Kien Truong is a first generation Vietnamese American migrant. He came to the United States in 2014 with his family to join his grandparents and much of his extended family in Portland. He attended Franklin High School and Portland Community College before transferring to Drexel University, where he graduated in 2021 with a major in Global Studies. At the time of this interview, Truong was involved in different social campaigns, community organizing, and was a staff member for Oregon State Senator Kayse Jama.
In this interview, Truong reflects on his different experiences as a newcomer in Portland. He shares stories of his first interactions in the city, like taking public transportation with his siblings for the first time and trying to enroll at Franklin High School. In addition, he discusses the cultural and linguistic barriers he had to overcome, and how navigating spaces for involvement continues to be an important part of advocating for the Vietnamese community and in the city at large. Truong discusses the generational differences and expectations of the Vietnamese American community, the struggles he has encountered, and the xenophobic and racist attacks that he and his mother have experienced while living here. At the end of this interview, Truong shares his hopes that the younger generations can become more politically active and improve the progress of the Vietnamese and Asian Pacific Islander communities.