Progressive Viet Group Hiring Canvassers At $22 An Hour To Organize Little Saigon Mobile Home Parks

By:Matthew Cunningham

A progressive-Left advocacy group, VietRise, is recruiting canvassers at $22 an hour for a six-week organizing campaign targeting mobile home parks in Little Saigon, as a possible prelude to a rent control push in Westminster and Garden Grove.

VietRise was part of the coalition of progressive advocacy groups that successfully pushed for a draconian rent control ordinance in Santa Ana.

In a post on its Twitter account, VietRise advertises for paid canvassers who will fan out to Little Saigon mobile home parks to “inform Vietnamese mobile home residents of their rights and & connect them to resources provided by local non-profits & agencies. We aim to equip mobile home residents, especially those facing rent hikes & eviction, with tools to advocate for & defend themselves.”

Little Saigon is the famous Vietnamese ethnic enclave straddling the cities of Westminster and Garden Grove. There are 13 mobile home parks in Garden Grove and 17 in Westminster. It’s unclear which ones are in Little Saigon.

The organizing campaign is slated to run from May 2 through June 7 and will encompass mobile home parks in Garden Grove, Stanton, Midway City, Santa Ana, and Westminster. Canvassers are required to subscribe to VietRise’s political philosophy.

The VietRise tweet offers a glimpse into the hidden hands of left-leaning non-profits that are often organizing ostensibly grass roots pressure campaigns in Orange County cities.

Beyond their ostensible short-term goals, organizing campaigns like this enable groups like VietRise to establish connections with voters and build voter databases that can be used for get-out-the-vote campaigns in the 2024 elections. Prior to founding VietRise, executive director Tracy La “developed a countywide electoral campaign that engaged 24,000 youth of color for OC’s three major congressional races.” La is also a left-wing Democrat activist. Two years ago, La and VietRise senior organizer Vincent Tran campaigned to be delegates to the California Democratic Party on the “Party of the People” slate, running on a platform of defunding the police and abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

VietRise was founded in 2018 and is a “fiscal sponsorship” of the Korean Resource Center (KRC), a larger, more established progressive-Left advocacy group. In practice, grants intended to VietRise activities are given to the KRC and earmarked for VietRise:

$20,000 grant to VietRise from the Women’s Foundation of California in 2020.

According to the KRC’s most recent Form 990, VietRise is described as the Korean Resource Center’s “Vietnamese organizing project” whose mission to “advance social justice” and “build leadership and create systematic change through organizing, shifting narratives, cultural empowerment and civic engagement.”

In 2019, a year after its creation, VietRise had revenues of $367,241 and spent $285,492. Since VietRise does not files its own Form 990, determining how it allocates spending is problematic.

Organizing mobile home residents isn’t a new vein in progressive efforts to cultivate traditionally conservative Vietnamese-American voters. Orange County Grantmakers – sort of a coordinating body for the heavily left-leaning “philanthropic” community – has been hosting a “Beyond Equity” series of seminars.

The first took place on March 23. Although ostensibly focused on the larger Vietnamese experience in Orange County, one of the presenters was Son Do, a retired custodian and now representative of OCMHRC (the acronym isn’t spelled out), presenting about the successful effort he led to prevent the conversion of the Green Lantern Village mobile home park in Westminster into other housing.

While the Vietnamese experience in Orange County encompasses decades and a panoply of events, this series had a very specific focus:

The other presenters were La and another VietRise staffer head organizer Vincent Tran, as well as Thuy Vo Dang, a left-wing UCLA academic and co-author of A People’s Guide to Orange County, an “alternative tour guide that documents sites of oppression, resistance, struggle, and transformation in Orange County, California.”

Orange County Grantmakers did not include any presenter from a conservative perspective; the expressed purpose of the event was to explore “how the framework of joint struggle can be used to build solidarity and advance social, racial, and economic justice.”


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