Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman Andrew Do Friday criticized a group of Democrats for holding an event for Black April, which memorializes the Fall of Saigon that ended the Vietnam War.

Do claimed the timing and partisanship of the event was offensive.

Rep. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, who attended the event in Westminster last Friday, defended its timing and said every day is an appropriate day to remember the event that prompted thousands of refugees, including Do, to flee the country in 1975.

“No one ever does it before” April 30, Do told City News Service. “You don’t do that in a city where the statue is located and built by the city of Westminster.”

Do said he was also offended that the event at Freedom Park “excluded most of the elected leaders from the area. It became a staged event. It is not a commemoration. If it is a commemoration then the community should be participating, not lackeys who support those (organizers).”

Do was also angered that the event was done without a permit from the city, which has prohibited gatherings at the park to commemorate the 46th anniversary of the fall of Saigon due to concerns with the spread of COVID-19.

“They should also be obeying city regulations in terms of permits and COVID safety measures,” Do said.

“This morning (Westminster Mayor Tri Ta) and I did a quiet wreath-laying event — just the two of us,” Do said. “That’s how you show respect.”

Do added, “For a bunch of people who are always quick to call people out for cultural misappropriation, I don’t know what you would call this but cultural misappropriation. Let me go to Santa Ana and do a Cinco de Mayo event in June and see how far that flies. As a Vietnamese-American I am offended. To make it a staged event and to not bother to do it on the right day and invite the community is unacceptable.”

In a news release, Ta said, “During these difficult times, we as a community must come together in unity, both in spirit and action, instead of holding gatherings with partisan motives while ignoring the health guidelines of the very city in which the event is held. This conduct is especially condemnable when it is done by politicians from the same political party, disregarding the constituents’ desire for bipartisanship and collaboration from their elected representatives.”

Correa added, “I think we commemorate the Fall of Saigon 365 days a year. You don’t remember it for just one day… I fail to see the point. Everybody should fight for human rights in Vietnam as well as all around the world.”

Correa joined Reps. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, and Michelle Steel, R-Huntington Beach, in a resolution recognizing the 46th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon. The three congressional representatives have a portion of the Little Saigon community in their districts.

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