By Shaun Boyd
DENVER (CBS4) – As President Donald Trump reversed course on a policy requiring families to be separated at the border, hundreds of Coloradans came together for refugees.
Among those gathered at the State Capitol to celebrate World Refugee Day was Nga Vuong-Sandoval, who held a sign that read “Proud Refugee.”
Vuong-Sandoval and her family were part of the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese who fled the country after the war. She was 3 years old when she arrived at a refugee camp, where her family stayed for a year before coming to Colorado.
She says most families were separated then too. She was lucky. The Republican President then, she says, was very different than the one today.
While much of the country opposed the Vietnamese refugees, “There were signs like gooks go back to where you belong,” said Vuong-Sandoval. President Gerald Ford welcomed them.
“He said ‘These are our children. We need to welcome them here in our country,'” Sandoval said of then-President Ford.
On Wednesday, the roles have flipped. President Trump changed policy only after the country pushed back.
Vuong-Sandoval says they shouldn’t have had to strong arm him to do the right thing, but she says it shows the collective power of community. Still, she says we have a ways to go.
“I had incident just this morning that I can’t believe. Someone came up shouted profanities and basically told me to go back to where I came from,” she said. “Despite that sort of incident there are so many welcoming individuals here and I feel love and support.”
Vuong-Sandoval tells her story all over the state as part of the Colorado Refugee Speakers Bureau. She says they used to get 1-2 requests a month for a speaker, but these days they get 10-20 requests. She believes hearing stories like hers helps open minds.