By Tiffany Nguyen

Copy of vietnamese-refugees-fleeing-vietnam-1984-vietnam-war.jpg


rapid waves,

pounding hearts,

guns and bullets,

targets and darts.

a game of life,



a fresh start to freedom,


and revival.

abandoned homes,

forgotten souls,

all left behind,

collecting dust and growing mold.

the new soil

and different air,

our clashing voices,

nonetheless same care.

broken dreams,

enforced success.

but you must not forget,

that you are blessed.


We are the living memories of our ancestors who have crossed the ocean and extensive danger to reach us to a point of freedom and safety. We may believe that the dreams that they force us to live is for their own personal happiness, but we must not forget what they have gone through to get us to the place that we are in now.

This poem was inspired by this video, entitled “I Was A Boat Person: Vietnamese Refugees Look Back” - Video by AJ+

As a first-generation Asian-American submerged in the American culture, it is often very easy to forget where you came from-- how you were brought up, what consists of your culture and identity, and the history of your family. You were taught to assimilate and earn your place in society. The problem with that, however, is the absence of holding onto and embracing your culture and history. Coming from a Vietnamese household, my family immigrated to the US to escape war. I’ve heard about the multiple stories that my family would tell about what life was like before and during the war. My family members explained all the famine and pain that they went through to survive.

“Surviving” is the key word.

We have the advantage to be able to “live” each and every single day without the worry of dangerous attacks that could occur at any given moment. We were brought onto this land for more opportunities. Recently, there was a decision made by the Trump Administration that affects many of Asian-American and desire to obtain more opportunities.

Here is a statement made by the Asian-American Student Union explaining more about the decision and how it affects Asian-American immigrant youths:

“The Asian-American Student Union is outraged with the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA is an “American immigration policy founded by the Obama administration in June 2012. DACA allows certain illegal immigrants, who entered the country as minors, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.” As immigrants and children of immigrants, the decision made by the Trump Administration to end this program heavily affects our community and neighbors. Of the 800,000 people who have been approved into the DACA program, 30,000 Asian-American immigrant youths also benefit from it. Many of the people who are a part of this program do not know of a home other than this one.

The Asian-American Student Union strongly supports DACA and stands by those affected by the ending of the program.

To our undocumented community friends:

You belong here. Every part of your existence is important. Please reach out to us, if there is anyway we can support you.”


It is important to recognize our privilege. It is important to understand where we came from. It is important to make a change. It is important to allow more opportunities.