Posts tagged love.

Fong Tran Free Write/Right

Prompt: Who has the right to represent you? What do they need from you for that representation?

You only have to right to represent me if you admit openly
that you can never perfectly nor appropriately represent me

You can only try represent my passion, my conviction, my complexity
You can only brush over the detailed etchings of my mind
Only stay shallow to the depth of my character
Only stay surface to the ocean that is my voice

However I warn you that my history is not to be simplified
My identity is not to be labeled
My health is not to be cured
It is universal. It is everything. It is me.

Special feature on RevoluionsPerMind (RPM) ›

Dropping a new Spoken Word/ Interview Video by The Fifth Productions. Shout outs to Julie, Howard, and UC Irvine SASA community for having me down in SoCal to keynote at their first Southeast Asian Graduation and for me to do my craft! #Honored and #humbled

"Power of k(NO)w" Conference Letter of Appreciation

Hello Everyone,

I know this response is relatively late in comparison to everyone else responses but it has been extremely busy from me since the Power of Know conference and its been nothing short of marathon of activity. I actually just got back into town from a week long “Student Affairs National conference yesterday.

As I revisit these emails and think about the “Power of Know” Conference this year, I am overcome with accomplishment and happiness. It was truly an honor to work with such a great team of people to put this grand vision together. We truly operated as a community as everyone chipped invaluable skills, knowledge and dedication to this project without personal endeavor or gain - simply to serve our young people.

To this day as a long time dedicated young organizer to this work, I am still astouded by what was accomplished at POK. I would of never thought we would have more than 200 youth show up on a Saturday from 9-4pm for educational conference. Most of them didn’t know anything about it - you’ll found out in the surveys. I was telling Sonney during the CAPITAL ExComm Meeting that when the younger generation and the older generation can work together for a common goal - amazing can happen and I believe that the POK is exemplary example of that power.

Thank you Jeanie for being an excellent chair that mommy our entire committee and youth through this amazing Journey.

Thank you Kyle for being a “brother from another mother” and always having my back and being there whenever I need anything.

Thank you Charles, John, and Shinder for hosting our Parent conference

Thank you Shinder especially for giving a personal testimony about bullying and your daughter. I was beyond impressed by your presentation and I know the young folks felt it.

Thank you Carole for your work for the scholarship recipients and awarding my students that I know are super happy about their scholarship checks.

Thank you Ava, Faye and Anh for coordinating overall logistics especially getting ready for plan E because we soon found out toward the last week of the conference - plan A, B, C, D was not going to accommodate everyone.

To the amazing outreach team especially Fay, Z & Shinder that made our historical outcome possible

To Jerry & Sonney for holding down our safety and security. Jerry - Thank you for reminding us the importance of “Tweeter”

My special thanks goes to Pangcha for your outreach efforts, your ability to recruit all these community groups to participate in our resource tables, for advising me on the POK curriculum, for stepping in last minute to be a co-facilitator for someone that didn’t have a partner and for being the amazing young womyn that I’ve seen you grow up to be. You are everything that I want for the young people of Sacramento to become: passionate, loving to others and critical thinkers

Thank you to all for allowing me to serve as the curriculum chair & Head facilitator - I know there were some reservations with me changing the content that has been used over the years but I hope the changes were for the better and the young people enjoyed the new activities. Due to POK, I was actually invited to be a guest speak for the “UC Davis School of Medicine” as apart of their underserved community health series which is another huge honor. Thank you for allowing me to be the facilitator trainer - we had a awesome group of facilitators that were extraordinary with leading our young people through this process of growth and learning. Lastly it was an honor to serve as your master EmCee. The energy in the room was HOT, figuratively and literally as there were a lot of bodies creating body heat. 

As we move forward thinking about the new year and potential for other work, let us remember to continue to build with the youth and partners that we’ve created. Remember the unity that we built between generations. I heard some very incredible things from the young people of POK. I am blessed to hear these things about our work and it gets me thrilled about the potential for change in our communities.

My interns took the liberty to compile the responses from our evaluation forms and its been synthesized into report summaries for you all to understand the trends and demographics. I think we should rethink through some of the survey questions as I don’t think it did justice to how we really served and or could of done better for the youth. Lets debrief this piece this Sunday.

To end my extremely long letter (which I was inspired to write without reservation because of the letter activity that we hosted during POK) I will leave you with the words of a young person that attended POK this year.

Once again thank you for your partnership, trust and love.

Fong Batman Tran - Say Word! Say Wassup! Say HHHHEEEEYYYY!!!

Student Facebook Status “; I can’t lie , the conference yesterday ‘Power To K(NO)W’ was awesome ! The topics really touched me . Those that didn’t attend missed out big time . Fong Tran is awesome too ahahh . But yesterday , I made a pledge.. I pledged to let go of all my grudges I held , i pledged to work harder , I pledged to push myself & I pledged to take all the negativity from others & take them as encouragement to do my best & prove them wrong . Because someone once told me ,”people will put youu down , but take all those negativity & use them to do better” . Thanks to him for not giving up on me♥

Masters Program “Statement of Purpose”

Hopefully this was the “Statement of Purpose” that got me in. Enjoy!

"I’m not saying I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will" by Tupac Shakur. This quote has grounded me in my life’s dedication toward empowering young people because as cliché as it may be, they are the future. I believe that one of the greatest tragedies of society is the severe lack of opportunities and resources for youth.  I hope to address these inequities and empower youth leadership through the UC Davis Community Development Masters program.

I’ve participated in several community based participatory research projects that have refined my interest in youth development. I served on the media advisory team for the “Healthy Youth/Healthy Regions” report developed by the UC Davis Center for Regional Change. This report reveals data about the varying levels of wellness and vulnerabilities among youth in the Capital Region and made recommendations toward addressing these discrepancies. I helped disseminate this report to community organizations so it may help better inform their work. I further enhanced my knowledge in advocacy through serving as the executive committee chair for Sacramento Boys and Men of Color (BMoC) Partnership.  This coalition was made up of several nonprofit organizations and school district representatives that focused on addressing disparities among young men of color;  focusing on the areas of school suspension/expulsion, educational inequities and health disparities. I spoke at the BMoC  Legislative select committee hearing as a panelist focusing on the importance of employment for male youth of color. I also did extensive research as an analyst for the Center for Community School Partnerships in the UC Davis School of Education.  My role involved performing extensive literature review, pilot site testing and qualitative data analysis to develop a school environment survey tool and a 200 page youth-based curriculum called the “Youth Media Literacy & Nutrition Toolkit”.

I hope to bring these experiences of research to my graduate studies at UC Davis and explore best models for youth engagement as a form of community development. I’d like to examine the relationship between schools and community organizations to best leverage resources, services and identify unmet needs for youth so they may have more opportunities for leadership. I would also like to see how social media could be used in youth organizing and curriculum development. I believe the UC Davis Community Development Masters program is best suited for this vision because I would be able to analyze structures at a Macro-level to identify tangible action steps to take on a grassroots level. I believe the program’s aptitude for interdisciplinary studies is ideal to understand institutions from multiple lenses such as education, community organizing, welfare and policy. Most importantly the program’s close proximity allows me to focus my work on my community: Sacramento.

For my internship, I would like to continue working with the extensive network of community organizations that I already know in the Sacramento area.  I hope to do my internship with Building Healthy Communities under the direction of Kim Williams who does great work around youth development. Academically, I hope to be advised by faculty members Patsy Owens and Jonathan London to gain more insight around their expertise of youth engagement and service learning. I also hope to continue working with Associate Professor Angela Booker of the School of Education who served as an expert reviewer for one of my past publications and is an authority on media and technology use for learning.  After my graduate experience, I’d like to be the director of my own public department, nonprofit organization, or a private consulting practice for community organizations. I also have a strong passion for teaching and would love the opportunity to teach in the community college setting.

"A love poem dedicated to the woman of my life"
Music by Matthew Vista
Singing by HoHoua Xiong www.youtube.com/user/hohouaxiong
Audio Editing: William Wong
Video Editing: Antony Marshall
Shout outs to UC Davis SAFE Southeast Asian Furthering Education for taking part in the video

I Hate Being Vietnamese

I hate being Vietnamese
By Fong Tran

June 16, 2012

I hate being Vietnamese
Cause growing up
every Vietnamese dude in my neighborhood
Was trying to that same cigarette smelling,
hair slicked back, White T, Baggy Jean wearing
gangster wanna-be
that had asian stereotypical tattoo of that
Dragon clashing with the phoenix, or some sort of big ass Koi fish
or a Chinese Character on his shoulder that stood for Strength or honor
Homie – that’s not even our language

I hate being Vietnamese
Cause growing up
Every Vietnamese dude
Had the same car
Honda Civic, Honda Accord, Honda Prelude, Honda Hatchback, Honda something
Maybe an Acura Integra, Maybe
But that’s still made by Honda but whatever I digress
The most important part
That yo rice rocket had to be lowered
on to some 15 inch silver spider plastic rims
And I hated how they had to go up on speed bumps at an angle
so they didn’t have to scraped the chassis
I hated how everyone could talk about cars but me
you got to get the S300 Intake manifold turbo
"Uhh….no. What the hell is that?"

I hated being Vietnamese
Cause growing up
Every Vietnamese dude
Had the same hair cut
And they were all inspired by Dragonball Z
Either you the Goku Super Saiyan Spikey hair
Or the slicked all the way back
glistening from quarter of a pound of gel
with the golden Gohan bangs in front
Or the Trunks split down the middle drew
Or the bulma bowl cut hair
Or you look like Kirlin and you were just bald
Apparently all true Vietnamese gangsters
had dragon ballz haircut

I hate being Vietnamese
We all smell like fish sauce and Pho
You can’t be going to the club
You can’t be going to Ket Mo Ree
smelling up like fish sauce
Its not a good look, bro

I hate being Vietnamese
Cause the Vietnamese men that I knew
Either smoked too much
Gambled too much
dranked too much
got shot up too much
abandoned me to be on own too much
like my cousins
like my uncles
like my brothers
like their friends
like my own father

I hated being Vietnamese
Cause all the Vietnamese men in my life
Beat the Vietnamese womyn that I loved in my life
like my big sister
like my brother’s girlfriends
like my own mother

I hated being Vietnamese
Cause being Vietnamese
meant I hated everybody else
hated hmong people
hated Lao people
Mienh people
Khmer people
hated Black people
Hated everybody
we gangbanged on ourselves
So maybe I’m just as Vietnamese
as I hate to be

But yet I still…
I hate being Vietnamese
because I everything that I was told to be successful
by my teachers, television, society
was everything Vietnamese was not
so being a little boy
“Denying being Vietnamese” was everything I was taught

I didn’t speak Vietnamese
I didn’t have Vietnamese friends
I hated being Vietnamese

I wrote off my identity like Standardized Test exams
Not really understanding everything about my History & my Language
was everything I am

so I took a retest and saw
hating being Vietnamese
was just hating myself
It was self-hate
It’s been a language whisper colonist oppressors
Told us to blanket our pride
Never show our true strength
And this generation will simply be the successors
The successors of imperialized slaves
cause in this time, the game has changed
They tell us to be color-blind
No history, no ethnicity, just American
But we chose, we chose to redefine
I don’t know about you
But I’m Southeast Asian
I’m Southeast Asian Vietnamese American
And I know I said I hated being Vietnamese
But I didn’t know what it meant
to be in a family of Warriors and refugees
I didn’t understand why Americans helicopter dropped us
In section 8 housing of violence and poverty
I didn’t why broken education systems were at war
and my brothers were the causalities
they drop out of school, learn the gang rob
cause no ever taught them English or how to get a job

I have one message for fellow
Southeast Asian Graduates
Be proud of who you are and
Remember where you came from

Remember, we share this narrative of struggle
We are the descendants of generals, kings, dragons and goddesses
And they say we carry the history of our ancestors on our backs
So maybe that’s why we bear dragon tattoos on our shoulders
So we can always remember who we are and stay on track

Maybe that why we leave hints of old aged fermented fish
or spicy salad sting of jungle decorated papaya
And the beautiful concoctions of curry and coconut milk called Ka Poon
we leave legendary legacies
Off the simple utterance of our breath

Maybe thats why we bought Hondas
because they were the very engines
that kept fishboats to keep moving
across Southeast Asian seas
to Refugee camps

Maybe that’s why we pretend to be thugs
cause our parents were original gangsters – OG’s
while we strap guns
they strap farm machettes and hmong knives
through turfs called sun beating rice plantations
they real rick ross bosses
always knew how make my banh mi’s
with that pati spread and the soy sauces

Southeast Asian moms had the power to heal all
That healing power was called
Tiger Balm
Mienh Folks called it “Dia cAAm”
Vietnamese people called it “Yao Xanh”
The stuff cure everything
stomache, headache, heartache, diaherrea and toe fungus

Our parents are Super Saiyans
They were the supreme Kai
landscaping, farming. Donut shops, nail salons
They did anything for us to survive
They ascended past super saiyan 4 and 5
Through frieza’s global annihilation attacks
that we call the Cambodian Genocides
Thru Vegeta’s hostile takeover disguised as
American assimilation
They will be kamakema fires
The Ginyu Force at our graduations

Graduates, as you make way onto your Goku journeys to the real world
In search of your 7 dragon ballz
Remember, we will accomplish all that our families have set out for us to do
And as long as you remember to never ever hate who you are and embrace your legacy
We will finally be able to grant them
their one wish

Congratulations to the Southeast Asian Class of 2012!!

One of my favorite EmCee’s killing wit one of my favorite spoken word pieces

FOR UC SAN DIEGO!!

It is finally here. Since the beginning of the slam season in August of last year, poets have been competing every month to earn a spot in the semi-finals. 18 poets made it into semi-finals and after two days of competitions, we are down to our top 8! The poets competing in finals are as follows: Fong Tran Buddy Sahagun The Poet “i” Jazz Sufi The Saint Katelyn Lucas Rob Zenz Leo Bryant Finals will consist of a total of 9 poets. Where is that 9th poet coming from? Well, right before the finals competition, we will have a one round, last chance slam. Whoever receives the highest score in that slam will automatically be placed in finals. Sign-ups will be first come, first served on the list. Preference will go to poets that have competed previously in semi-finals. And if all that isn’t enough to get you in the seats, our hostess for the evening will be none other than the Oakland Poetry Slam Host/Coach Nazelah! We are not only making history in the city of Stockton, but we are putting the Valley on the map in the slam community. Please support this event because not only will it be a fantastic night of poetry, it will also be a fundraiser for the 2012 Pierced Ear Poetry Slam team and getting them to Nationals in Charlotte, NC. See you there! Admission - $8

Click following link or photo: http://www.facebook.com/events/128257107303202/

It is finally here. Since the beginning of the slam season in August of last year, poets have been competing every month to earn a spot in the semi-finals. 18 poets made it into semi-finals and after two days of competitions, we are down to our top 8!

The poets competing in finals are as follows:

Fong Tran
Buddy Sahagun
The Poet “i”
Jazz Sufi
The Saint
Katelyn Lucas
Rob Zenz
Leo Bryant

Finals will consist of a total of 9 poets. Where is that 9th poet coming from? Well, right before the finals competition, we will have a one round, last chance slam. Whoever receives the highest score in that slam will automatically be placed in finals. Sign-ups will be first come, first served on the list. Preference will go to poets that have competed previously in semi-finals.

And if all that isn’t enough to get you in the seats, our hostess for the evening will be none other than the Oakland Poetry Slam Host/Coach Nazelah!

We are not only making history in the city of Stockton, but we are putting the Valley on the map in the slam community. Please support this event because not only will it be a fantastic night of poetry, it will also be a fundraiser for the 2012 Pierced Ear Poetry Slam team and getting them to Nationals in Charlotte, NC.

See you there!

Admission - $8


Click following link or photo: http://www.facebook.com/events/128257107303202/

Your story will be the greatest book ever written - so go write it

Fong Tran

 ”Ripples” by Fong Tran

dedicated to Matthew Shepard

and Trayvon Martin