Recently, there have been a lot of discussion, discourse, and at times, heated debate, about the impact and inclusion of refugees and immigrants to the United States. We at the Vietnamese Friendship Association (VFA) want to reaffirm our commitment, mission and values.
VFA stands in support of welcoming refugees of all backgrounds, including Syrian refugees, to Washington State. We are proud and appreciate that Washington has been and will continue to be a state that welcomes those fleeing persecution and war, regardless of religious affiliation. These are values that VFA’s board, staff and community share.
VFA was formed in the 1970s to respond to short-term resettlement needs facing Vietnamese refugees in Seattle. At the time, Washington State was among the first in the United States to welcome and resettle Vietnamese refugees—an act of kindness and compassion we have not forgotten. As the Vietnamese community grew and matured in Washington State, VFA refocused our mission to serve other refugee and immigrant communities in education, civic engagement and early learning.
Today, VFA serves nearly 200 refugee and immigrant youth each year. These students speak over 20 different languages and represent numerous countries, cultures and faiths from around the world. Students who have participated in VFA’s programs have increased their academic achievement, graduated from high school and college, and have found ways to give back to our community through service and leadership.
VFA believes refugees and immigrants are assets that strengthen the social, cultural and economic fabric of Washington and the United States. We welcome all efforts that make our community, state and country more inclusive and diverse.