The following is a letter written on September 4th, 1995 by Phạm Việt Mạnh to various organizations detailing the unjust treatment of the refugees at the Sungei Besi Refugee Camp in Malaysia by the local police force.
"I marched for myself, whose right to what I do with my body is in danger.
I marched for my friends, whose right to love who they want is in danger.
I marched for my family, whose right to be considered an American is in danger."
The other day, my mom shared with me a story about a woman she had just met at the hospital where she was visiting a friend. This woman had recently had surgery, and was roommates with my mom's friend, both of whom are Vietnamese Boat People. I don't know where this woman is now, but her story made an indelible mark on my mother, and on me as well.
PYD is currently collaborating with Boat People SOS (BPSOS) Youth Coordinator, Trung Nguyen, and Vietnamese Studies Students at Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute of University of Wisconsin-Madison (SEASII) on a summer project to go through a large archive of letters written between the late 1970s and the mid-1990s by Vietnamese Boat Refugees seeking asylum and/or family unification after the Vietnam War.
The Mid-Atlantic Union of Vietnamese Student Associations (MAUVSA) Conference is an annual event over a spring weekend where VSAs from universities all over the United States can come to network with one another and prepare for their future careers. This conference was also one of PYD's first networking experiences!