth Student Movement, SEAC Village, Asian American Resource Workshop, Freedom, Inc., KhAAG, ManForward, Release Minnesota 8, Southeast Asian Freedom Network, The Sống Collective, Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility, Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education, Revere Youth in Action, Sông2Sea, Api Rise (Asian Pacific Islander Reentry & Inclusion Through Support & Empowerment), Việt Solidarity & Action Network, Viet Rainbow of Orange County, AAPIs for Civic Empowerment Education Fund (AAPI FORCE-EF), Vietnamese American Organization (VAO), Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, The TSMP Collective, VietUnity – Bay Area, Unified Asian Communities (UAC) Maine…

COVID-19 Orange County Community Resources

We are working together as a team of educators, students, community organizations, grassroots organizers, and more to compile resources and guides for community members during this time. Please note we are not healthcare professionals, and these resources should not take the place of advice from medical or healthcare professionals. Rather, we are a group of long-time community advocates who believe we are stronger when we work together and support each other.

We put together the resources below with love and with a sense of groundedness to support our community members and provide reassurance during this time. If you would like to contact the Orange County COVID-19 Community Response Team directly, please email

View the Spreadsheet: COVID-19 Orange County Community Resources Master List

Please use the tabs on the bottom of the spreadsheet above to navigate different categories of resources. Currently, the categories we have are the following:

  • Infographics: Posters and infographics covering a wide range of topics, in multiple languages
  • School Info/Free Food: Information on OC school district closures and food distribution programs
  • Physical Health: FAQs and resources about COVID-19 virus and infection
  • Mental Health: Tips and resources to fend off anxiety
  • Labor & Worker Rights: Resources and information for California residents
  • Immigration: Resources and news regarding access to healthcare and rights
  • Assistance Programs: Resources for food, financial assistance, transportation, hygiene, and more
  • Other Resource Guides: Links to other resource guides, some of which are for different areas, and mutual aid resources. More will be added as needed.

Note: Because of the rapid changes regarding COVID-19 policies and suggestions made by government officials, many resources and organizations are currently evaluating their capacity for services right now. As a result, some of the resource pages may seem a bit bare. These pages will continue to be updated as we get updates from the organzations. Please check back periodically to see what has been added.

Thank you to the community members for helping put together this doc: Indigo V., Julissa L., Kathy T., Lena T., Tracy L., members of VietRISE, Chispa, CA Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, and more. Thank you to all the community members who are continuing to send us the most recent updates!

Join Us On Oct 20: We Celebrate Sanctuary Here Cultural Festival (Live Music, Art, and more!)

On October 20th, VietRISE and NDLON are co-hosting a Community Festival on Sunday, October 20, 2019 from 11am-4pm called “We Celebrate Sanctuary Here: Bring Human Rights Home” at Atlantis Play Center in Garden Grove, CA. This is a free, public, and family-friendly event!

 → RSVP NOW  ←

We come together to celebrate sanctuary and solidarity with all immigrant communities in Orange County who have been impacted by what has been going on nationally, at the border, and in our local communities. This festival is to show that we are unafraid and openly embrace each other’s communities with love and kindness — and that we are committed to building toward the dignity and human rights for all our communities.

This festival will feature live music (see full lineup below), art activities and workshops, educational resources for immigrant families and youth, and will be highlighting local immigrant-owned businesses, community organizations and service agencies. We hope to see you there!

Music Lineup:

Weapons of Mass Creation (Anaheim)
Los Jornaleros del Norte (Los Angeles)
DJ Nina Ross Nguyen (Garden Grove)
Son del Centro (Santa Ana)
Poet: Đỗ Nguyên Mai (Santa Clarita)
Poet: Scott Keltic Knot (Orange County)

Get involved:

Sponsor our festival and our campaign! 

  • All proceeds will be going towards festival expenses, the ICE out of Little Saigon campaign, and organizations, workshops, and trainings that advance immigrant justice in the county.
  • Festival Sponsors will be featured on our program and will receive a shoutout during the festival!
  • Visit the link to sponsor/donate:

Follow our event page on Facebook for updates and news about the event!

VietRISE Statement on LGBT Center OC Oct 9 Press Release on Community Concerns

Over the past five months, local volunteer-led LGBTQ youth organizations, Viêt Rainbow of Orange County (VROC) and Youth of YETA (Youth Empowered to Act) have called on the LGBT Center OC to engage in critical, intentional dialogue with community members around the Center’s decision to march with armed and uniformed law enforcement officers at the 2019 OC Pride Parade.  

We acknowledge the LGBT Center’s public apology and how they have committed to taking some steps to respond to the concerns that youth and community members have raised regarding their decisions during Pride and their subsequent actions.  But the Center still misses in critically responding to how their decisions during the Pride Parade undermined and dismissed the deep history of police brutality against LGBTQ people of color, and still misses in responding to the primary issue that Youth of YETA and VROC were trying to uplift – that the Center’s executive leadership disregarded community input in their decision-making. In their October 9 press release, the Center executive leadership failed to acknowledge the months of work that youth and community members from groups like Youth of YETA and VROC did to address and repair the harm that the Center’s actions did to youth and LGBTQ people of color in the county.

At VietRISE, we have been reached out to by the Center’s Executive Director to have a conversation between our organizations, but this conversation has still not been had, and it was not clear that the intention of the conversation was to resolve these concerns.  We are disappointed that the Center released a statement before we have had honest discussions for the purpose that they state below. The press release they published on October 9 reads, 

The Center’s Executive Director has reached out to the Executive Directors of Resilience OC and VietRise to reinforce our organization’s commitment to serving the LGBTQ immigrant community as well as our commitment to the partnerships we share with these organizations.  Collaborations such as those shared by our three organizations are making positive change in Orange County.  That change wouldn’t be possible without organizations like Resilience OC and VietRise leading the way. We remain inspired by their work and proud of our partnerships.

Transparency, intentional and honest communication is key to building genuine partnerships between organizations like ours that are committed to defending the human rights and dignity of our communities.  Moving forward, we urge the LGBT Center to uplift the work that youth and community members of color have had to do to help inform them of the impact of their decisions, not continue to ignore them. We urge the Center to not only host their own community round table, but to finally accept the invitations extended to them by groups who have created community-led spaces for dialogue and healing, such as the Youth of YETA and VROC.  We will continue to uplift the work that Youth of YETA and VROC do and hope the Center takes concrete steps to uplift and work with LGBTQ youth and people of color, not dismiss them, so that we can continue to truly build toward a more transformative, equitable county. 

RELEASE: 25 Vietnamese, AAPI, community groups condemn OC officials’ failure to defend immigrant, refugee human rights

Monday, August 5, 2019
PDF Version: English | Vietnamese



Little Saigon, Orange County, CA On Monday afternoon, a broad coalition of Orange County Vietnamese, Asian American, student, immigrant and civil rights organizations denounced local Vietnamese elected officials, Board of Supervisors member Andrew Do and Westminster Mayor Tri Ta, for failing to take action to defend the human rights of immigrant and refugee communities.  The letters follow a march and rally attended by more than 300 community members held last week in Westminster city to call on the local officials to “Bring Human Rights Home.”

The letters blasts the Vietnamese elected officials, who are themselves immigrants and refugees, for siding with the demands of a known white nationalist hate group, FAIR, that helped orchestrate attacks against California laws that limit the use of local and state resources for immigration enforcement.  The OC Board of Supervisors was one of only two county boards that voted to join former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session’s lawsuit against California.  The letter reads in part,

“The Vietnamese, refugee, and immigrant communities in Orange County benefit from these state laws that protect our dignity, our human rights, and we expected our officials to protect the laws that make us safe. We consistently showed up to [public] meetings to make this message clear. Instead, you sided with Trump, and turned your back on us.”

The 25 organizations that signed the letters represent mental health, services, youth, and healthcare groups that serve immigrant, refugee, Vietnamese, Asian American, and working families in Orange County.  The letter urges Supervisor Do and Mayor Ta to stand up for human rights by condemning immigrant concentration camps, ICE raids, and white nationalist hate groups, and passing a resolution that supports and upholds the California Values Act, the state’s sanctuary law.

Read the full letters here: Westminster City Council; OC Board of Supervisors.



Monday, August 5, 2019
PDF Version: English | Vietnamese

Xin Vui Lòng Liên Lạc:


Little Saigon, Orange County, CA – Vào chiều thứ hai các tổ chức gồm người Việt, người Mỹ gốc Á, các sinh viên, người nhập cư và các tổ chức nhân quyền tố cáo Giám Sát Viên Andrew Đỗ và Thị Trưởng Trí Tạ, vì họ đã không bảo vệ nhân quyền của người nhập cư và người tị nạn. Các tổ chức đã viết một bức thư tố cáo các dân cử địa phương gốc Việt sau một cuộc biểu tình ở thành phố Westminster với hơn 300 thành viên cộng đồng kêu gọi các dân cử địa phương phải “Mang Về Nhân Quyền”. 

Bức thư này tố cáo những dân cử địa phương gốc Việt đã ủng hộ nhóm FAIR. Nhóm ấy là tổ chức Chủ nghĩa dân tộc da trắng đã dàn xếp các cuộc tấn công chống lại luật pháp California hạn chế việc sử dụng các nguồn lực địa phương và tiểu bang để thực thi di trú. Hội Đồng Giám Sát Orange County là một trông số hai Hội Đồng Giám Sát ở tiểu băng Califoria đã tham gia vụ kiện chống lại California của cựu Bộ trưởng Tư pháp Jeff Sessions. Bức thư này nói,  

“Nhân quyền của các cộng đồng người Việt, người tị nạn, và người nhập cư ở Orange County được bảo vệ bởi các chính sách của tiểu băng California. Các dân cử địa phương phải ủng hộ các chính sách ấy để bảo vệ sự an toàn của chúng ta. Chúng tôi đã tham dự các cuộc họp công cộng để khuyên các dân cử địa phương về vấn đề này nhưng họ đã phớt lờ.” 

Các tổ chức đã ký vào bức thư này đại diện hai mươi lăm nhóm trong các lĩnh vực khác nhau ở Orange County. Bức thư này khẩn cầu Giám Sát Viên Andrew Đỗ và Thị Trưởng Trí Tạ phải bảo vệ nhân quyền bằng cách tố cáo các trại tù, ICE bố ráp, và các nhóm Chủ nghĩa dân tộc da trắng. Tiếp theo họ nên thông qua một nghị quyết để ủng hộ luật sanctuary “California Values Act”.

Xin đọc bức thư ở đây: Westminster City Council; OC Board of Supervisors



Join Us for Our Zine Making Workshop Co-Hosted by VietRISE x Le Tea Leaf !

Flyer by Tiffany Le


This workshop is open to all community members to learn about zines and how to make them. No experience in the arts is necessary – this is simply a space for everyone to gather and be in community with one another through art! This is also a child-friendly event!

Zines and zine culture were created by, and crafted for, the social and political needs of communities of color. They can give space to stories that aren’t often told, lending creative spaces for people and communities to express themselves freely without restrictions and on their own terms. They are a space for communities to come together to record and share their stories and everything in between.

Please RSVP here:


  • Date: Tuesday, March 19th
  • Time: 6 – 8pm
  • Location: 618 N. Harbor Blvd. Fullerton, CA 92823 (2nd floor up the stairs)

What to expect:

  • A brief hxstory about zines
  • Printed zines will be available for you to use as examples
  • Art materials and supplies (paper, colored pencils, stapler, magazines) will be provided for you to make your own zine
  • Light refreshments will be served
  • Le Tea Leaf’s art will be available for purchase!

Feel free to bring magazines, personal artifacts, and/or your own art supplies for your zine!

– – –
About Le Tea Leaf (from Tiffany Le is a Vietnamese American freelance illustrator who investigates themes towards cultural legacy, comparative mythology and literature, and social topics through an Asian American lens. She had started her career early by drawing images from cereal boxes at the age of three, and has worked her way up into much larger projects since then. To learn more about Tiffany and see her work, please visit her website at!

Attend the VietRISE Community Listening Session on Saturday, January 19th!

VietRISE is excited to be hosting our third community listening session on Saturday, January 19th from 12:15 to 2:30PM!

Date: January 19, 2019
Time: 12:15PM – 2:30PM
Location: Westminster, CA. Will be sent to those who RSVP.

We highly encourage all attendees to bring along someone who would be interested in attending.

*** Please RSVP at by Wednesday, January 16 ***


Our third listening session will focus on the processes of voter outreach and engagement during recent elections in the Vietnamese community in Orange County. We encourage Vietnamese community members to come share their insight and experiences during the 2018 election and their thoughts on what more accessible and empowering civic engagement could look like, as well what issues matter most to them. This session will be critical in informing VietRISE’s organizing strategies moving forward. It will also help us build a foundation for supporting and growing civic participation that advances economic, gender, and social justice in Orange County.

We will have a facilitated discussion session, brief workshop presentation, and an interactive activity for community members to share their thoughts, as well as a brief Vietnamese language practice session!

Language Translation:

This listening session will be conducted in English. If you require translation support, please let us know in advance. We are planning to host more sessions in the future and will continue to explore language support for participants.

For questions, please contact Vincent Tran at Thank you and hope to see you soon!

Apply for the VietRISE Theory to Change Program!

VietRISE’s Theory to Change program is a 10 week program for Viet(namese American) community members in the Orange County region to learn social justice frameworks and foundations. Participants will attend workshops, learn creative strategies to take collective action, and complete an art project that highlights what was learned.

This program will be a space geared towards college-aged Viet(namese American) folx (ages 18-24) to learn the language, skills, and capacity to pursue social justice and/or organizing in ways that are accessible and conducive to their self-determination as young leaders in their/our communities.

This program works with participants to explore their Viet(namese American) identities, articulate and clearly communicate social justice theories in accessible language, identify structures of power and oppression in their personal lives and community, learn tangible approaches and practices to sustain mental and emotional wellness, and learn action-oriented strategies for community activism and/or organizing.

Application Link: 

Application Deadline: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at 5:00 PM PST

Program Duration: Every Saturday beginning February 23, 2019 – April 27, 2019 from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM PST

For questions please contact