Agent Orange justice delegation hits Bay Area

Activists on behalf of Vietnam’s Agent Orange victims visited Oakland’s Laney College this afternoon, and will hold a public forum tomorrow in San Francisco.

Agent Orange, a defoliant widely used by the U.S. military to clear terrain during the Vietnam War, contains dioxin – a toxic substance has brought sickness and death to many who live or served in Vietnam.

Pham The MinhPham The Minh, 33, whose parents were exposed to Agent Orange, was born after the war with deformed lower limbs and other health problems; his younger sister suffers congenital heart and lung disease. Having gone to Paris a year ago to testify at an international tribunal, he was accompanied to Laney today by Nguyen Thi Hien, a member of the central committee of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin.

The Bay Area is their last stop on a national tour – with previous visits to Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Washington, D.C., and Bellingham, Wash. – to focus attention on grassroots and legislative efforts to provide help to victims in Vietnam, and to children of U.S. veterans who were exposed to the chemical.

They’ll hold a public talk at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, May 14, in room 223 of the War Memorial Veterans Building, 401 Van Ness Ave. (at McAllister Street) in San Francisco. They’ll be joined there by Paul Cox, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of Vietnam who recently took part in a fact-finding mission to Vietnam on the continuing impacts of Agent Orange, and by Merle Ratner, co-chair of the Vietnam Agent Orange Responsibility and Relief Campaign.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.