HomeAsian AmericansVietnamese lawmakers criticize 'Jane Fonda Day' declaration in L.A.

Vietnamese lawmakers criticize ‘Jane Fonda Day’ declaration in L.A.

Vietnamese lawmakers are criticizing Los Angeles County’s decision to declare the anniversary of the Fall of Saigon on April 30 as “Jane Fonda Day.”

Republican Vietnamese lawmakers and some of their Democratic colleagues say the decision was insensitive. They’re asking for the declaration to be rescinded.

In the 1960s, actress Jane Fonda was incredibly outspoken about her opposition to the Vietnam War. She traveled to North Vietnam to see first-hand how the war was impacting Vietnamese people. While in North Vietnam she was interviewed by North Vietnamese radio stations and photographed sitting on a North Vietnamese antiaircraft gun.

Many Americans and South Vietnamese people, who eventually fled to the United States after the war, criticized Fonda’s actions, arguing that she was aligning herself with communists in the North. They nicknamed her “Hanoi Jane.”

Tri Ta a Republican California assemblymember wrote an Op-Ed for the Los Angeles Times explaining that the anniversary is a day of mourning for many Vietnamese people.

“April 30 is widely recognized as the painful anniversary of the 1975 fall of Saigon, a day that marks the emotional closing chapter of the Vietnam War. Known in the Vietnamese community as ‘Black April,’ it is a day of remembrance when we honor the sacrifices of some 250,000 South Vietnamese and 60,000 American soldiers who gave everything to their cause,” Ta wrote in the Op-Ed.

In the Op-Ed, Ta reiterated the belief many Vietnamese Americans held: that Fonda sympathized with a movement that caused them pain and suffering.

“To have this solemn day overshadowed by the celebration of an individual who openly sympathized with the regime responsible for so much suffering is an insult to the memory of those who perished and those who continue to live with the scars of war. This decision demonstrates a lack of empathy for the Vietnamese diaspora and highlights a need for greater cultural awareness,” Ta wrote.

Ta and Democratic Assemblymember Stephanie Nguyen wrote a letter to the L.A. county supervisor’s asking them to rescind the proclamation, Cal Matters reports. The letter was signed by every Republican assemblymember.

“This honor for Ms. Fonda is an affront to the service and sacrifice of American and South Vietnamese soldiers who gave everything in the cause of freedom,” the letter read, according to Cal Matters.

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