November 29, 2021 IN: Our Voices
Join me in elevating Southeast Asian American voices to the highest offices
I am the proud daughter of refugees from Viet Nam. My mom brought me into this world two days after she turned 20, and she gave me the name “Quyên” after the story of a bird who missed her country so much that she would call out for home. My mom also missed home. She gifted me this name because she missed her Viet Nam — heart aching to see the faces of her parents whom she had left when she fled as a boat person at the age of 16. She risked her life and left her family so that today I could be free.
I have the privilege and honor of serving as the Executive Director of SEARAC, whose legacy in passing the 1980 Refugee Act is directly responsible for my claiming of America as home. To lead an organization that is directly responsible for my existence is both incredibly humbling and terrifying — especially during this moment of a global pandemic, political polarization, and anti-Asian violence. But during moments of fear, it is my history that propels me forward. And it is our community’s history — the largest group of refugees ever to be resettled in the United States — that continually inspires me to fight for freedom and to fight for home against all odds.
This summer, I had the opportunity of a lifetime to meet President Biden and Vice President Harris to discuss issues impacting Southeast Asian Americans. I spoke specifically about the impact of detention and deportation on our families and our communities, but I also had the honor of telling my family’s story. As one of the two original Senate co-sponsors of the 1980 Refugee Act, President Biden’s legacy is bringing my refugee parents to this country. SEARAC will continue to share our stories and uplift our voices in the White House, the halls of Congress, and at any tables where decisions about our future are being made.
Our end-of-year fundraising campaign seeks to raise $20,000 over the next five days with an eye toward building resilience in 2022 and beyond. Please consider joining me in making an end-of-year gift to our Week of Giving fundraiser.
We are so appreciative of your support.
Executive Director, SEARAC