The Sống Collective was founded by Việt Theatre artists: Carolina Đỗ (she/her), David Lee Huynh (he/him), and Jonathan Castanien (he/him), in the spring of 2019 as a response to the United States’ sharp cuts to refugee resettlement in the face of a global refugee crisis. We felt it was morally irresponsible to be the children of refugees and not recognize the similar situation these people were going through in America’s cycle of imperialism and culpable amnesia.
Our first event was a pop-up reading of Vietgone by Qui Nguyen in a vacant storefront downtown, organized to benefit the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR), a nonprofit organization that works to defend and expand the rights of all immigrants and refugees, regardless of immigration status. From the moment we opened the doors, a community full of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color heard our call and came together to support us. At the end of the night, the question on everyone’s lips was, “what’s next?”
The word “sống” in Vietnamese means “to live”. It encompasses the fight for survival our families went through after being forced to escape from their ancestral lands and relocate elsewhere. It acknowledges that life contains a myriad of experiences, ideas, and points of view that should be honored and celebrated in its intersectionality.