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Business owner targeted with death threats after buying Black Lives Matter billboard in Houston

Le Hoang Nguyen, a Vietnamese-America business owner, is facing backlash after buying a Black Lives Matter billboard in Houston.
Le Hoang Nguyen, a Vietnamese-America business owner, is facing backlash after buying a Black Lives Matter billboard in Houston. (KPRC)

HOUSTON – A Houston business owner is facing backlash after purchasing a Black Lives Matter billboard in Houston.

Le Hoang Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American, said he stands in solidarity of Black people and those who face racism in America. The billboard is located at Bellaire Blvd. and Boone road in southwest Houston.

“Having faced racism first hand over the years and especially having seen the recent social injustices in American, I used my personal funds to put a billboard that shares the message of the Black Lives Matter,” Hoang Nguyen wrote on Facebook on Wednesday. “I did not receive any outside funds. The opinion expressed is 100% my own.”

In addition to public support for the movement, Hoang Nguyen said he hoped the billboard would inspire the next generation and spark hard conversations about racism and injustice. He said the billboard is not a political message, nor does it support any particular organization.

“It supports the purpose of the Black Lives Matter movement to stop racism and injustice for all,” Hoang Nguyen said, who runs a Farmers Insurance office. “I believe every life matters. But, if we do not stand up for the lives of those most marginalized, how can we say that all lives matter?”

A Houston business owner is facing backlash after buying a Black Lives Matter billboard in Houston.
A Houston business owner is facing backlash after buying a Black Lives Matter billboard in Houston. (KPRC)

However, not all agreed with Hoang Nguyen. He said those who oppose the billboard called for a boycott of his business while others went as far as to call for his lynching.

“Not in a million years, did I think that I would receive death threats,” Hoang Nguyen said in a Facebook post nearly 10 days after the billboard was placed. “There has been a public call for my lynching within my own Vietnamese community. A community that I love, and a community that I have proudly served.”

Some critics suggested that he should focus on the injustices faced by Vietnamese-Americans.

“I grew up being called names,” Hoang Nguyen said. “I was in jobs where I was limited by the color of my skin. That is why I support stopping racism and injustice - period.”

Others pushed that America is the land of the free and all a person has to do is work hard.

However, Hoang Nguyen said this not necessarily true. He said he moved to America when he was 9 years old without his parents.

“However, I did not grow up with people who ran when they saw me,” he said. “I did not have to fear for my life anytime I saw the police. I was never told I am worthless by those with different skin colors. I know that my life would have been a lot hard to build if I did. Who am I to judge the enduring challenges that others face?”

Hoang Nguyen said the next billboard will honor first responders.

Here is a Facebook video of Hoang Nguyen explaining the purpose of the Black Lives Matter billboard:

This is my official statement regarding the Black Lives Matter billboard that I had paid for to support the movement to end racism & injustice: I am Lê Hoàng Nguyên. I am a proud American of Vietnamese descent. Having experienced racism first hand over the years and especially having seen the recent social injustices in America, I used my personal funds to put up a billboard that shares the message of the Black Lives Matter movement. I did not receive any outside funds. The opinion expressed is 100% my own. It is not a political message. It does not support any particular organization. It supports the simple idea of the Black Lives Matter movement to stop racism and injustice for all. It does not mean other lives do not matter. I believe every life matters. But, if we do not stand up for the lives of those most marginalized, how can we say that all lives matter? I have heard many of the complaints about the message: Some mentioned rioting and looting, which I do not condone. The peaceful protestors far outnumber the troublemakers. Some pointed to crime committed by African Americans against Vietnamese Americans. I empathize with the victims but not all African Americans are criminals. Others reminded that Vietnamese Americans are also victims of discrimination. I understand and agree. I grew up being called names. I was in jobs where I was limited by the color of my skin. That is why I support stopping racism and injustice - period! Finally, some of you argued that this is the land of opportunity and all you have to do is to work hard. It is true, America is a great country and I am forever grateful to this land. I came here at 9 years old without my parents and worked hard to build an amazing life. And, I am very fortunate to have a beautiful family. However, I did not grow up with people who ran when they saw me. I did not have to fear for my life anytime I saw the police. I was never told I am worthless by those with different skin colors. I know that my life would have been a lot harder to build if I did. Who am I to judge the enduring challenges that others face? When I put up the billboard, I had three goals: 1. To show my public support for stopping all racism and injustice 2. To inspire future generations of leaders 3. To speak up & to start the hard conversations about racism and injustice Having proudly accomplished these goals, I’ve decided to put up a new billboard that honors our First Responders. The new billboard will be installed in the near future. In closing, I would like to share one of my favorite quotes: “Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.” – Alfred Adler While you might not agree with this statement from Alfred, it does not mean we can’t respect one another. Respectfully, Lê Hoàng Nguyên

Posted by Farmers Insurance Le Hoang Nguyen on Wednesday, July 8, 2020

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