A shining star guided a fishing boat with Vietnamese refugees to safety, and ultimately led to a new dream

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In1988, a shining star guided a fishing boat with Vietnamese refugees to safety, and ultimately led to a new dream.

Phuoc Nguyen and his family was one of several families who survived a dangerous escape attempt from Vietnam on a fishing boat. Phuoc was only 13 at the time when he fled Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh City, with his single mother and five siblings. Prior to boarding the fishing boat, children were not told the purpose of the trip and how it would change their lives forever. Along the way, the children learned the purpose of their journey. Hearing conversations of other refugees not surviving their escape and encountering pirates, the reality of the situation set in.

After several days of navigating through Vietnamese government patrolled water, Phuoc’s ship had lost its way. It was at that point the captain decided to “take a chance on following a bright shining star,” said Phuoc.

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First They Killed My father, Lucky Child

First They Killed My father, Lucky Child

Lou Ung, a survivor of the Cambodian genocide, has written two books based on her life. The first book, first they killed my fatherFirst They Killed My Father, is about how she endured the work camps and trained as a child soldier at five years old under the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge ruled during 1975-1979. Nearly two million people (25 percent of its population at the time) died under the dictator Pol Pot who died in 1998 at age 73. This history and its capitol is known as the Killing Fields.

There is also a book and movie called The Killing Fields based on the experiences of a Cambodian and American Journalist.

A memorial is based out of the capitol Phnom Penh to honor those who were lost and as a reminder of the tragic past in Cambodia’s history to never forget. It is a place to educate both Cambodians and foreigners who visit Cambodia and built around the mass graves that had been discovered from this period. A Khmer Rouge survivor has also built a Killing Fields Museum in Seattle, Wa.

Lou Ung’s second book is Lucky Child that tells the story of the aftermath of her lou ung lucky childtraumatic childhood and the transition as a new refugee to the United States.  Lou Ung has been through much, more than most see in a life time. She has been able to take her life experiences and turn them into her life’s work starting with telling her story and then her activism.

There is now a new movie being made based on her story with Angelina Jolie will be directing for Netflix along with her adopted son Maddox, also Cambodian, working behind the scenes. Both Angelina and Lou Ung met back in 2001 and wrote the script together. They have become friends. Lou Ung says she completely trust Jolie with the telling of her story.

Filming will start in November of 2015. Jolie has stated that this “will be my tribute to the strength and dignity of all Cambodian people.”

I also was honored to meet and talk with Lou Ung. A small woman in stature, but mighty in heart and spirit. She has continued to make me  proud to be Cambodian. Please check out books and movie when it comes to Netflix.

Children of Asian Immigrants Share About the Sacrifices of Their Parents

parentsvncanthoWith Father’s Day coming up, I am not only thankful for the sacrifices my Asian mother made, but to my American born (caucasian) father who returned to Vietnam for my mother and me after his time in the American War in Vietnam. From the racism I experienced from others, I had to learn how to work through my own internalized racism. Today, I am no longer ashamed, but proud of my Asian Heritage and I am most definitely proud of my Asian Immigrant mother. She left in the middle of war to follow her heart and the man she loved. She had to leave her parents and all of her family in Vietnam behind.  (My reflection I wrote to my mother below video clip).

Hear more reflections from other children of Asian immigrants about the gratitude for the sacrifices made by their immigrant parents in the video clip below. Some day I will share more of my experience and reflections. 

letter to mom (c)
Reflection I wrote to my mother -Thuy Smith (C) 2015

Why do we need a Black American History Month?

Why do we need a Black American History Month?

Black History Month is an opportunity to educate the public about the true experiences of black America in its entirety. Some have asked, “but what about a white American history month?”

American history has been predominately about white history. It has always been taught to us 12 months in a year. American history only teaches about white Americans, their experiences, and their perspectives. Through the years our history books claim how white Europeans discovered this land and turned it into the great country that it is today. However, history books used in our schools for many generations have painted a very different picture from what actually took place for the people of color in our country. (Future examples coming)

During Black History month we not only want to highlight the unfortunate parts of our history we need to learn from, but also about the contributions all of our Americans have made.

Black History Month is a time to highlight positive images of black Americans rather than the stereotypes and myths that are presented and perpetuated throughout the media. It is a month to educate white and other Americans not only about the struggles and injustices, but the leadership and contributions of black Americans. This month is to honor those who have carried the cross and paved the way toward making change not only for blacks, but other minority Americans in our country.

There are many black inventors and inventions, pioneers in various fields, artists of various genres, that most of America have never even heard about and our history books have left out. This month is a time to introduce, highlight, and honor them and their contributions.

Our other Related Posts:

On Biography.com, learn more about Carter G. Woodson, the African-American historian whose work established Black History Month.
Carter G. Woodson, the African-American historian whose work established Black History Month. Via: biography.com Click image to learn more about him.

Other Images from History:

Black family vacations in the 1950s: An untold story
Black family vacations in the 1950s: An untold story. Via: new.byu.edu
In 1917, five years after its inception, the first troop of African American girls was formed. This photo, taken in the late 1930s, is of the first African-American troop in the Dixie Region, which covered the Southern states. Source: Girlscouts.org
In honor of the the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts, we’re highlighting the history of black girls and women in the organization. Via: MadameNoire
Rosie the Riveter, African American style
Rosie the Riveter, African American style. Via: flickr.com
Mother and Daughters 1940s
Vintage photo (1940s) Beautiful picture of mother and her daughters. Via: Flickr (discover black heritage)
Black Dads Photo Of The Day
Beautiful photo of Father and Daughter Via: mokmakell.wordpress.com
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Like father like son! Via: explosion.com

Leadership, Inventions, and Other Major Contributions by Black American Men

Honoring Black American Men, their leadership, and contributions for Black History Month. These are some of our picks to help put a positive face rather than the negative images and stereotypes that usually white Americans see through the media. These men, our black American men, have contributed much to their country (see below)

Related Posts:

Black History

Julian Abele (April 30, 1881 – April 23, 1950) was a prominent African-American architect, and chief designer in the offices of Horace Trumbauer. He contributed to the design of more than 400 buildings, including the Widener Memorial Library at Harvard University, Duke University Chapel, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Julian Abele (April 30, 1881 – April 23, 1950) was a prominent African-American architect, and chief designer in the offices of Horace Trumbauer. He contributed to the design of more than 400 buildings, including the Widener Memorial Library at Harvard University, Duke University Chapel, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Via: Wikipedia
Ernest Everett Just made pioneering contributions to the cytology and embryology of marine organisms, and in 1925 demonstrated the carcinogenic effects of ultraviolet radiation on cells. Just is also a founder of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Ernest Everett Just made pioneering contributions to the cytology and embryology of marine organisms, and in 1925 demonstrated the carcinogenic effects of ultraviolet radiation on cells. Just is also a founder of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Via: 24.media.tumblr.com
William Augustus Hinton (15 December 1883, Chicago, Illinois – 1959, Canton, Massachusetts) was an African American bacteriologist, pathologist and educator. He was the first black professor in the history of Harvard University. A pioneer in the field of public health, Hinton developed a test for syphilis which, because of its accuracy, was used by the United States Public Health Service.
William Augustus Hinton (15 December 1883, Chicago, Illinois – 1959, Canton, Massachusetts) was an African American bacteriologist, pathologist and educator. He was the first black professor in the history of Harvard University. A pioneer in the field of public health, Hinton developed a test for syphilis which, because of its accuracy, was used by the United States Public Health Service.
Tony Hansberry II isn’t waiting to finish medical school to contribute to improved medical care.  "I've always had a passion for medicine," he said in a recent interview. "The project I did was, basically, the comparison of novel laparoscopic instruments in doing a hysterectomy repair.” By the way, Hansberry is a 14-year-old high school freshman.
Tony Hansberry II isn’t waiting to finish medical school to contribute to improved medical care. “I’ve always had a passion for medicine,” he said in a recent interview. “The project I did was, basically, the comparison of novel laparoscopic instruments in doing a hysterectomy repair.” By the way, Hansberry is a 14-year-old high school freshman. Via: eurweb.com
AFRICAN AMERICAN DR. HENRY SAMPSON JR. - INVENTOR OF CELL PHONE
AFRICAN AMERICAN DR. HENRY SAMPSON JR. – INVENTOR OF CELL PHONE. Via: bfhsnetwork.com
Dr. Daniel H. Williams Born: Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania 1856 Invention: Performed First Open Heart Surgery Dr. Daniel Hale Williams was an African American physician who made history by performing the first successful open heart surgery operation
Dr. Daniel H. Williams Born: Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania 1856 Invention: Performed First Open Heart Surgery Dr. Daniel Hale Williams was an African American physician who made history by performing the first successful open heart surgery operation. Via: biography.com
Though Thomas Edison is recognized as the inventor of the light bulb, African-American inventor Lewis Latimer played an important role in its development. In 1881, Latimer patented a method for making carbon filaments, allowing light bulbs to burn for hours instead of minutes. Latimer also drafted the drawings that helped Alexander Graham Bell receive a patent for the telephone.
Though Thomas Edison is recognized as the inventor of the light bulb, African-American inventor Lewis Latimer played an important role in its development. In 1881, Latimer patented a method for making carbon filaments, allowing light bulbs to burn for hours instead of minutes. Latimer also drafted the drawings that helped Alexander Graham Bell receive a patent for the telephone. Via: biography.com
Garret Augustus Morgan (1877-1963) This is the inventor the traffic light, gas mask, and hair relaxer
Garret Augustus Morgan (1877-1963) This is the inventor the traffic light, gas mask, and hair relaxer. Via: Listverse.com