In mere days, we have witnessed the relentless and ruthless course of systemic racism in the United States and its—quite literally—suffocation of Black life. The Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network stands in solidarity with George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, as well as their grieving families and communities. It is important to recognize that the recent constellation of police brutality is by no means novel, but deeply rooted in the United States’ long genealogy of anti-Black violence and white supremacist logics. These logics, it is crucial to recognize, have been constantly reproduced and redeployed in the racialization of the Vietnamese during and after wartime. Racism is relational, and so must be our response.
“Justice” and “accountability” operate on different registers for distinctly-situated peoples. As non-Black people of color, we must hold our communities accountable in addressing the issue of Asian and Asian American complicity that is a reality in the racist society in which we all live. Justice for Black communities is only possible through critical and constant interrogation of how we benefit from—and actively participate in—systems that disproportionately dispossess Black lives. Throughout history, we have benefited from Black freedom struggles; now, likewise, we must stay connected to, care about, and collectivize for the Black community. Solidarity has been, but cannot be, a vacuous buzzword. Calls for solidarity must be accompanied by direct material action.
Thus, DVAN outlines a list of actions, readings, and tools for the community to engage:
Links to donate to the victims’ families, bail organizations, and Black communities fighting for justice:
"This process of conversationally positing and collectively falsifying speculative interpretations of official matters based on private information networks is so ubiquitous in Vietnamese society, I’m not even sure it registers as part of the pandemic response. But it surely was."
This installation of ACCENTED will be hosted by Pulitzer-prize winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen, and will feature actor Marc dela Cruz, playwright Qui Nguyen, journalist/editor/critic Diep Tran, and playwright/producer/performer Susan Lieu.
As a settler, and someone whose familial and ancestral history is also tied to histories of displacement, understanding and living on Indigenous land is a political commitment that is just as important as understanding my fractured relationship to my family’s homeland of Vietnam.
diaCRITICS is a blog that showcases voices and stories from writers, artists and culture-makers of the Vietnamese and Southeast Asian diaspora on and from all shores. We publish poetry, fiction, essays, reviews, visual art, and more. Our founding editor and publisher is Viet Thanh Nguyen. diaCRITICS is a project of the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN).