Right after the court declined to interfere in the Tet parade, many people, already in the parade, stood up and invited representatives of the LGBT to march with them.
Most prominent is UVSA, the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California, representing VSAs at 13 colleges and universities around the Southland. In an announcement entitled “UVSA takes a stand against discrimination,” the group welcomed Viet LGBT to join their procession, and wrote:
“Having a long history of advocating for human rights in both the community here and abroad, UVSA strongly believes in fighting against discrimination of its own LGBT members and those in community as well. In order to promote unity, the members of a community must strive to overcome its differences to live in harmony.”
On Friday, Westminster City Councilwoman Diana Lee Carey told the Orange Juice Blog’s Vern Nelson she would also welcome LGBT Viets to join her.
In Santa Ana, Mayor Pro Tem Sal Tinajero pulled out of the parade, but later decided to come support Viet LGBT on the sidelines.
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, probably the most popular politician in Little Saigon, also announced she’s not joining the parade this year – the first time she skips since the beginning. She said in a written statement:
“Hopefully the organizing committee can get this resolved soon so that all who would like to participate in the Tet festivities may do so.”
With the rash of withdrawals by these and many others in the community, the organizers blamed the LGBT for the boycott, so at a press conference on Friday the LGBT Coalition said they never asked anyone to pull out, just for them to pressure the organizers to let them in.
And they asked the community to support them by coming to the parade with signs and rainbow flags proclaiming that Vietnamese do not discriminate.
The UVSA, by the way, is a community power house. Among other things, thye organize the spectacularly successful annual Tet Festival. As of this year, the UVSA will have given back more than $1 million of the Tet Festival proceeds to community groups.