Impact Accelerator 2019 – Story from PFLAG

Impact Accelerator is a comprehensive one-year incubator program to build the capacity of local nonprofit leaders. Impact Accelerator builds a networked community that helps strengthen the capacity of local individuals and organizations to develop innovative solutions to complex social and environmental problems.

Ms. Mong Nguyen, the leader of PFLAG, is a participant of Impact Accelerator 2019, the third cohort, LIN’s incubator program for nonprofit leaders. Ms. Mong Nguyen is a founding member of PFLAG, an organization uniting parents, families, and allies with people of the LGBTQI community.

Mr. Huynh Minh Thao is a former communications staff member of ICS, and both a trainer and mentor for LIN’s Impact Accelerator program. Mr. Thao is Ms. Mong Nguyen’s chosen mentor for the mentor-mentee section of Impact Accelerator 2019. Ms Mong shares the story of her connection to Huynh Minh Thao and introduction to PFLAG.

“I have known Huynh Minh Thao since 2011. For the first time in my life, I registered to attend the seminar and forum called “Help your children to be who they are,” which was organized by Phu Nu Newspaper and ICS. At that time I was very scared, afraid of the crowd, afraid of people knowing that I have a “gay” child, I was ashamed and frightened but still hopeful of finding a way to heal my son. In the elevator, I met Thao. He smiled and asked: “Are you going to the seminar?”. Hearing that, I somehow felt relieved and immediately nodded and felt more secure, thinking: “What a friendly smile!

Attending the seminar, I learned that Thao was in the organizing group [staff of ICS] and similar to my son. From that, I had a change of mind: they [the LGBTQI community] were not as bad as I had thought for a long time. Later, when we got close, Thao called me ‘PFLAG mommy’, even though Thao is the ‘midwife’ [one of the key members who supported the ‘birth’] of PFLAG.VN.

Through Thao, the fathers and mothers in PFLAG can better understand the world of their children’s lives and the LGBTQI community. Eliminating prejudice and pain, with the power of maternal love, we work together to change society’s view of the LGBTQI community.

This year, through Impact Accelerator 2019, Thao accepted to be my Mentor. Together we attend many activities for our organization. Thanks to Thao, even though we are far away [from each other], we still manage to work together through Facebook on many programs such as Vietpride Hanoi and the PFLAG book. This December, we will meet again to work together on the long-term future of PFLAG, and work together to plan activities to Advocate for Equal Marriage.

The road is long and there’s a lot of work, but I have my Mentor by my side.

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