Posts tagged poetry.

Special Feature Interview on “People with Careers” Podcast by Jonathan Gaurano. I had a great time breaking down what I do as a student affairs professional, a community organizer, a grad student and as a poet. Talking through the 1.5 hr interview made me realize how far I’ve come from little Vietnamese kid from South Sacramento to trying to survive the UC Berkeley grind and bring it back #community in my hometown. Still I have so much more to go, so much more to do, so much more to grow! Never be content, Never Settle. Be relentless at your own learning.


Fong Tran is more than just a Program Advisor at UC Davis’s Cross Cultural Center. He is a poet, a graduate student, and most of all, he is a mentor and an advocate for the youth. In this interview you’ll learn that living a life of social justice can become more than just a passion, it can become your career.


  • - Be passionate about making an impact in the world.
    – Network. Network. Network.
    – There is no time for cynicism.
    – Do right, be right, and fight for what is right.

How To Be A Program Advisor for a Cross Cultural Center – Synopsis:

  • - Gain experience in youth development. For example, after school tutor or school specialist
  • - Having a passion to educate young people about race, oppression, and privilege.
  • - Be knowledgeable and well versed when advocating against the inequity that’s affecting the world.
  • - Network and talk to folks in multicultural / cross cultural centers in Universities to see about opportunities.
  • - If there are no paid opportunities, then show your passion for the job by becoming a volunteer or intern.
  • - Understand it’s more than a job; you must live to educate and be a role-model for the youth.

Average Salary:

  • 40k-55k

Contact Him & Other Social Media Links

Sneak peak to my new video poem “Dear Young Man of Color”. Really excited for how this video is going to come out. Keep on the look out
Shout out to all the brothers that came thru and help give their energy and love. Shout out to Christina Mei Chun and the Consumnes Oaks High School for providing the theater space. Lastly the biggest thanks goes out to the director Jeffrey Fong and his crew: Dkhoa Chau and Israsel Madrid Costales

Sneak peak to my new video poem “Dear Young Man of Color”. Really excited for how this video is going to come out. Keep on the look out

Shout out to all the brothers that came thru and help give their energy and love. Shout out to Christina Mei Chun and the Consumnes Oaks High School for providing the theater space. Lastly the biggest thanks goes out to the director Jeffrey Fong and his crew: Dkhoa Chau and Israsel Madrid Costales

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.

Fong Tran Poetry Spring Shows

3.29 Saturday
Performance for Slow Food Conference @ Sac Food Bank 2:00pm

4. 2 Wednesday
Poetry Workshop @ Sacramento City College Cultural Awareness Center 1:00pm

4.4 Saturday
Guest Speaker “No Time to Lose” Professional Conference @ SCUSD Serna Center

4.15 Tuesday
Poetry Feature @ Sonoma State University

4.16 Wednesday
Mahogany Urban Poetry Series featuring Fong Tran @ Queen Sheba 9:00pm

4.23 Wednesday
Hot Buttons Spoken Word for Social Justice @ Sol Collective 6:00pm

4.25 Friday
Poetry Workshop @ University of Denver *tentative*

5.2 Friday
Poetry Workshop for SAYS Summit Sacramento Area Youth Speaks @ UC Davis

5.3 Saturday
Keynote for UC Davis Transfer Weekend @ Student Community Center MPR 10:00am

5.8 Wednesday
All People’s Recognition Ceremony University 4:00

Special Radio Feature on Asia Pacific Forum ›

Interview starts on 34:50

Dear Young Man of Color

By Fong Tran

Dear Young Man of Color,

I want to begin this letter by saying that I’m sorry
I’m sorry because statistically speaking….

you will become a statistic

that numbers about you and your kind
will run off
like the dates, names, numbers and descriptions
of newspaper Obituaries

Latino males ages Ten to Twenty Four
Nineteen times more likely to be murdered than White counterparts
Two point one million inmates in the prison
Forty point one percent% of them are made up of African Americans
Thirty Nine point six percent% of Southeast Asian Males drop out of high school

You will be America’s most wanted
because you will be America’s most hated stereotype
Thug, Thief, Delinquent, terrorist
murderer, criminal, felon, hoodlum, Gangbanger, Ex-con, Etc.
you will be every policemen’s profile description

They use everything about you, against you
first it was eugenics and they said it was in your genes
then they blamed your hip-hop culture and not the crack dope fiends
but the music was to liberate us
then told control of it
now all it does is break our trust
man, we used to believe in it
then Miley Cyrus appropriated everything
and starting twerking on it

And you’re probably thinking
how’s this Asian kid hood enough
you’re confused
why this model minority
is telling you about oppression
but trust me when I say
there is nothing model about my life
section 8 housing, welfare checks and food stamps
becomes my families helicopter dropped foreign aid
and trust me when I say
that there nothing more gangsta
than have parents that hustle loaves of bread
in destitute Pilipino refugee camps for 8 months

But you see they try to pit us against each other

They force us to play oppression Olympics
but this shit is more like the hunger games
and people are looking to assassinate you
that even though you bear historical scars of slavery
and fucked up immigrant policy
you will be hunted down
they will be coming in packs
and you struggle with minimum wage rags
to hold back the bleeding
they will be coming like the angry villagers
and you will be their needle in their haystacks
and prison industrial complex is the testament
how they will burn the whole house just to get to you

But you will be resilient
you will overcome
that even though everything
will be against you
you are exactly what this world needs
they put you behind bars
just so you wouldn’t raise it
let me make it clear
that even though you start from the bottom
you change society beyond here

you must be the unexpected
the underdog
the unforeseen
the unruly
you will break the molds
Shake status quo,
deconstruct the powers that be
that even though we’ve had innocent fallen
soldiers like Trayon Martin, Fong Le, Jose Montoya
you follow the blood lines and legacy of
Che Cavara, Malcolm X and Richard Aoki

you are destined beyond the statistics that binds you down
it is all a facade, a mirage in the distance
made to hide your greatness

but you will be a champion
you will not let this world change you

you will change this world


Brother from another Mother

Special feature on RevoluionsPerMind (RPM) ›

The problem with what’s taught in School.

Title: History Textbooks.

Original poem by Fong Tran

Words to Poem: of page)

Directed and Edited by Somchay Phakonkham

This was an awesome project that I got a chance to do out in Melbourne, Australia. Shouts to Steve Nguyen and Indigo for hooking me up with Somchay.

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

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
Audio Editing: William Wong
Video Editing: Antony Marshall
Shout outs to UC Davis SAFE Southeast Asian Furthering Education for taking part in the video

Humbled and grounded

Long rant/story about my plans and future and insirations in my life. I’d been thinking alot lately.

So Fong asked me what do i want to do after the Navy. 
I told em that i wanna save enough money to open my own Dance Studio.
And if i didnt save enough, i’ll go for another maybe 2 years and then come back and open my own dance studio and find a Job and hold Dance Competitions and have free dance sessions and workshops.
I love my Sacramento community and it would be nice if the whole Community knew what Hiphop Dancing was.
When i grow up all i want to do is give to my Sac Community.
I learned best from the Best Mentor ever.
He dedicates his life to the Youngins and Youths, 
I should too, through Dancing!
I want the To Show the people who looked down on me and said that i will never make it and put me down that i can do it and i will. 
I want to be an Impact in the Community. 
I’ll come back and become a Mentor, Dance Teacher and most definitely i want to be an Inspiration in peoples life.
Everything i do, i always do it for others.
Why do i want to open my own dance studio and give free dance sessions and workshops and open competitions? 
I want to open a Dance studio for free sessions because i know that people are more motivated when they’re not at home and also when others dancers see’s that you’re struggling, they will probably help and assist you and thats what i want. Dancers helping eachother. I learned this through Self-experience so i know how it feels.
Why i want to have free dance workshops is because not all family can afford for their kids to take dance classes and wrkshops. And they will have to wait for a long time and not get a chance to ever learn.
I know that feeling because i’ve also been through it until my 12th grade year when i started joining crews.
I want to give people the chance to learn and grow and seeing people happy makes me happy. And through this experience, hopefully everyone in Sacramento knows how to dance and start alot of crews here in sacramento.
Why i want to hold competitions is because i want crews and people to show what they’ve learned and show their competitive side and let their name be crowned. Choreography and freestyling competitions.
And then i want to be a Mentor just like my 3 Favorite, Best and Only mentors Nai, Millie and Fong. 
While growing up i was hanging out with Bad people and didnt know which path to take until i met these 3 who changed my life forever. 
They’ve inspired me to be Proactive and chase my Dream, and not chase what people tell me to chase.
Actually, im leading it by still being a youth and a student and learning about the community through events and workshops. 
Fong, he made it into the Front Page NEWS! 
What an inspiration!
Thats something to look forward to.
Being known in the community as an inspiration and as a Very good person, i bet it’s such a Great feeling.
But i learned from the Best that no matter how many awards and medals you recieve, keep it hungry for more and more and never be comfortable that you’re good enough or you’ve gotten enough, just keep going for more.
So i want to be an Impact to the Sac Community when i grow up.
If it wasnt for my Mentors and Friends and Family, mostly Mentors.. I wouldnt have this much confidence in myself to pursue my dream and goals.
And if it wasnt for Alvin, i probably wouldnt have plan going to the Navy.
Hopefully i get in!
If not, my goals and dreams are still the same. But just go to college and work for the $$$ to open my studio.
Fong kept bringing this subject up so it had me thinking alot about my plans and future.

- Chuey Thao, High School Senior at School of Engineering and Sciences