In a time and country where people seem so divided, a multigenerational group of passionate Vietnamese-American professionals are volunteering to bring their community together through a website that shines a light on questioning what is true and what is false, and to inspire having conversations around different perspectives. VietFactCheck/ ViệtKiểmTin is a bilingual website that shows research to validate or invalidate popular rumors circulating social media. It was an effort started over the summer by volunteers with PIVOT…. “We want to inspire fruitful conversation around topics that have been conversation blockers, because no one could agree on,” said one of the key volunteers.
Generally speaking, the older generation of Vietnamese, those who came to the US as teenagers or adults, tend to vote more conservatively while the younger generation, in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are more progressive. “Our goal is not to convert people to being Democrats. It is to help different generations talk across these differences,” said Diep Tran, managing editor of VietFactCheck.
While they know that most of the people viewing the website are in their 20s and 30s, presumably these Americans who do not read Vietnamese, the most downloaded articles are Vietnamese language. The website encourages readers to share this with their parents. The most popular articles are about understanding communism, US-China policy, and the history of Democratic support for Vietnamese refugees.
It is not just reading the content that is creating cross generation bridges. The 40 volunteers who make up the team of translators, writers, editors, fact-checkers, social media marketers also range in age.
“This is the first time I’ve ever worked with my parents. I don’t think that my parents thought I accepted my heritage until I started working on this website,” said Nick Nguyen, research lead for VietFactCheck. The younger volunteers bring their technical skills and their careful approach to planning a project. The older volunteers are able to share their direct experience of the Vietnam War and their deep knowledge of subtle cultural nuances and grasp of the Vietnamese language. Both young and old inspire one another and learn from each other.
Even the volunteers enlist their parents to help them with quick translations. “I got my father and uncle to test the website when we first built it,” said a volunteer.
There are 10 new inquiries each week from those who want to volunteer. The team is still looking for more translators. The site has produced nearly 60 articles, half of which are in Vietnamese and the other half in English. Check out the articles here.