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Pictures of the 2013 Tet Parade in Little Saigon

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I passed dozens of mobile homes as I drew close to today’s 2013 Orange County Tet Parade – a massive celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year, in Little Saigon.  I finally arrived at Bushard St. and found a parking spot in a residential neighborhood, then walked less than a mile to the east side of the parade grandstand, on Bolsa Ave.  There were crowds already forming – a mix of young children and their parents, and many older Vietnamese Americans too.

Unbeknownst to me, the gay activists who caused so much angst this week by suing the parade organizers, after they were banned from marching in the parade, had set up west of the grandstand.  A few of the politicians who participated in the parade stopped by, according to media reports, to talk to the activists.  One of the elected officials, RSCCD Trustee Jose Solorio, climbed out of his car and refused to go any further, opting to stay with the protesters. 

Most local Democratic elected officials skipped the parade, but Assemblyman Tom Daly was there and although he did stop by to visit with the gay activists, he also participated in the parade. Click here to see pictures I took of the politicians who were there as well as a summary of who did and didn’t show up today.  The entire Santa Ana City Council snubbed our Vietnamese American residents but the Garden Grove City Council was there.

The parade was full of reminders of the sad loss of South Vietnam, but there was pride too as many survivors of the Vietnam War marched in the parade, often in full military uniform.

The parade also featured local high school marching bands, including the nearby La Quinta High School.  There were also entire troupes of martial arts students, from various disciplines, and the customary dragons and traditional performers.  And there were floats, as you can see in the slideshow above.

The parade stretched from 9 am to past 11 am, along Bolsa Ave., from Magnolia to Bushard St.  Many in the crowd munched on food purchased from local restaurants – Lee’s Sandwiches chief among them.  I stopped by a Lee’s after the parade and was amazed that I could buy a sandwich and a large Thai Iced Tea for less than seven dollars.

This was most definitely a family event and the politicians who were there got some great exposure to a community that votes in every election.

 
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9 Comments  comments 

9 Responses

  1. Laura Kanter

    Does anybody know who wrote this article for the New Santa Ana? Would anyone like to help the writer with some of the facts, as she/he clearly made up their own version of what happened today. In fact, this writer’s description is so blatantly distorted, it can only be described as propaganda. The only thing accurate about the writer’s description of our presence was to use the word angry to describe us, as in “There was no hint of this week’s angry reaction by gay activists whose organizations were not allowed to march in the parade.” I guess the writer can say she/he is not lying; there were no angry gay activists present. What the writer failed to mention was that there were at least 500 hundred Vietnamese LGBT folks and allies, who responded to their exclusion from the parade with a colorful and graceful demonstration that reflected the Vietnamese values of respect and unity. The contingency included families with children and many older Vietnamese too. The Viet LGBT contingency and allies, waving American, Vietnamese AND RAINBOW flags and signs that said things like “We Support Every One, Love, Respect, and Unity” in both English and Vietnamese, lined half a block on the sidewalk and up the embankment behind it. As the LA Times reported “The Rancho Alamitos Vaqueros marching band, from Garden Grove, performed a special number for the LGBT groups. Children waved South Vietnamese flags, clapping along.” (I saw it with my own two eyes.) As far as politicians the writer overlooked, Assemblyman Tom Daly got out of his car, shook hands with folks from the LGBT group, and waved a rainbow flag. Westminster Councilwoman Diana Carey carried a rainbow flag in solidarity as well. And finally, one of the boldest demonstrations of support came from State Assembly, Rancho Community College District Trustee Jose Solorio, who got out of his car, took a rainbow flag from a demonstrator, and used the flag to wave his car on without him, as he joined the Viet LGBT contingency and allies. The fact is that the glorious presence of the LGBT contingency could not be overlooked. The statement they made so beautifully and with so much wonderful color, is that they will not be excluded from their own community, even if excluded from a parade. Their exclusion by the hateful organizers resulted in placing them at the heart of the parade, and they rose to the occasion with dignity and strength. I do completely agree with the writer, however, that “This was most definitely a family event and the politicians who were there got some great exposure to a community that votes in every election.” Yep. We are making a list too. And we will remember who stood on the side of justice, even if the writer and photographer did not see us.

    I have pictures too – if the writer would like to add some that were taken from the other side of the street.

    Shameful.

  2. Laura Kanter

    In addition to the LA Times, OC Register, NBC News, ABC News and many many more, Chris Prevatt also took note: http://www.theliberaloc.com/2013/02/10/rain-did-fall-on-tet-parade-but-political-courage-ruled-the-day/

    • I know him. He ran for the Garden Grove City Council in 2002 and got 6% of the vote. And he then moved to Long Beach.

      You guys did not do a damn thing to help raise money to hold this parade. All you did was try to hijack it for your own purposes.

      I am all for gay rights but I don’t support the extremists you represent. This was a community event – controversial political groups did not belong here and I am glad your organizations were banned from marching in the parade.

      • What extremists would that be, Mr. Pedroza? People in the community who wish to celebrate as part of that community? I’m not exactly a parade guy (four years of marching band made me hate the things), but that’s not hijacking, it’s community spirit and normal parade involvement.

        And what controversial political group are you talking about? I’m seeing pictures of a man holding a sign that says “I support my lesbian sister.” Is he part of controversial political group? What about the lady holding the “Love is the way” sign? Is she controversial?

        As for money, does the committee have a pay-to-play rule, or is this an unwritten understanding that X dollars must change hands before a group’s worth is valued? Did the other groups that were allowed to be in the parade contribute financially? Are you really sure you want to go down this road?

        • There were quite a few parade entrants who were obvious sponsors but the point is that the parade very nearly did not happen, after it was dumped by the City of Westminster. That it happened at all was due to the hard work of volunteers that pointedly did NOT include any of the gay groups in question. They happily did NOTHING to help this parade happen then they showed up and demanded to be allowed to hijack it. No thanks!

          You want to be included? Then act like it! March in the parade like everyone else, as part of community groups. There is no need to do this as in your face gay extremists!

          Demanding to be accepted is not going to help you be accepted. That is a reality.

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