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Miss Cung Hoàng Kim's Speech on Commemoration of BLACK APRIL in Austin, Texas



Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are told to remember the Idea rather than The Man. Because a man can fail. He can be caught, he can be killed and forgotten, but years and years later, an idea can still change the world. You cannot contact an idea, touch it or hold it. Ideas do not bleed, do not feel pain, but they can live on…

38 years have passed since the fall of Saigon and still, we gather here today, commemorating the loss of our beautiful country. And yet, it is probably not so much about the loss of a country territory, but much more about the loss of human rights, freedom, morality, and the pursuit of happiness for the Vietnamese people.


As a 22-year-old college student, graduating from the University of Texas with honors, I'm a very proud Texan and most of all, a very proud Vietnamese American. However, I am very aware my family came to America as a political choice, refugees, and victims of the Vietnamese Communist regime, not for economic pursuits.

Behind a thin, cheap layer of "democracy", Vietnam today carries communist characteristics that well-developed nations like America find hard to believe exists. There isn't any privately owned media – everything including newspapers, television stations, even entertainment is controlled by the government. Self-appointed government "leaders" from the Communist party run the country. And as a result, laws are not enforced, the Vietnamese Communist police and military protect communist party, not the people, and ultimately the citizens suffer.

It is hard for me think girls my age in Vietnam are forced into human trafficking and hard labor. They are trapped in lives full of sexual abuse, starvation, and grueling work – ultimately a life with blood and tears.

On the other hand, I in the states, have the luxury of attending school and doing what I love: being a story teller by reporting on news happening around me. I acknowledge the privilege I have to live here in a free country. But this freedom came at a vast cost. 58 Thousand American Soldiers and 300 Thousand South Vietnamese Soldiers Made The Ultimate Sacrifice for South Vietnam to allow me to stand here before you today. 500 thousand Vietnamese boat people lost their lives at Eastern Sea in an attempt to live like I do today. These men, women, young people, and children fought for An Ideal or Idea, Which Can Never Die.

But what is this Idea? It is a principle of Human Rights, Democracy, Justice, and Freedom. It is giving the people of Vietnam peace of mind and not being absolutely terrified of their current communist government. They are being able sleep safely at night, not having to worry about getting food on the table the next day or being imprisoned because of an Idea of Independence, like former captain of the Republic of Vietnam, Nguyễn Hữu Cầu, Journalist Điếu Cầy Nguyễn Văn Hải, Farmer Đoàn Văn Vương, Singer/Songwriter Việt Khang, Blogger Tạ Phong Tần, female college student Nguyễn Phương Uyên, and the countless others...They are enduring communist prisons because they took a stand to have Basic Human Rights and Independencece in Vietnam against China.

For the younger generation who are born and raised in a free society, freedom is like air. We hardly ever think about it because it is always there. But to the 90 million Vietnamese living in a Communist country, full of oppression and prohibition, Freedom Does Not Exist.

If Anyone Is Obligated to Remember and Defend this Idea, It Is Us, The South Vietnamese Refugees. We must fight to remember this Idea of Liberty and Human Rights because deep down in our hearts, it lives. It Is A Dream Caught On Fire. In the beginning it is a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but then light and flickering… However, as it grows older, it becomes like coals, deep-burning and unquenchable…

Austin, Texas, 4/27/2013

HOÀNG-KIM CUNG, National American Miss 2012-2013




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