In the 1970s and 1980s, Westminster became home to a large number of Vietnamese refugees who revitalized the area by establishing new businesses and services, creating the Little Saigon neighborhood. Little Saigon continues to thrive as a place to live and work, and as a cultural focal point and symbol of community. Little Saigon Stories seeks to preserve the experiences of Orange County’s Vietnamese American community.
How We Got Here
Hugh Nguyen discusses Little Saigon as a cultural center and stresses the importance of remembering the struggles faced by members of the Vietnamese American community in coming to America.
We Wanted Freedom
Hugh Nguyen remembers coming to America as a child and reflects on his love of visiting the local Vietnamese American community and the sense of honor he feels to serve as a public servant.
A Second Home
Dr. Thanh Cung recalls his first visit to Westminster and discusses why Little Saigon is a “second home” away from Vietnam.
Treasure This Community
Dr. Thanh Cung on the growth of Little Saigon since the 1970s and its importance to the Vietnamese-American community.
Just One Good School
Son Nguyen recalls growing up in Westminster and shares his wish for better educational opportunities in the Little Saigon area.
Still A Lot of Tensions
Uyen Hoang remembers family gatherings at garage parties and discusses the Vietnamese-American community’s resilience in the face of challenges. Recorded Jun. 8, 2022; Fountain Valley Library, Fountain Valley, CA.
Those Little Immigrants
Thien Nguyen recalls his early impressions of the United States as a recent immigrant and expresses his gratitude for opportunities that have allowed Vietnamese immigrants to become successful in America. Recorded Mar. 2, 2022; Westminster Library, Westminster, CA.
California Is the Place to Be
Vincent Tran discusses the development of Little Saigon and the importance of the “Vietnamese Daily News” in the establishment of the community. Recorded Jun. 15, 2022; Fountain Valley Library, Fountain Valley, CA.
A Place That Carries An Identity
Supervisor Andrew Do discusses the early development of Little Saigon and Orange County. And reflects on the growth of the community and local business.
Look At History
Dr. Chau Ton That discusses his early years arriving in Orange County. And reflects on Vietnamese cuisine, language, and cultural history.
Open Their Doors and Welcome Us
Paul Hoang discusses mental health services and their utilization among Vietnamese Americans. He also reflects on the impact of community and how we all find ways to connect.
Sense of Community
Paul Hoang discusses the importance of Little Saigon and its ability to bring people from all walks of life together.
Tam Nguyen discusses evolution of Little Saigon throughout the years and how each new generation has contributed to its growth.
Differences Become Things of Strength
Tam Nguyen reflects on the history of the region and challenges Vietnamese Americans face in todays society.
We Have A Landmark
Dr. Charles Nguyen discusses his family background and their journey from Vietnam to the United States. He also reflects on the impact of Vietnamese cuisine and its popularity in mainstream society.
Kathy Buchoz is the former mayor of Westminster and discusses the history of the Asian Garden Mall in Little Saigon. She reflects on the development of the shopping center and its importance to the Vietnamese American community.
Viet Pham is the owner of the Recess Room in Fountain Valley. He reflects on the growth of Little Saigon and the role of entrepreneurs in the Vietnamese American community.
New Life With A New Generation
Sophak Ok is a marketing consultant and frequently takes his family to the Asian Garden Mall during his spare time. He discusses his experience living in Little Saigon since the late nineties and the continuing development of the region.
Exercise Your Civic Duty
Van Tran serves as the chief of staff for Supervisor Andrew Do. He discusses his journey from Vietnam to the United States and highlights the importance of being civic-minded for the good of the community at large.
I Think Of Family
Thanh Huynh has been a lifelong resident of Little Saigon. He discusses the significance of Vietnamese cuisine and the strong ties to family.
Build Up Relationships
Diedre Thu-Ha Nguyen is the former mayor pro tem for the city of Westminster. She reflects on the experience of the second wave of Vietnamese immigrants to Little Saigon and discusses the evolution of the region throughout the past several decades.
Thien Doan is a graduate of UCI and owns a company that creates the infrastructure for e-sports competitions at various school districts. He discusses his time growing up in Little Saigon and the impact it had on his future.
Where We Come From
Quyen Le works for the Project Vietnam Foundation which focuses on providing clinical care to the Little Saigon Community. She discusses her childhood and strong relationship to Little Saigon.
This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this video do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.