Posts Tagged new orleans

President Obama Celebrates Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Earlier this year, NGEC’s 12 OFP cohort organizations convened in New Orleans and met community leaders from VAYLA-NO,  Father Vien from Mary Queen of Vietnam Church, and S. Leo Chiang (the director of A Village Called Versailles).

Check out the great post below via about Monday’s AAPI Heritage Month celebration at the White House which featured Father Vien.

This past Monday, President Obama hosted a reception at the White House celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Amongst the honored guests was Father Vien of the Mary Queen of Vietnam Church in New Orleans, who was profiled in an excellent documentary which I saw earlier this year at a film festival called A Village Called Versailles. The film, which is part of PBS’s Independent Lens series, will be airing this Tuesday, May 25th on PBS and follows the Vietnamese American community awakening politically in the aftermaths of Hurricane Katrina. Now, Father Vien and others are fighting another crisis in New Orleans. The BP oil spill has hugely impacted the Southeast Asian/Vietnamese American fishermen who make up 35-45% of the fishing industry along the Gulf Coast.

Read more about our OFP Convening in New Orleans.

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Creating Community Identity – Ideas + Questions Inspired by New Orleans Convening

OFP participants at New Orleans convening

(Sharing some reflections from our recent convening  – written by Megan Powers, NGEC’s Capacity Building Manager in Minnesota.)

A question bubbled up among many during NGEC’s recent OFP cohort convening in New Orleans: How can a group help to create and harness a community’s identity?

After viewing “A Village Called Versailles”, visiting with New Orleans residents and organizers, and much discussion, cohort participants noted that part of the success of the neighborhood’s organizing work can be attributed to a strong sense of community identity.

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Building Power, Collective Leadership and Cultural Change

NGEC’s Organizational Fellowship Program is convening in New Orleans this year around the themes of: Building Power, Collective Leadership and Cultural Change.

We’ll be exploring aspects of these practices within the context of what’s happening in New Orleans, and providing space for each OFP member to share and reflect upon how these manifest in their own communities.

AAPIP will also host a screening of  the documentary “A Village Called Versailles” with filmmaker, Leo Chiang.

In a New Orleans neighborhood called Versailles, a tight-knit group of Vietnamese Americans overcame obstacles to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina, only to have their homes threatened by a new government-imposed toxic landfill. A VILLAGE CALLED VERSAILLES is the empowering story of how the Versailles people, who have already suffered so much in their lifetime, turn a devastating disaster into a catalyst for change and a chance for a better future.

A few other sites and resources around the recovery & movement building efforts in post-Katrina :

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Vietnamese American environmental justice activism in post-Katrina New Orleans

interesting article via New American Media about the Vietnamese American community activism in post-Katrina New Orleans

“Vietnamese Americans Battle Landfill in New Orleans”
ColorLines, News feature, by Kari Lydersen, Posted: Dec 24, 2009

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Other links of interest:   “A Village Called Versailles”

A Village Called Versailles - documentary


Winner of the Documentary Feature Audience Award at the 2009 New Orleans Film Festival

A Village Called Versailles is a feature documentary about Versailles, an isolated community in eastern New Orleans  settled in the late 70’s/early 80’s by Vietnamese “boat people”. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Versailles residents impressively rise to the challenges by returning and rebuilding before any other flooded neighborhood in New Orleans, only to have their homes threatened by a new government-imposed toxic landfill just two miles away. Formerly content to stay within their own “village” and below the public radar, the Vietnamese community rallies to oppose the landfill and become an effective force in local politics. A Village Called Versailles recounts the empowering story of how this group of people, who has already suffered so much in their lifetime, turns a devastating disaster into a catalyst for change and a chance for a better future.

Directed by S. Leo Chiang. USA. 2008. 68 min.

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AAPIP film screening of “A Village Called Versailles” – Friday, Aug. 28th

AAPIP is hosting a special advance film screening of A Village Called Versailles on Friday, August 28, 2009 at 3PM at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Please join us for the screening and discussion with the filmmaker, Leo Chiang, and Father Vien Nguyen, Pastor of the Mary Queen of Vietnam Church.

RSVP by e-mailing rsvp at aapip dot org by August 19. Space is limited.

AAPIP Film Screening Invite, A Village Called Versailes

AAPIP Film Screening Invite, A Village Called Versailes

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