ACCENTED | Art, Activism, and Advocacy with PIVOT and UNAVSA

In this installment of Accented presented by DVAN, Viet Thanh Nguyen hosts a conversation between Tung Nguyen, Thi Bui, and Tram T. Nguyen about activism and advocacy in the Vietnamese diaspora.

The Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN) presents ACCENTED, a virtual series of programs that will feature a variety of writers, poets, artists, actors, filmmakers, scholars, and other cultural producers from the Vietnamese and Southeast Asian diaspora.

Hosted by Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Sympathizer, with co-host appearances by the She Who Has No Master(s) Collective, guests will engage in virtual conversations and discussions regarding their work, their stories, and their communities, with live Q&A sessions following each event.

Those who purchase general admission tickets will receive a link to join the live session and also receive a recording of the conversation following the event.

This installation of ACCENTED: Dialogues in Diaspora is in collaboration with PIVOT – The Progressive Vietnamese American Organization and UNAVSA – The Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations will feature a multigenerational conversation between diasporic Vietnamese artists, activists, and advocates on their personal processes of politicization, the current Vietnamese American political landscape and civic and political engagement in Vietnamese America. Guests will explore the intersection of art, activism, and advocacy in their own work and share strategies for how we can heed a call-to-action for our community in 2020 and beyond.

About the Guests:

Thi Bui was born in Vietnam and came to the United States in 1978 as part of the “boat people” wave of refugees fleeing Southeast Asia at the end of the Vietnam War. Her debut graphic memoir, The Best We Could Do (Abrams ComicArts, 2017) has been selected for an American Book Award, a Common Book for UCLA and other colleges and universities, an all-city read by Seattle and San Francisco public libraries, a National Book Critics Circle finalist in autobiography, and an Eisner Award finalist in reality-based comics. It made over thirty best of 2017 book lists, including Bill Gates’ top five picks. She illustrated the picture book, A Different Pond, written by the poet Bao Phi (Capstone, 2017), for which she won a Caldecott Honor. With her son, she co-illustrated the children’s book, Chicken of the Sea (McSweeney’s, 2019), written by Pulitzer winner Viet Thanh Nguyen and his son, Ellison. Her short comics can be found online at The Nib, PEN America, and BOOM California. She is currently researching and drawing a work of graphic nonfiction about immigrant detention and deportation, to be published by One World, Random House.

Tung Nguyen, MD is the Stephen J. McPhee, MD Endowed Chair in General Internal Medicine and Professor of Medicine ( at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He is a practicing general internist and an educator. Dr. Nguyen has conducted community-based participatory research (CBPR) with Asian American populations including Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Korean, and Vietnamese Americans on cancer control, tobacco control, hepatitis B and C screening, nutrition and physical activity, and end-of-life care. Dr. Nguyen is Director of the Asian American Research Center on Health (, Program Leader of the Cancer Control Program at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer (, and UCSF School of Medicine Dean’s Diversity Leader ( Dr. Nguyen came to the U.S. in 1975 at the age of 10 as a refugee. He graduated from Harvard College and Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Nguyen served as Commissioner on President Barack Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) from 2011 to 2014 and as the Chair of the Commission from 2014 to 2017. Dr. Nguyen co-founded the AAPI Victory Fund (, the first SuperPAC that aimed at mobilizing AAPI voters using a data-driven precision approach.Along with President Obama’s other AAPI political appointees, Dr. Nguyen founded AAPI Progressive Action (, a national 501c4 whose mission is to engage and empower Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for a just and diverse America. He also is President of PIVOT – The Progressive Vietnamese American Organization (, a similar 501c4 for Vietnamese Americans civic and political engagement.

Tram T. Nguyen is the Massachusetts State Representative of the 18th Essex District. She is a first generation Vietnamese-American immigrant and was the first person in her family to attend college and law school. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Tufts University and a Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law. From the start of her legal career until she took office, Nguyen worked at Greater Boston Legal Services as a legal aid attorney and advocated for domestic violence survivors, workers, seniors, veterans, and children. She also engaged in legislative advocacy and worked with statewide coalitions, lawmakers, and lawmaking bodies to push for laws that address issues of racial and economic justice and protect the rights of the most vulnerable populations. Nguyen was elected into office in November 2018 and is the first Vietnamese American woman in elected office in the Commonwealth, the first Vietnamese American elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and the first Asian American on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators. She has received the Lawrence Bar Association Merit Award, the Vietnamese American Bar Association Public Service Award, the Reginald Heber Smith Award for innovation and excellence in legal advocacy, and the UAW Social Justice Award.

About the Host:
Viet Thanh Nguyen is the author of The Sympathizer, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, The Refugees, and Race and Resistance: Literature, Politics and Asian America. His most recent book was Chicken of the Sea, done with his son Ellison. His next book is The Committed, the sequel to The Sympathizer.DVAN is partnering with Eastwind Books of Berkeley for all book sales and shipping, and books from featured authors will be available on for a discounted price.

All funds raised for ACCENTED will go towards supporting DVAN’s mission to promote voices and stories of the Vietnamese and Southeast Asian diaspora and connect them to diasporic communities all over the globe.This program is sponsored by the DVAN@SFSU Project of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University.

For more information about PIVOT – The Progressive Vietnamese American Organization please visit or follow PIVOT on Facebook and Instagram (@pivotorg)

For more information about UNAVSA – The Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations please visit or follow UNAVSA on Facebook and Instagram (@unavsa)

For more information about the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN) please visit our website at or follow us on Instagram (@weare_dvan)

DVAN believes that the stories, imaginaries, and poetics of a thriving Vietnamese diaspora can unite our global community. Our mission is to celebrate and foster diasporic Vietnamese voices. DVAN presents nonfiction, fiction, and poetry to empower Vietnamese artists in the diaspora and to promote understanding and dialogue within our community, and with others. Our complex and diverse stories must be championed and passed on to current and future generations. We are refugees, immigrants, survivors, and descendants, and our stories must be heard.

Category: Events


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