Posts tagged uc davis.

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 “Personal Statement”

I’m excited to announce that I’ve applied for the UC Davis Community Development Masters Program. I hope to future uplift my professional and academic skills so I may uplift my community! I want to publicly share my personal statement - I can also release my statement of purpose if there’s enough interest

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I tell my students, “Our stories may be different, but our struggles are all the same”.  October 16, 2010, a 16-year old Vietnamese male was shot as an innocent bystander in a gang related drive-by shooting. He died three days later. This young man was a peer mediator at Hiram Johnson High School and aspired to attend UC San Diego and change the world through smiles. His name was Jimmy Le and he was one of my students through a summer internship program I hosted. This would be the moment that cemented my life-long mission and  dedication of my being to the liberation of young people and to improve the conditions in which they live, so they may thrive and most importantly to create a community where catastrophes like Jimmy’s do not happen.

Jimmy’s story was very much like my own. My family escaped from the Vietnam War in 1986. They survived the horrid conditions of a Philippines refugee camp for eight months before finding sponsorship to Stockton, California.  A year later, we moved to Sacramento; and like Jimmy, I grew up in section 8 housing where my neighbors were largely low income immigrants. My two older brothers dropped out of school  in the tenth grade and got involved with gangs. They were incarcerated multiple times, and were absent for the majority of my life. My family barely made ends meets under welfare and food stamps and when things couldn’t get worst; my father abandoned our family of five when I was six years old.   

This story seems like an inevitable narrative that leads from rags to incarceration, but the harsh circumstances that   were supposed to hold me back became my motivation to  succeed. I could have easily fallen into a troubled path as my brothers did, but the strength and sacrifices of my single mother inspired me to get an education and support my family. Even though all my other siblings and extended family were unable to go college because of the financial constraints, I  chose to hold the heavy baton  of being the first in my family to attend and graduate from college.

Attaining my Masters degree is a part of the continued dedication to better the living conditions for my family and my community.  I tell my students that “the only people that can change our communities are ourselves”.  After graduating from college, it was imperative for me to go back to the community that I came from and to help young people, like myself and Jimmy, have more chances to succeed. I started working at a nonprofit organization called Asian Resources, Inc to work with underserved youth and increase their access to higher education and job opportunities. I provided youth services through multiple capacities, such as on-site school outreach, drop-in counseling and internship case management. I served on several community boards as a consultant on youth issues such as the Sacramento Asian Pacific Islander Coalition called CAPITAL and the Marginalize Youth Collaborative (MYC). In addition to youth advocacy, I became an active spoken word poet and performed at several community events and conferences throughout California. Poetry has manifested into an extension of my continued mission for social justice and community engagement as all my poems have an educational value.  One young person states “I love your poetry…I highly respect your mentality to change the world. Your writings [are] deep within the meaning… you inspire me to write.” It means the world to me when young people relate to my poetry and are inspired to tell their stories.

Becoming a UC Davis Community Development graduate represents a continued stepping stone for my pursuit for social change. Its represents the inspiration of a young man wanted to change the world through smiling. It symbolizes a mother’s sacrifice and love. It represents the resilience of four Vietnamese refugees that left everything and overcame all for this young man to reach this achievement and privilege. I only hope that UC Davis allows me this privilege and opportunity to uplift my skills and experience so I may uplift my community.

"Remix" by Fong Tran

They say “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”

So it must be the case that he who writes history

Wanted a round two

Cause all I see when I watch the news
are headlines that match

the titles in my high school history text books

Worlds and War and Western thinking

run on repeat like broken records

Eurocentric Euphuisms like West expansion

Exploration, Manifest Destiny, and Spreading Democracy

tactfully translated from truth as
Slave trade, colonists, imperialism

Exploitation of all your natural resources and a bad excuse for US Military

Americans play red, white skin and blue superman savior mentalities

Third world nations being left with nothing

But pillaged lands, broken homes & false promises of American dreams

History textbooks are written like a

A bad version of Lord of the Rings
and I’ve been bored since the first book

and we haven’t even talked about world history

American Propaganda

Last year’s communist

Is this year’s terrorist

The blatant basatardizing of brothers of color

To beat them down

so maybe history doesn’t repeat itself

it just seems to rhyme a lot

and we’re just caught up in the bad remix

If you don’t write your histories and tell your stories

Someone else will

And I’m not saying it’s the man

And that someone
is usually really white

Really old

And Really male

Someone need to tell my young students that

Vietnamese people

My people

My History is more than 2 textbook pages about a war

We’re a culture, a peoples, a way of life

Someone needs to tell my Hmong student

That his people’s history of helping the US CIA

In Secret War

And why its still a god damn secret

And no one knows about it

We need to tell our own stories

and if hypocritical historians can

ridiculously rant on this racist

run-down of history

than I can do it too

from now on

the migration of Southeast Asians to America

since the fall of Saigon

will now be known as

“Manifest beautification”

Cause goddammit we look good

When we talked about

Generalitistic construct that justifies a reverse racism

Called “Melting Pot of America”

Will now be called “Pho-ism”

Cause a little bit of Pho makes

Everything better

And mother is the real P.O.W.

Not prisoner of war

But through living through a refugee camp for 8 months

She was in a prison of warriors

We will write our histories

We will make our remixes

And this poem is the beginning of my mix tape

A small video about who I am and what I’m about - BE ABOUT IT! Shout outs to Lane Lewis and Christine Yeakley for making this video!!

"I Hate Being Vietnamese" by Fong Tran

Vid Credits go to Dou Her

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 students speaking straight up TRUTH on the mic at last night’s SickSpits Open Mic!

First time poet performer and she killed it so bad that it made me tear up a little, just a little tho…

Click this Link:http://www.sacbee.com/2012/03/24/4362655/uc-davis-multicultural-poetry.html

Sac bee Article about me, my poetry, my life and the love of my life: my mama. Its a privilege to have this coverage and I thank all the folks that continue to support. I am product of your love


Sac Bee Article about my life/ my poetry/ my mama ›

Sac bee Article about me, my poetry, my life and the love of my life: my mama. Its a privilege to have this coverage and I thank all the folks that continue to support. I am product of your love

UC Davis APILR Workshop Description

Workshop Agenda
UC Davis Asian Pacific Islander Leadership Retreat

February 4th, 2012

Workshop 4 Block: 7:00-8:15PM


“Reclaim Stories/ Reclaim Self”- Spoken Word/ Poetry Workshop

By Fong Tran

Description: “We are the descendants of soldiers and survivors/ our bloodlines run deep like the majestic Mekong river/ our histories rise high like the mountains of the Hmong/ and our strength is buried in the potholes of Cambodian killing fields” As Asian Americans early generation students, we sometimes serve as the bridge and intersection of two worlds, we have unique stories and struggles to present – so we must reclaim these stories. Explore the importance of story sharing through the craft of poetry, creative writing and spoken word.  

Busting at the Heartful: Korean Culture Night at UC Davis. Opened for Clara C, Dumbfoundead and DJ Zo, Mickey Cho, Ben and the Shooting Stars.
Incredible night of entertainment and APIA talent. Honor to be apart of it. Photo provided by MYXTV
http://myx.tv/korean-culture-night-with-clara-c-dumbfounded-and-dj-zo/

Busting at the Heartful: Korean Culture Night at UC Davis. Opened for Clara C, Dumbfoundead and DJ Zo, Mickey Cho, Ben and the Shooting Stars.


Incredible night of entertainment and APIA talent. Honor to be apart of it. Photo provided by MYXTV

http://myx.tv/korean-culture-night-with-clara-c-dumbfounded-and-dj-zo/

UC Davis Southeast Asian Graduation
 A night of “I love you mom and dad”, “props to my friends for always being there” and “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you all” - The Southeast Asian Graduation is not just a ethnic grad for students to cross another stage parading their own achievements but a opportunity for students to celebrate the love and support of the people that really created their achievement: their families.
Dropped some poetry about the incredible sacrifice of our Southeast Asian mothers and womyn!! Thanks for the opportunity and showing your love for my work

UC Davis Southeast Asian Graduation


A night of “I love you mom and dad”, “props to my friends for always being there” and “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you all” - The Southeast Asian Graduation is not just a ethnic grad for students to cross another stage parading their own achievements but a opportunity for students to celebrate the love and support of the people that really created their achievement: their families.

Dropped some poetry about the incredible sacrifice of our Southeast Asian mothers and womyn!! Thanks for the opportunity and showing your love for my work