LA County to move Jane Fonda Day so it doesn’t fall on Black April, the day of the fall of Saigon

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is expected Tuesday to move Jane Fonda Day to April 8 from the previously proclaimed date of April 30, after backlash from critics and Vietnamese Americans upset over the date’s overlap with Black April.

Commemorating the Fall of Saigon, Black April is observed on April 30 and is a solemn occasion for veterans of the Vietnam War and the 521,100-strong Vietnamese population in California.

The board issued its original Jane Fonda Day proclamation on April 30, with the actress and environmental activist attending to be recognized for her work on behalf of women, the environment and human rights. But the move was quickly met with criticism over her outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War and the U.S. government’s involvement, as well as her trip to North Vietnam in the 1970s.

Assemblyman Tri Ta, R-Westminster, called on the Board of Supervisors in a public comment on May 8 to rescind the proclamation. He authored a letter signed by more than a dozen other legislators and sent to Board of Supervisors Chair Lindsey Horvath, saying, “The pain and hurt caused by this decision will surely cause long-term damage to the Vietnamese refugee community.”

Sen. Janet Nguyen, R-Huntington Beach, wrote a letter to Horvath calling the decision “alarming” and “profoundly disrespectful.”

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The letter called Fonda a “propagandist who supported a Communist agenda in Vietnam,” noting that the actress was infamously labeled “Hanoi Jane” by the community after her trip to North Vietnam in 1972, when she was photographed sitting on an anti-aircraft gun. The move was criticized as anti-American and pro-communist. Fonda later apologized, saying the photographs were a “thoughtless and careless thing to have done.”

Responding to the criticism, Horvath and Supervisor Hilda Solis jointly introduced a motion that the board will consider Tuesday. The motion states, “Out of respect for community voices who have spoken out regarding the historic significance of that date, Los Angeles County will recognize American actor and activist Jane Fonda on April 8 during Earth Month.”

A representative for Horvath told the Los Angeles Times the selection of the original date of April 30 was made solely based on the board’s meeting schedule.

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