Oakland’s VietUnity Announced as 2013 Torchlight Prize Winner

Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — VietUnity, a community group created to empower progressive Vietnamese American organizers come together to better organize Vietnamese communities in the U.S., was today announced as a winner of the 2013 Torchlight Prize, awarded each year to up to four community groups by the national nonprofit, Family Independence Initiative.

VietUnity was created in 2004 to support the leadership of Vietnamese youth, workers, and families to improve their lives and organize for justice within their communities. The group uses alliance building, education, organizing, and collective action to bring together all layers of the Vietnamese community to fight against racism and imperialism for an equitable society. Currently, VietUnity’s main project is a training school for Vietnamese progressives on organizing theories and practices to build collective work on local issues while making connections to a larger progressive grassroots movement for social justice.

The Torchlight Prize was established in 2012 to recognize and invest in self-organized groups of families, friends, and community members who have come together in meaningful ways to strengthen their communities. Each Torchlight Prize winner exemplifies Family Independence Initiative’s belief that powerful, sustainable, and relevant results can be created for families and communities when everyday people work together by pooling ideas, resources, and efforts to create positive change in their own communities.

“It’s a great honor to receive the support we need to help sustain VietUnity’s grassroots organizing work through the Torchlight Prize,” said VietUnity core member, Kathy Huynh. “The Torchlight prize contributes to VietUnity’s ability to be a stronger resource for our community.”

“We recognize and congratulate this year’s Torchlight Prize winners not only for their innovative approaches to building their communities but also for their unwavering passion and commitment to address some of the most pressing issues facing our nation,” said Mauricio Lim Miller, founder and chief executive officer, Family Independence Initiative. “The spirit of community collaboration to drive impactful change is as alive today as ever, and these groups are perfect examples.”

Torchlight Prize winners are chosen by a selection committee comprised of leaders from the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. The 2013 selection committee includes: Mauricio Lim Miller, founder and CEO, Family Independence Initiative; Michele Jolin, managing partner with America Achieves and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress; Patty Stonsifer, president and CEO, Martha’s Table; Charles Ogletree, a Jesse Climenko professor of law at Harvard Law School and founder and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School; Wes Moore, youth advocate, author, and host of “Beyond Belief” on the Oprah Winfrey Network; and Daniel Boggan, former senior vice president and chief operating officer, National Collegiate Athletic Association.

To learn more about VietUnity and the other three winners of this year’s Torchlight Prize, visit http://www.TorchlightPrize.org. To request an interview with VietUnity, please contact Arron Neal at 213-568-3334 or arron(at)cfoxcommunications(dot)com.


Family Independence Initiative established the Torchlight Prize in 2012 to recognize and invest in groups of families, friends, and community members who have come together in meaningful ways to strengthen their communities. To be considered for the annual award, a group’s origins must be informal, and not initiated by an organization, nonprofit, or government program or service. In addition, winners must demonstrate a positive impact on their community, and they must live and act in the United States. The Prize is named after the Freedman’s Torchlight, one of the nation’s first black newspapers established in Weeksville, a self-sufficient and thriving community built by African Americans, for African Americans in New York before emancipation. Previous winners include Iu Mein Community, Club Social Infantil, and Black Dot Collective.




Arron Neal

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