The Việtnamese community, especially that of Queer and Trans, has been forced to live in fear and silence due to the repercussions of the U.S. war in Southeast Asia. A disproportionate number of Vietnamese immigrants struggle to assimilate due to racism and systemic oppression. While intergenerational relationships have been weakened by war trauma, language barriers, and cultural differences, Queer and Trans (QT) Việtnamese Americans find it particularly challenging to heal from the compacted trauma of war and marginalized identity. We found QTViệt Cafe as an opportunity to collectively heal and raise our voices against prejudice, systemic oppression, and marginalization of the Vietnamese immigrant and QTViệt community. By bringing Queer and Trans Vietnamese children back into the kitchen with our elders, we create a safe space for QTViệts to gather, speak out, and honor our rich cultural traditions and stories.
Our work is a production of many hearts, minds, and hands, centered in Queer and Trans Vietnamese narratives. As a collective, we work together year-round to provide delicious Việtnamese food at pop-up events, Intergenerational Feast of Resistance during Tet (Lunar New Year), and “Paris by Night” arts showcase for QTViệt artists to perform and speak their truths. Our collective grows as our roots deep and stretch. There’s a place for everyone to experience QTViệt Cafe as a collective member, a kitchen volunteer, or an audience participant. We invite you to engage with us wherever your heart calls.
The main pillars of the QTViệt Cafe are to create a space where, as QTViệts, we are able to remember, honor, and practice the relationships our ancestors have with food, land and culture; provide an unapologetic platform for and by QTViệt artists and witnessing each other brilliancy and non-binary existence, and participating in worker owner model to support socially just, ecologically sustainable economic solutions.
The initial seed grant from TPP provides us the capacity to continue putting on our annual community events. We are able to manifest our ideas and vision into reality and the community are ready and want more. We now have a supportive network of elders for the Queer Trans Viet community and a larger support system. This larger grant follow up award will support us in building out our capacity to increase our present in the community on a regular basis in addition to our annual community event. This grant allow us to work with our collaborator to create an infrastructure that align with our vision for economic justice.