by Julie Pham
(This article previously appeared on Người Việt Tây Bắc and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
“Một cây làm chẳng nên non. Ba cây chụm lại thành hòn núi cao.” This Vietnamese proverb means that a single tree doesn’t matter much. Three trees together look like a mountain.
How does a refugee community like the Vietnamese achieve so much when we came with so little? My father, Kim Phạm, always stressed that the success of our community is rooted in a willingness to support and uplift one another so that we can achieve our dreams. We have been able to do so much more with what little we have because we have each other’s backs.
Many of these dreams started in Vietnam. Like hundreds of thousands of other South Vietnamese who fought against the communists during the Vietnam War, my father was forced into a communist prison camp to be reeducated in the years after the Fall of Saigon in 1975. Inside the camp, he dreamed of starting a newspaper in the U.S. The dream was realized in Seattle, where my parents and I managed to find refuge after fleeing Vietnam as boat people. My parents named the newspaper Người Việt Tây Bắc (NVTB), which translates to “Vietnamese people of the Northwest.”
Continue reading The Key to a Refugee Community’s Success
by Carolyn Bick
Tommy Le loved to cook and garden with his grandmother and do landscaping work with his father. He was friendly with his teachers. He loved to play chess. He had a curiosity that made him seek out deeply philosophical texts — a trait so unique that his local librarians knew him by name. And on June 14, 2017, the 20-year-old Vietnamese American student was going to attend his graduation ceremony at South Seattle College, where he had graduated from the College Career Link program just the day before.
But Le never got to attend that graduation ceremony. He never got to wear his graduation outfit. Generations of his family — some of them refugees — never got to see him achieve his dream of becoming a firefighter.
Instead, King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) Deputy Cesar Molina shot the young man twice in the back and once in the back of the hand in Burien on June 13, 2017. The shots to the back killed Le.
Continue reading Le Family Settles, Says KCSO, Deputy Molina Culpable — Sheriff Email Claims Otherwise
by Mark Van Streefkerk
Vietnam is the world’s second largest coffee-producing country, a fact largely unknown to most consumers, though that is changing for those who visit Hello Em Viet Coffee & Roastery. Hello Em is Seattle’s first Vietnamese coffee roastery. Co-owners Yenvy Pham and Nghia Bui carefully oversee every part of the process from sourcing and importing beans from Kon Tum and Buôn Ma Thuột to roasting in house on a Neuhaus Neotec air roaster. The roasted beans make up their signature coffees: the anh roast, a single origin robusta, and em roast, an arabica blend of coffees from Vietnam, Oaxaca, and Ethiopia.
Continue reading Hello Em Viet Coffee & Roastery Serves Coffee, Pastries, and Bánh Mì in Little Saigon
by Jeff Nguyen
(This article was originally published by Northwest Vietnamese News and has been reprinted with permission.)
Neon signage advertising lush comb-overs and immaculate manicures, early 2000s hair model portraits and customers sitting in a row of folding chairs are familiar sights for many in the South Seattle neighborhoods. Nail and hair salons have been a cornerstone of the Vietnamese American business community, dotting streets and corners of Little Saigons across the nation and at home in Seattle. There are about 2,180 Vietnamese-owned nail and hair salons across the state, making up around 60% of salon ownership.
Continue reading Vietnamese-Owned Salons Fight to Stay Afloat Amidst COVID-19