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LA's Jane Fonda Day being moved after outrage from Vietnamese American lawmakers

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is moving Jane Fonda Day to another date following criticism from Vietnamese American politicians and other lawmakers. 

But it wasn't just the board's decision to honor the actress-activist — it was the particular day they chose.

When they announced it, Jane Fonda Day was described by county supervisors as a tribute to her climate activism as it would occur during "Earth Month." But a little over a week later, the board announced it would change the date to another in April "out of respect for the community voices who have spoken up." The change is set to be made official during a meeting Tuesday.

The board made its decision after receiving a letter spearheaded by Tri Ta, a Republican Assemblyman in Orange County who emigrated to the U.S. with his parents from Saigon, Vietnam. A bipartisan effort signed by 17 other California lawmakers, the letter called the decision to name April 30 Jane Fonda Day "an affront to the service and sacrifice of American and South Vietnamese soldiers who gave everything in the cause of freedom."   

Fonda was famously photographed sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft during a visit to Hanoi, Vietnam in 1972, an image that drew widespread criticism and led to the nickname "Hanoi Jane," which is referenced in the letter. She later wrote it was the one thing during her visit there "that I will regret to my dying day" and she had gone to the country to oppose the U.S. war there.

April 30 marks the Fall of Saigon, when communist forces took the South Vietnamese capital. The letter describes that date as "a painful closing chapter of the Vietnam War," a solemn day for the Vietnamese American refugee community remembering the 250,000 South Vietnamese lives lost and 58,000 Americans who died. Each year, "Black April" is recognized on April 30. 

"We cannot fathom why the Board of Supervisors would choose this particular day to celebrate Jane Fonda Day," the letter reads.

After the Fall of Saigon, Assemblyman Ta's father spent years in a re-education camp prison for writing books critical of communism. Sen. Janet Nguyen, a fellow refugee of the war, said her uncle was an officer in the South Vietnamese Army taken before his village and executed while her father and mother were jailed after the Fall of Saigon for trying to escape, according to CalMatters.

 "It's a day that we mourn," Nguyen told CalMatters.

The letter also describes Fonda's condemnation of the U.S. military during local radio appearances as offensive and calls her a "communist propaganda mouthpiece." Fonda has suggested she was manipulated into the 1972 photo and may have been "used."

"There is one thing that happened while in North Vietnam that I will regret to my dying day," she wrote on her 2011 website of the image. "If I was used, I allowed it to happen. It was my mistake and I have paid and continue to pay a heavy price for it."

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