Vietnamese Americans have transformed the social, cultural, economic, and political life of Orange County, California. Previously, there were a small number of Vietnamese in the United States who were international students, international or war brides, or military personnel, but the majority arrived as refugees and immigrants since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Although they are lumped together as “refugees,” Vietnamese Americans are diverse in terms of their class, ethnic, regional, religious, linguistic, and ideological backgrounds. Their migration paths varied, and they often struggled with resettling in a new homeland and rebuilding their lives. They are dispersed throughout the county, but many are concentrated in central Orange County, where three cities—Westminster, Garden Grove, and Santa Ana— have “Welcome to Little Saigon” signs. They constitute the largest population of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam and have created flourishing residential neighborhoods and bustling commercial centers and have contributed to the political and cultural life of the region. This book captures snapshots of Vietnamese life in Orange County over the span of 40 years and shows a dynamic, vibrant community that is revitalizing the region.
Author Bio: Thuy Vo Dang has a doctorate in ethnic studies from the University of California, San Diego, and is the archivist for the Southeast Asian Archive and Regional History at the University of California, Irvine, Libraries; Linda Trinh Vo has a doctorate in sociology from the University of California, San Diego, and is an associate professor in the Department of Asian American Studies and director of the Vietnamese American Oral History Project; Tram Le has a master of arts in Asian American studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, and is the associate director of the Vietnamese American Oral History Project at UC Irvine. Images from the book came from University of California, Irvine, archival collections and authors’ personal collections, as well as from journalists, artists, students, and community leaders.