New Beginnings at Nineteen80

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I was born in a refugee camp in 1980 (Nineteen80, get it?). My parents were the Vietnamese boat people, fleeing their country after the Vietnam war. They went through horrific events and that story will be told one day. For now, I'm going to focus on me, the product of this series of events.

My dad holding me at the refugee camp.

This was a picture of my dad holding me at the camp in Ga Lang, Indonesia.

He was 27, my mom was 22.

They fled the country by cover of night, to escape persecution from the dominating regime.

For many years, I recalled growing up proud of the United States of America that saved us from the oppressive communist regime.

For us, we assimilated to the culture. We watched American TV, we ate American food, and we hid our heritage whenever possible.

For Asians, we were told that we were the "model minority."

We're good at math.

We get good grades.

We're quiet, not militant.

We love the US because we're free.

But deep down inside, we are afraid of government because we came from oppressive regimes.

The US brought their superior views and saved us from oppression.

We were praised for working hard, keeping quiet, and embracing this country.

Many decades later, as a grown adult, I'm in therapy exploring this weighting anxiety I feel every day. I was born in literal trauma, our lives were at risk, and we didn't know if the next day would come.

For most of my childhood and into my early adulthood, I carried that trauma. I grew up in a world where no one looked like me, no one talked like me, and it was shameful to honor my heritage.

For most of my professional life, I mimicked the voices of a mostly white workforce. I shamed myself when my grammar didn't hold up. My walk, my posture, and my presence was aimed at fitting in. I never knew why I focused on visual communications until I spent time on myself. I was seeking a voice, a language, and a way of working that was more inclusive, that didn't hold up Ivy League educated English.

Today, the US is being torn apart with racism.

George Floyd.

"I can't breath."

"I can't breath."

"I can't breath."

You speak for us all.

We can't breath.

Nineteen80 stands in solidarity against racism and oppression. I am using my full stack skills to tell these stories, remove the structures of racism, and will create a world for my kids.

Have a project in mind?

I'm always open to collaborating, so don't hesitate to send me your project details. Let's create something great together!