Earlier this week, on Monday April 5, 2021, Senator Thomas J. Umberg (D – Orange County) presented Senate Concurrent Resolution 2 (SCR 2) on the California State Senate floor to proclaim the month of April as Black April Memorial Month.
A special time for Californians to remember the countless lives lost during the Vietnam War era, and to hope for more justice and liberty for the people of Vietnam, “Black April” is the term used to refer to the April 30 anniversary of the fall of Saigon, in 1975. With the resolution, Senator Umberg honors those that lost their lives in the Vietnam War; including American, South Vietnamese, allied veterans of the war, and the refugees that fled towards American shores in search of freedom.
Senator Umberg noted that, “Black April is a time of mourning, a time of remembrance, not just for the lives lost during the war, but the lives of Vietnamese people in their historic struggle for freedom and human rights. SCR 2 not only marks these tragic losses, but also celebrates the Vietnamese people’s resilience and strength to prosper in the face of adversity.”
According to the Migration Policy Institute, about 40% of America’s nearly 1.3 million Vietnamese immigrants reside in California including the Counties of Orange, Los Angeles, and Santa Clara. “I have the distinct honor of representing the 34th Senate District which includes the Vietnamese community known as “Little Saigon,” and to continue the annual tradition of recognizing April as Black April Memorial Month,” said Senator Umberg.
The Vietnam War is marked as a tragedy for not only Vietnam and Vietnam-era veterans who were directly involved in the war, but also one full of great suffering and loss for Vietnamese civilians and the Vietnamese Americans who fled to safety. Vietnamese American refugees very quickly become a part of, and continue to contribute to, our diverse American culture and economy today. Senator Umberg added that he would like to ask that the people of California set aside a few moments every year on April 30 to give remembrance to the soldiers, medical personnel, and civilians who sacrificed their lives during the Vietnam War in pursuit of freedom and democracy.
This past year with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vietnamese community rallied around families and neighbors with a sense of responsibility and a spirit of mutual support unlike some others. Many Vietnamese Americans came together to provide food assistance, donate masks, and volunteer at testing and vaccination sites, and have also joined forces to combat AAPI hate crimes in our community “I commend the Vietnamese American communities in California who contribute to America’s diversified culture and economy today” said Senator Umberg.
This year’s commemoration of Black April during the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be limited by crowd size. While it is unclear whether Black April Memorial events will be hosted in Orange County, Senator Umberg noted that he would inform the 34th Senate District if events were scheduled.