Viet Fact Check has learned that one of our beloved volunteers, Thang Do, has passed away. Thang was instrumental to the founding of Viet Fact Check. He was the first volunteer to sign up when VFC was just an ad-hoc group without a website. Thang then quickly became a valuable member of the team, able to translate any articles that were sent to him, sometimes within a day. He didn’t just translate, he also suggested articles that VFC should write and pointed out where we could improve in our work, how we could better serve our community.
Aside from being a master translator, Thang also designed and helped construct the Vietnamese American Service Center, a community center in San Jose, CA. Thang was also a co-founder and board member of PIVOT, the parent organization of VFC.
Thang had to step away from VFC last year for health reasons but up until then, he was a steadfast member of the team. The articles he translated are still one of the most-read articles on VietFactCheck.org.
Says VFC co-founder Thanh Tan, “Whether he was in his office, at his bar, some random place or squeezing in a call before/after dinner — anh Thắng would show up in those early virtual meetings to provide any insights he could. Even more critical, he later carved out time in his busy schedule to translate the team’s content from English to Vietnamese – making original and accurate news reporting on key election issues accessible to our non-English speaking community. In my view, he was our secret weapon in a high-stakes battle to defend truth. Anh Thắng became the ultimate OG, or should I say ‘OT’ — Original Translator. He modeled what was possible, recruited others to help us out, and supported/delegated to peers when he needed to step away to care for his own health.”
Says VFC managing editor Diep Tran, “Anh Thắng was a linguistic genius, who set the tone and style for our translations that continue to this day. Not only was he fluent in both English and Vietnamese, but he was able to discern the nuances of Northern Vietnamese and Southern Vietnamese dialect, to make sure that our articles were inviting and not alienating to our audiences. I learned so much from him about the nuances of the Vietnamese language, especially in the email chains between him and our translators about how to correctly translate terms like ‘model minority.’ And that’s how he approached his work, as an educator who wanted to better his community through writing, and who knew that words were powerful.”
Says VFC co-founder Dede Tran, “Rest in power, Chú Thắng. I can’t believe you are gone. You are truly one of a kind and one of the kindest souls I have ever met. Your relentless work behind the scenes and big heart have made the world a better place. Your legacy will race on through not only your own work but through countless other people, young and old, who you have inspired. Thank you for sharing your gifts and being a gift to so many. My thoughts and prayers are with your dear family.”
Says VFC co-founder Nick Nguyen, “When I joined PIVOT I thought it would just be donating money to a worthy organization, but Chú Thắng found me and really made me feel like I could contribute in a more meaningful way. He is the reason why I felt that I was part of a progressive Vietnamese movement in our country and made sure that my thoughts were seen by a part of my community that was previously inaccessible to me. The first words I’ve ever written that my mom has read in Vietnamese were translated by him, and for that I will be forever grateful.
Viet Fact Check sends our sympathy and deepest condolences to Thang’s family. We feel privileged to have been able to work with him, and learn from him. As VFC continues our work to combat disinformation, we remember Thang Do: his joy, passion, and dedication to informing and empowering the Vietnamese American community.