Members of the Vietnamese American Community Council of Oklahoma City and its Vicinity organized two fundraising efforts to raise money for the May tornado victims.
The first phase involved sending letters to the 15,000 to 17,000 Vietnamese-Americans in Oklahoma, and others who live across the nation, chairman Vinh Nguyen said. From that effort more than $20,000 was raised.
The group then organized in June a musical performance and dance program at the activities center of St. Andrew Dung-Lac Catholic Church. Eight artists from Asia Entertainment Center in California entertained with Vietnamese and American songs, donating their performances.
Leyna Nguyen, a CNN News reporter, was one of the masters of ceremonies for the program.
Also in attendance was Jennifer Doan, a teacher at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, who used her body to shield students during the May 20 tornado.
The council decided the $129,510 raised from the combined efforts will be donated to Moore Public Schools.
“We appreciate very much the kindness of the Vietnamese people here — in this city, in this state and around the nation,” Vinh Nguyen said.
The council was formed in 1980 to aid fellow Vietnamese when they arrive in Oklahoma. The organization provides help with job searches, helps new immigrants practice their driving skills and offers tutoring for the U.S. citizenship exam.
After Hurricane Katrina, the council raised $30,000 in relief efforts. In addition to charitable events, the organization holds Vietnamese New Year celebrations and a ceremony to remember the fall of Saigon.
Nguyen said membership is not limited to Vietnamese-Americans, and they welcome anyone willing to preserve the culture and sense of community.