Introduce yourself! What should the world know about you?
Born and raised in California, I thrive in both wild and domesticated communities that are rich in diversity. Every step I take is because I stand on the shoulders of my Chinese Vietnamese ancestors, and who I am is most impacted by my immigrant parents, my 50 first cousins, and my three older siblings. With a formal education from UC Santa Barbara and a lifelong education from people and plants, I do my best to navigate a happy life for myself and the beings that surround me.
What are you passionate about?
Conservation, community engagement, and the intersection between the two.
What drives you as a person, a leader, and a storyteller? What or who shapes you?
The best way I got to know about my family and our history was through quiet car rides with my Baba: when there was a destination, but the journey was smooth, and all that stood between us and there was time. My father would share about his life back in Vietnam, and when I got older and better able to understand the intricacies of privilege, he shared about being a refugee – his morals shaping every story. That calmness, comfort, and connection back to my own life I experienced as a story-listener shapes me as a storyteller. The story content is important, but I’ve learned that what matters more is weaving in a sense of place, cultural understanding, authentic love, and intention, communicated with passion, and most nimble of all, timing.
Why did you apply to the Rethink Outside™ Fellowship? What are you hoping to learn from this experience?
What brings me fulfillment is tied up between caring for the land and caring for the people. Caring for one is caring for the other, in a gorgeous circle that never ends. However, many capitalist, racist systems today have revoked the rightful human privilege to connect with the land. But, after all, systems are only made of people, and I want to continue work within the system that is opposite to these exclusionary values. I trust in this fellowship to be a part of that positive systemic change. I trust that the fellowship will build a community together that will be collaborative, rejuvenating, and share the skills I need to be successful.
How will the Rethink Outside™ Fellowship experience help you address the systemic barriers for access to, and representation / leadership of Black, Indigenous, and people of color in the movement to connect people and nature?
Opportunities like this are the catalyst for 1,000s of lives to change, simply by 1 participating fellow. The mounting capitalist and racist systems are so overwhelming, that not only is skill exchange important, but so is the community Rethink can offer.
What is your favorite activity / place which connects you to nature and the outdoors?
Camping and hiking