Paying It Forward
Vietnamese Americans help Afghan refugees: ‘We were them’
September 21, 2021
Television images of Afghans vying for spots on US military flights out of Kabul evoked memories for many Vietnamese Americans of their own attempts to escape a falling Saigon more than four decades ago.
It has also spurred many Vietnamese Americans to donate money to refugee resettlement groups and raise their hands to help by providing housing, furniture and legal assistance to newly arriving Afghans. Less tangible but still essential, some also said they want to offer critical guidance they know refugees and new immigrants need: how to shop at a supermarket, enroll kids in school and drive a car in the United States.
“We lived through this and we can’t help but feel that we are brethren in our common experience,” said Andrew Do, who fled Saigon with his family a day before it fell to communism and today chairs the Orange County Board of Supervisors.
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Image Credit: Ted S. Warren / Associate Press