"Compassion Gave Us a Special Superpower": Vietnamese Women Leaders, Reeducation Camps, and the Politics of Family Reunification, 1977–1991

Title"Compassion Gave Us a Special Superpower": Vietnamese Women Leaders, Reeducation Camps, and the Politics of Family Reunification, 1977–1991
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsVong, Sam
JournalJournal of Women's History
Volume30
Issue3
Pagination107-131
Date PublishedFall 2018
Abstract

This article traces the history of the Families for Vietnamese Political Prisoners Association (FVPPA), a community organization formed and led by Vietnamese women in Virginia. Founded as a self-help group in 1977 to offer support for women whose male relatives were detained in reeducation camps after the Vietnam War, the FVPPA grew into a national organization boasting more than one thousand members. This article tells the story of how Khuc Minh Tho, president of the FVPPA, and her all-female team spearheaded a campaign to free reeducation camp prisoners and reunite their families. The FVPPA propelled the politically sensitive issue of reeducation camp prisoners onto the national stage by mobilizing community members, lobbying officials and humanitarian organizations, and politicizing family separation. In showing how Vietnamese women crafted social networks and fashioned their own political identities, this article reconsiders the role that Vietnamese women have played as community organizers, diplomats, and political leaders. [Project MUSE]

URLhttps://muse.jhu.edu/article/702625
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7828309456

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