I, for One, Welcome Our Gingko Nut Overlords

VietLEAD Executive Director Nancy Nguyen was arrested last Thursday evening at her home, in what appears to be Federal retaliation for leading a protest in Virginia against top ICE official, Tony Pham. The bogus charges for which the Philadelphia Police Department was authorized to arrest Nancy, implied trespassing and littering. 

Nancy has been released on her own recognizance but the fight isn’t over. 

I’m honored to know Nancy as a peer, and we have board members working to support her with resources in a mounting legal event (you can continue to donate to her legal defense fund HERE). It’s important that we share what has happened, as widely as possible, not just to help her and protect ourselves, but to make clear that we condemn the actions of the grossly overstepping police department and federal authorities, in the strongest terms possible. 

Nancy’s also the chair of the AAPI subcommittee for Philly Counts/Census 2020 and I know she’d tell you to turn that census survey in while you can, not just because Asian Americans have historically had very poor Census turnouts, but to enter for a chance to win our Unity at the Initiative T-shirt, designed by Jeffrey Cheung, and a $5 gift certificate to Mr. Wish. :B

In other news, crisp Autumn air buoys Gingko nuts falling from their golden boughs, and that can mean only one thing: school’s in session [and my daily commute entails following a gauntlet of Gingko odors back to our building]. We continue to usher the joyous roars of small children getting their school on in the gallery that’s been converted to an education access center. When I returned to the building last week, I have to say, the sight of happy children brought a tear to my eye. [Woof. I really hope it is just Gingko nuts I’m smelling. Did you know Gingko nuts are really good for you? Yeah, if you handle the fruit with gloves and toast the pit inside, you can extract a delicious nut fruit that’s good for your health. Like all the best things in life, this is an old Asian fact.]

If you come by 1219 Vine Street you’ll also notice a beautiful new interactive planter, designed and engineered by Filipinx couple Nicky and Omar, aka Bahay 215, brought to you by the Rail Park Tire Swingers program. The Pinoy inspired floral installation includes a musical instrument activated by hand or raindrops. Yes, RAINDROPS!

It’s a lovely interjection to the chaos of 2020. Please do swing by.

So thanks to our friends and partners, intrepid staff and building crew, we’re looking at some wonderful new uses for the block, our theater, gallery and event halls. We may not be able to convene at the caliber of a rave but we can certainly meet at the volume of a tasteful event, and I look forward to sharing those invitations with you in our next newsletters.

In a nutshell: Nancy Nguyen rules, the police don’t, and Ginkgo nuts can teach us all to appreciate that what’s good for us sometimes requires a little bit of working with an assy odor. Know that I’m right there with you, deep in the smell.

Anne