E.J. Carter: This is E.J. Carter and Hannah Crummé. It is July 19, 2018 and we’re here with Thi Luong at the IRCO offices at the Asian Family Center in Portland. First of all, thank you for meeting us.
Thi Luong: Thank you, you’re welcome.
EC: Could you start by giving us an overview of your life here in Portland?
TL: My name is Thi Luong and I’ve been here since March 2004. I can say 14 years I’ve been in Portland and I went directly to here. My life in Portland now is kind of stable. I have a job and my son is growing up and graduated from Oregon University and got married. I think that’s the overview.
Hannah Crummé: Were you the first person from your family to come here?
TL: No. My relative came here in 1975. My dad and his family came here in 1991. At that time, because I got married I couldn’t go with my dad. My dad came here in 1991. I had to wait for him to get his US citizenship and sponsor me. So that’s why I came here late. Very difficult time.
HC: Can I ask what brought your father and the rest of your family to Portland when they left?
TL: I recall, because my dad came from HO and also because we have a relative. One relative lived here and another relative lived in California. So my dad went directly to Portland. But after a while he went to California to see if he was able to find a job over there. And he couldn’t find a job, so that’s why he came back to Portland and lived in Portland since then.
HC: Did he notice, when he did that, any differences between the Portland Vietnamese community and the Californian Vietnamese community?
TL: In California, the Vietnamese community is kind of like bigger. They support each other. A bit larger of a community over there than Portland. I don’t know, but with my dad, he liked Portland better.
HC: What features did he like better? Just the jobs or were there other things that made it more appealing?
TL: He said that the job and also the living cost. Everything was better and easier than California.
EC: What made you decide to come in 2004? Or had you already been making plans or thinking about coming to join your father?
TL: Honestly, at that time I had a good job in Vietnam, but I [was] very worried about my son. I knew that if he came here he would have an opportunity. So I didn’t mind starting over. So when my dad came back to Vietnam to visit me, I expressed the feeling that even here [in Vietnam] I have a good job, but I’m worried for my son so please sponsor me and my son. Also being a single mom, it is very hard to raise my son by myself in Vietnam. So my dad was ok with that and sponsored me.
The first time I came here I was very worried because, you know, language barrier, worry everything. But I don’t mind to work any job that can make money to support my son and also I had to support my mom in Vietnam. So the first time when I came here I went to beauty school to get a nail license. Compared with another job, working for a nail salon is easier. And just [go] to school for a few months and you can get a license. So, most of the Vietnamese, they start when they come to the US. I worked for a nail salon for a year and my cousin said, “Go back to school because you have a basic in English.” In Vietnam I learned English, of course it is so different here, but I have basic in English. My cousin said, “Ok go back to school and I can support you.” So I went back to school and I went to PCC to get English and two-years degree at PCC. And then started looking for a job.
HC: What was your degree at PCC in?
TL: Computer Application and Office Systems.
EC: When you first came to Portland, what part of the city did you settle in? What neighborhood?
TL: Northeast 75th and Burnside. That’s my dad’s house. And I lived there for a few months and then I moved to my cousin’s house. It’s bigger and had room for me and my son. My cousin, at that time, was located at 125th and Division. Now he moved to Happy Valley area. So I live there. I still live with him. My son moved out after he got married.
EC: Does your father still live near Burnside?
TL: Yes my father still lives there. And my Mom still lives in Vietnam [Laughs].
EC: Those first two locations, were there a lot of Vietnamese people in those neighborhoods?
TL: The first location, 75th and Burnside, at that time, there were no Vietnamese around. But nearby. They have a market nearby. At 125th and Division, I had a couple Vietnamese neighbors. One of them are dentists, so I went there to get my teeth done. Still go until now.
EC: Did that neighborhood change during the years that you were there?
TL: So far that I know, they still live there. But now in Happy Valley, there are no Vietnamese families at all around.
TL: I heard that they have some, but I don’t know them.
EC: What were your first impressions of Portland when you arrived?
TL: The first impression it’s so funny, after a couple months I got involved in a car accident. I went to Portland Beauty School and then one of my dad’s friends drove me home. On the way back we got hit by another car. That was the first time that I saw the police of the United States. And I was just scared because they have a lot of guns and also the firefighters came. I was just scared when I saw them because that was the first time that I saw that they have a gun. And they’re big compared with my country. So that was the first impression. But after being scared for a few moments, I felt safe. Another thing, of course in here everything is very organized. Like transportation, everything, it’s very impressive and it is much more organized than my country. One more thing, at my son’s school. When I took him to school, you know, they test him. The way that they talk, I can say that it is so different. Different with the school system, and so different than the system in Vietnam.
HC: How is it different?
TL: In here, the teachers, they follow the students by the level. In Vietnam, just no. For example, six years old, you have to go to first grade. Everything -- math, writing, reading, story, whatever, you have to follow with the level. Even if you’re better than that, if your level is higher than that, you still stay the same level no matter what. In here, it depends on your level. Depends on your school. And they will put you in the right level.
HC: Do you think that worked well for your son?
TL: Oh yeah. That totally worked well. And also, the ways that the teacher teaches is different. In Vietnam, because maybe it is the culture. For example, when the teacher said, no matter wrong or right, you have to be quiet. You have to listen. You can not talk back. You can not express your feelings. You can not express your ideas. Until the teacher has a question, you answer. Also in Vietnam, the teacher can spank the student. Here, you cannot. That’s the difference.
HC: How old was your son when you came?
TL: Ten years old.
HC: Did he have a hard time transitioning schools?
TL: No. We were impressed too. I was so worried when he went to school with no English. How can he understand what the teacher says? How can he understand friends? But after two months, I heard him speak English with his friend on the phone. I said, “Wow!” After a few months, wherever I go I had to take him to translate for me [Laughs.] It was very impressive.
HC: Did his school have lots of other Vietnamese children in it?
TL: I believe so, yes. Not a lot, but a few at that time.
HC: Could he also speak Vietnamese with friends there or were all his friends English speaking?
TL: All his friends were English speaking. They speak English. They feel more comfortable speaking English than Vietnamese.
HC: Did he go to any of the Vietnamese schools here as well?
TL: No. At that time, no.
HC: Because his Vietnamese was already good?
TL: Yes. He had to speak in Vietnamese with me at home [Laughs].
EC: Did either of you encounter any other challenges when you first arrived.
TL: Yeah, of course the English language. At that time, the second thing I was very scared of was learning how to drive. In Vietnam we drive motorcycles. And here, you drive a car. That was a very big challenge for me, learning how to drive.
HC: From the nail salon that you worked in originally, have lots of the other women who worked there gone on to do other things or have they stayed in beauty?
TL: I can say that most of them have stayed working with beauty salon because they don’t have an opportunity to go back to school. When they came here, most of them, they came here because of their kids, like me. They have to work. They have to make money as soon as possible. And they not only support a family here, but also have to support family in Vietnam. Most of them, I can say like ninety percent of women, came here and start doing nails. Just like ten percent or fifteen percent they leave that job. Most of them, they’ve been staying with that.
HC: And after you did your degree at PCC, did you then work in the field? Did you work in computers? You said your degree was in computers
TL: Yes. I used to work with a director, assistant in Vietnam. So my computer skills are good enough.
HC: Did you work in that here, after you got your degree in that?
TL: Yes. My first job was resource assistant at the Washington County. But after just a few months I got laid off because the funding was cut. After that, I applied for a clerk position at the library. I worked at the Multnomah County Library. During the probation time I was sick, so I took about six weeks with doctor note. When I came back, they said, “Sorry.” They could not give me past probation because my rate of absences was so high. So again, I got laid off. Then my third job is IRCO.
EC: Could you describe the work that you do as a family engagement specialist?
TL: FACES programs stand for Family Community Engagement Services. I am a family engagement specialist. We have a contract with PPS [Portland Public Schools] and I work for four schools. I help the Vietnamese families in those schools. Help them communicate with the school, learn about school policy, and connect them with resources and provide help towards our volunteers and help for the kids. I create group meetings, do monthly group meetings to let the parents learn new things from school, from the community, and connect them with resources if they need and help them with translating documents they have them. Something like that.
EC: How many different schools do you work with?
TL: Four schools. All in PPS.
HC: Which schools are those?
TL: Every year we have a little change. Last year I worked with Jason Lee, Lent, Vestal, and Harrison Park.
HC: Are those schools particularly heavily populated with Vietnamese families?
TL: Oh yes. They have a lot of Vietnamese parents. I have in my caseload, around 40 or 50 Vietnamese. Also I work for the CELs (stands for Community Engagement Liaison.) I work a project for city. That job, I work in the evening or weekend.
HC: In those neighborhoods where those schools are, do you see the structure of the Vietnamese community changing? Are the families that work with you very close to each other? How is that community structured?
TL: I can say, they really, really, like to have have Vietnamese staff there so they feel comfortable. I would like to share more about that and the Vietnamese community when they come here. The Vietnamese people, they come here and they don’t know about what different education systems in the school and in Vietnam. So most of them, they just think it is like in Vietnam; the kids go to school and the teacher takes care of everything. They expect that the teacher can discipline their kids. They just give all of the discipline to the teacher. They just expect that the teacher do all kinds of stuff. So when something happens and the teacher invites them for a meeting. They realize, “I think that’s your job. That’s your duty to discipline my kids.” And says, “No.” I can say that is very important for me. To explain to the parents, to educate them. How different. And what their duty is at home. And work closely with the teachers. Totally they don’t know.
Another thing. Because of the language barrier, it is hard for them to communicate and they feel uncomfortable. Like when they have something and they don’t know how to ask. They don’t know how to communicate with the school. Also, I have many Vietnamese families from different schools, when they hear about my name they say, “Why don’t we have Vietnamese staff in this school to help me?” Sometimes I have to set a time and go around and help them. They really need help but I don’t see many schools that have FACES programs. Like David Douglas School District, Parkrose District all in Beaverton, you know, Washington County -- they don’t have many Vietnamese there but they still have a Vietnamese family live there. I talked to my supervisor -- I would really like if we had a program, kind of like a “settle program” for newcomers. Because with the seven years I worked for IRCO, I usually worked for the parenting department. I was a parent educator. And I worked for DHS [Department of Human Services] per contract. I really liked that because, you know, the Vietnamese they [lack knowledge of] a lot laws. Many things can happen accidently and they totally don’t know. For example, domestic violence happens, they don’t know. Many, many women have been suffering abuse and they don’t know [what] to do. And they are afraid because they cannot speak English. I’d really, really love that if we had funding we could open that program. Because when a thing happens, I can say the government will spend a lot of money. Like the child have to take away. Or when domestic violence happens and after that they have to take care. It is a lot of money. Better that we can educate them when they first come. The basic law so they will learn about that. It is better.
I feel bad for many Vietnamese families. When bad things happen they don’t know what to do. If they know me or they know IRCO, they can come to IRCO. But many, many people they don’t know IRCO. They don’t know if we are able to help them or not. They just stay there and they just suffer.
HC: Are there ways that you think IRCO could reach those families better?
TL: Oh yes. Because the funding is very limited, we cannot serve more. For example, for me PPS has a contract for just a little. Just one full time only, that’s me. With the whole school. And it started just part time. So it’s not enough. A lot of schools, they still need help. I know that in PPS they have interpreters. But interpreters are not enough. Interpreters, they just come and they just interpret. But they don’t know about the culture. They don’t know about how to explain what [is] different between America and Vietnam. They don’t know how to explain that. It is very hard for the Vietnamese, especially for the newcomer.
HC: Are there any other community resources that are helping newcomers besides IRCO?
TL: I know that they have another agency. A couple agencies have Vietnamese staff. But not enough. For example, Asian Health Center, they have a couple Vietnamese over there. That’s all I know. DHS, some locations have Vietnamese staff. But not many.
EC: How many positions like yours do you think PPS really needs?
TL: I think because PPS has a lot of schools have Vietnamese students, I don’t remember how many, but along 82nd it's a lot. For example, just for the Vietnamese community from 82nd; Whitman, Woodmere, Kelly, Lent. A lot of schools. I know for sure that a Vietnamese community lives nearby. But they don’t have enough funds to pay for Vietnamese staff.
HC: Are there other organizations that are unifying that community? Is that community unified around the churches or the temples or other things that are bringing them together?
TL: Yes. Like VNCO [Vietnamese Community of Oregon.] But the thing is, VNCO, they just do political things. They fight for the human rights in Vietnam. We support that, but that’s all they do. That’s all they do. They have a Vietnamese community. Another thing, like temples and church, but that’s just for religion. They support each other in the religion field.
EC: Besides the counseling and tutoring in the FACES program, do you also do workshops and training programs?
TL: Workshops a couple times. It depends. But usually I do group meetings, monthly group meetings. I do home visits. I do workshops a couple times. And events. One year I did two big events; Lunar New Year and Barbeque Summer Picnic. That’s when I did the two biggest events for the community.
EC: What happens at the group meetings?
TL: For the group meetings, I make sure that all of my clients understand about policy at the school, communicate with the school, understand about the school system, [are] involved in school activities, and also if IRCO has anything, I announce it and let them know and help them to apply. If they qualify depends on the program and depends on what they need. That is what I do every month. Update new information.
EC: What social and economic issues do you think are most pressing the Vietnamese community?
TL: Like my job [Laughs.] I can say, When I worked at the parenting department, my program got funding from Children Levy. So I worked with the parents who had kids zero to five and got them to kindergarten readiness. Depends on the program. I can say that in all of the programs, it still benefits the Vietnamese community. Also, with the DHS, per the contract, I do follow up with them, home visit, and explain the law to make sure that they are safe. I can say, all of the programs, all of the social work it is very beneficial for the Vietnamese community. Because when they came here, new country, new system, new law, new everything. With the language barrier, that’s a very big thing that they have to face when they came here. When they got a job, just go to work, go home, go to work, go home, everyday. Besides that they cannot do anything else, like go to school, learn English, they don’t have time. They have to take care of kids. That’s why they have a lack of a lot of knowledge about the United States. I really want to have more programs, more social service that can help them better understand it.
HC: Are there any natural divisions in the Vietnamese community? Do the people who have come more recently interact with the people who came in the ‘70s and ‘80s or do the people who go to the Catholic Church interact with the people who go to the Buddhist temples?
TL: Not really. Except that in here they really hate communists [Laughs.] And so people came over recently and kind of because they lived with the communists for a long time. So for some people, the point of view for political is different. Except that if they’re quiet they don’t do anything or they don’t say anything, [then] it’s ok. But if they discuss political, it is a big deal, very big deal. And that is very sensitive. I have, a couple times, had to deal with it. For example -- the war. After 1975, the words in Vietnamese use difference with the words before 1975. So when I make a flyer, I have to make sure that I use the words before 1975. It is very sensitive. When I worked at the library, one time my coworker made a flyer and she forgot. She put the flag, the communist flag in the flyer. Thank god that I saw it. I said, “Oh my god, you delete that.” They will have a strike in front of the library tomorrow. She said, “Oh my god, I didn’t know.” So that is very sensitive. I can say, they who came recently or came over, of course if they come before they have knowledge and everything better than the person that just came. But that’s not important. The important thing is the [political] point of view. They just don’t say anything. Don’t discuss anything and they will be fine.
EC: Is that true of young people too or do they have different views?
TL: For young people, for example my son, he doesn’t care. They came here, they just go to school. They don’t really care about the political. But for my generation, yes, it is very sensitive. We lived there enough time to compare. Also I see that when my dad was in prison, he shared with me a very bad time in jail. Makes me, of course, upset and I don’t like communist government.
EC: Does your father interact with other veterans of the war? Does he have people here who he knew in Vietnam?
TL: He joins sometimes when VNCO have a strike. The thing is, he and me, [ … ] cannot do more than that because [ … ] I have to go back to Vietnam every year because my mom is still there. I don’t want to have any trouble during the time that I visit my mom. I really want to do more than that, but I cannot.
HC: What pressures you not to? How would doing more here cause problems for you in Vietnam?
TL: You know, maybe when I come back they won’t let me into the country.
HC: The Vietnamese government would know?
TL: Yes, the Vietnamese government would know. So my father and I, cannot do more. We support, but because of the situation we cannot do more than that.
EC: Do you bring your son back to see your mother as well?
TL: Actually, my son now he lives in Vietnam. He lives there because my mom is not in good shape. My mom is 81 years old and her heart has failed like seventy percent. She is just thirty percent active. So my son had to live there. I just come and visit once per year, I cannot do more than that. So my son has to live there. He works as an English teacher at a school there with his wife.
EC: Wow, that’s nice of him.
TL: Yeah. That is [part of] the culture. We have to take care of the elderly until they die.
HC: Is it common for people who have grown up in Portland to go back to Vietnam?
TL: Not too common. Many people, when they grow up in here, after graduating they want to find a job here. They can come to Vietnam to visit, but I would say eighty percent don’t want to live over there. The system and the people over there are different because they are brainwashed. Also they don’t have freedom. The government makes the kids grow up [with] dishonesty. With many, many things, the younger generation here don’t want to live in Vietnam. They come back to visit, yes. Like to visit another country for fun, that’s it. But ask them to live there, no they don’t want to.
HC: Does your son find it difficult to be over there after having grown up here?
TL: He is lucky because his wife, he married his wife in Vietnam. She helps him a lot, so he doesn’t have a difficult time. But he still has to be aware of everything. He cannot really socialize with everybody. He just makes friends with American teachers. He very rarely goes out. He is very aware of everything.
EC: So when students from the Vietnamese community make it through the school system, does the economy here in Portland seem to offer them a lot of opportunities?
TL: Yeah, I can say that. I don’t know, sometimes PPS changes. They ask them to pay for lunch last year. Some schools, the parents have to pay for lunch. If they qualify -- low income -- they can get free. If not, they have to pay. That is some challenge for many families. For example, the income, they count the income before taxes. With that amount it is still hard for them. It is still a struggle for them. But they don’t qualify low income. But in general, PPS supports.
HC: And when they finish high school, do the students often go on to university?
TL: Yes, I heard that now, PSU offers for free for college students. I don’t know how they qualify, but I heard about that. That’s very good news because many Vietnamese parents are very worried of cost. For example, my son, I don’t have money to support him. He had to borrow a loan. He had to work and get a scholarship. Many parents are still worried. Their kids have to owe money and have to pay it back later. But they cannot do anything. They worry but they cannot do anything.
HC: Once they go to college, do the students who have gone through the Portland Public Schools and then university, or not university, do they have success finding jobs in Portland?
TL: Yes. So far, I’ve still heard that for a few people it is challenge. Some kids have to move to other states to find a job. I’ve still heard. But I think that is common. Some people have to start with a job that is not in their field, not in their career. But they have to work to have experience. For example, my son, after he graduated, he couldn’t find a job here. He applied. He wanted to start at the bank because his major is business. He wanted to start at the bank. He applied and he couldn’t get it. So after a few months he said, “Ok, I’ll go to Vietnam. Visit Grandma and when I go back I’ll find a job.” When he went back to Vietnam to visit my mom, some school offered him to be an English teacher. He decided, “Ok, I will stay there.”
HC: After the students go to university, do they often come back to the same neighborhood or do they live elsewhere in Portland? A lot of the first generation, it sounds like, is around 82nd. Do their children come back to 82nd or do they live elsewhere?
TL: It actually depends on the family. With my culture, we still live with the parents until they die. We don’t live far away even if we get married. Depends on the family. Some families, if the kids have a good connection, are close, then the kids go back and live with their parents. But some kids want to move. They want to move out. They move to another state. Depends on the family. But for the parents, and I can say ninety-nine percent want the kids to live with them. They don’t want them to move far away. That is the culture. But [it] depends on the kids.
EC: Are there any other groups or individuals who consider to have leadership positions in the community? Or people that you look to for guidance and inspiration?
TL: I don’t know. I think they just have VNCO. I would like VNCO to do more than that. But the thing is, they don’t have money I think so. They just support the political, that’s all they do. I would love if we had a group, like social work. If they can support the community, that’s better. The group that [is] able to provide more services. Right now, many people just rely on IRCO. Like rely on me or some Vietnamese staff around here. But we don’t have enough. We don’t have time to serve everybody. Also with funding we are very limited.
Another thing, with the culture, they came here and maybe because they lived in Vietnam long enough to scare the other people. They live and aware and afraid, they don’t trust each other at the beginning. But they trust us. They trust the Vietnamese staffs and we work with IRCO or DHS if they have a chance to communicate they will trust at the beginning.
HC: Why don’t they trust each other?
TL: Like I said, they lived in Vietnam and everything. There is dishonesty around and they are aware. They don’t trust at the beginning for awhile because they are afraid. That is what they have experienced in Vietnam.
HC: They are afraid of each other?
TL: Fraud, liar, take advantage …
HC: Ok, they are worried there will be dishonest business practices or something like that?
TL: Yes, dishonest.
HC: They are not worried about word getting back to Vietnam in some way about their lifestyle in America, they are just worried about cheating each other.
TL: Just cheating each other, yes. Of course, I know that many Vietnamese people, I don’t say that they are liars, but they try to, for example, they like to work and receive cash instead of check. They try to pay less taxes. We can understand, now they have to support family and also support family in Vietnam. So they really need cash. They need the money without paying taxes.
HC: They want to take advantage of whatever systems they can?
TL: Yes, I can say that. But thank god, not many people. It’s just a few. Because they lack the knowledge. So when I come to them, I explain. You know what? It’s because that is what happens in Vietnam. They pay taxes and they get nothing later. They don’t know where tax goes to. That’s why in their mind, here just like in Vietnam. But if they have a chance to meet me, then we can explain. We let them know. And when they get the understanding, they will change it.
HC: Are there any events during the year that bring the community together?
TL: Lunar New Year.
HC: Lunar New Year, Tet.
TL: Yeah Lunar New Year. And at the temple they celebrate. At the church they celebrate. The community celebrates. Even at school they celebrate. That’s a big event every year. And they do that event, around three or four hundred people come.
HC: That’s very nice.
TL: VNCO, they do big celebration event, the people come and have to buy the ticket. But for me I do it free. So you come more.
EC: Do you think if the community was more organized politically there possibly could be more funding for programs like yours, like FACES?
TL: Absolutely. I would really love if we could get more funding. The thing I really like, the Vietnamese community is special for the newcomer. They have opportunities to learn a new country, learn the culture, the law. Everything. Here is totally different.
HC: How long do you think it took you to learn that stuff?
TL: For me, because of my situation, I’m lucky. My cousin has been here since 1975. So I have family to teach me at the beginning. But with many of the other people, they don’t have that opportunity. To be honest, sometimes I translate for people who have been here 20 years or 25 years. They still don’t know anything because they came here and it is just go to work, go home, go to work, go home. So they totally don’t know.
HC: It can take a long time.
TL: Nobody tells them. Nobody teaches them. Nobody educates them. Nobody explains to them.
HC: Do you think that there is anyway that the Vietnamese community could organize to influence city or state government to help provide more funding or better resources?
TL: That is a good question but I don't know. I think just in IRCO. I shared that with my supervisor. [To see] if he can help me to try to propose a new settle program. Something like that, I don’t know how to name it. But I really would love to have a program for newcomers. We not only do it in Vietnamese, but also we do it in different languages. All refugees, immigrants. So they come for the workshop I could say like one month. And everyday I could invite. For example, the police come and talk about the law; DUI, about DMV... I can invite people from different agencies. A city [representative will] come and they talk about that. So they can learn a new things everyday. For example for one month. That’s enough [so that they will] have a knowledge about the new country. I would really love to open a program like that.
Because when something happens, I feel bad. I’ll share with you, a couple things happened that I feel really bad for the Vietnamese. One of the families, the uncle shower for his nephew. And you know, with my country, with my culture, uncle can shower for the boy or the girl under six years old. So when he showered, he just wash him. Maybe he did something like hurt him. He went to the school and he reported that. Now his uncle had to go to jail for three years. That’s the culture. But we tried to explain, but the court said, “No.” Because the kid said that. The second thing, a mom showered for the boy. And just, the boy so active and she spanked him a little bit because he is so active, in like a disciplined way. And he reported that. And mom had to go to court for like six months. We had to help her with that. 24 hours she cannot stay by herself with the boy. Have to have some people in the middle. It is a so difficult time. In her mind she was disciplining the boy. Of course, I understand that we have a really strict law here with the kids. But some cultures, they just don’t know. And they think it is normal. And now, [ … ] their life.
EC: Does IRCO or other organizations have legal assistance programs for those kind of cases?
TL: In here, we just have legal assistance for help applying for US citizenship or renewing green cards.
EC: Not for court cases?
TL: No. Except if on the legal case, we transport them to the court, a couple things like that. But not really directly helping them with the court. We don’t have that here. That’s another thing. If IRCO had funding for a lawyer [who would be] able to help with a client. That’s an example of them lacking the knowledge. That’s one of the examples. Their life, after you go to jail, you have a record about that. I feel really, really bad for that family. I understand the kids. I don’t say that they are lying, that’s just the culture.
I really, really want that. If we can have a program, we can open the program or hire different ethnic staff to help their community. I don’t know about other communities. I just know about Vietnamese. And I have to help out a lot of DHS cases. I feel bad because most of the cases, with the Vietnamese culture, they don’t know. They totally don’t know what abuse is. The husband and wife can argue with each other, throw stuff at each other. That’s ok in Vietnam. They don’t know [that it’s] not ok in the [US.] And they think, “That’s my family.” That’s what they think. So it happens. When that happens, you’re done. I feel bad for them, but nothing I can do. Just support them. Explain to them. But that’s too late.
HC: Is there anything else that we haven’t asked about that you think we should know about in this interview?
TL: I think I’ve covered all of this. The important thing first, is sensitiveness about communists. The second thing that about the community, lack of the knowledge. Bad things can happen and it’s just too late
EC: Well thank you for meeting with us. Again this was E.J. Carter and Hannah Crummé speaking with Thi Luong at the Asian Family Center on July 19th, 2018. Thanks again.
TL: Thank you so much.