The Little Saigon Foundation of San Diego (LSF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to develop the Little Saigon District of City Heights by revitalizing infrastructure in the community, promoting Vietnamese culture and tourism in the area, and engaging youth, residents, and businesses in civic responsibilities.
To fulfill our mission, we prioritize the scope of our work into 4 areas:
According to recent US Census, the Vietnamese population in San Diego County has almost doubled within the last decade. The history of Vietnamese Americans is fairly recent. The Vietnamese arrived under circumstances quite different from those encountered by today’s typical legal immigrant. The story of the Vietnamese experience is one of pain and loss, loss of nation, home, family, culture, and identity. Ravaged by war, violently pushed out of our home country, suffering war-related loss and psychological trauma, accompanied with feeling of loss, separation, and helplessness, Vietnamese have come far to reestablish our roots here in America.
Historically, in the United States, almost every newly arrived group has felt the need to express its community identity through the creation of its own enclave; Vietnamese are no different. Little Saigon has become a collective memory, collective past, and a sense of identity reconnect to what Vietnamese have left behind. Little Saigon offers a sense of acceptance, belonging, and social ties—“I don’t consider myself a minority when I am in Little Saigon District’’ Luong Long. Compare this to the feeling of “unwelcome” or the constant awareness of being “different” because of physical traits, both of which many Vietnamese felt when walking through a social gathering place dominated by American mainstream, such as a Westfield mall.
For the newly arrived, Little Saigon provides a cultural buffer zone, a cultural bridge, helping to minimize the stress of transition and culture shock. The Little Saigon provides newcomers with much needed employment, a steppingstone into the process of emerging into the mainstream. Unlike many employers (in English-speaking society), those in the enclave do not care whether they speak English, as primary communication takes place in Vietnamese.
Let’s be clear: the concept of Americanization, assimilation, and living and chasing the classic American dream do not demand the sacrifice of immigrant culture, history, language, and tradition. While Little Saigon has become not only the commercial hub but the emotional focal point of the Vietnamese community, it is also a clear message to the host country—a desire of the Vietnamese immigrant community to strike permanent roots in the newly adopted land.
All of Little Saigon San Diego’s programs and events operate through voluntary and unpaid efforts. Each year, between 250-500 community members, college, and high school students dedicate over 20,000 labor hours to ensure residents receive the highest quality services they deserve. Proceeds from programs and events are being used in the revitalization efforts of the Little Saigon District such as paid for cultural landmark freeway signs, district-branded trash cans, and cultural banners.
A grassroots organization like Little Saigon relies heavily on the generosity of local businesses, organizations, and individual like you. We urge you to lend us a hand by supporting our good cause. Your support can come in many forms such as monetary or in-kind donation, sponsorship, vendor, volunteers. For example, we kindly request that you spread the word by posting a flyer and attending our events. If just 10 people see your post and attend our event, you have helped us come $60 closer to fulfilling our mission. Much work remains to be done before we attain our goals, but your donation, help, and support make a difference in our efforts to revitalize the Little Saigon District.
February 4, 2019| Uncategorized