Jess is a Vietnamese-Jewish Londoner who moved to Seattle to invest in, and work with, the Vietnamese American community. Before that, she worked at the National Football League as Head of Gender and Community Development creating workshops and trainings on domestic violence advocacy and male allyship. She founded “this is for mẹ”, a digital magazine for the Vietnamese and Southeast Asian diaspora to discuss mothers, motherhood, motherlands, mother-tongues and family, and also provides culturally competent birth support to Southeast Asian birthing parents in her spare time. When she's not doing the above, you'll find her cultivating her Muay Thai skills so that she can teach the next generation of API womxn about self defense and how to embody their physical strength.
I like making really tiny zines and the challenge of trying to express big ideas like love, loss and heartbreak with very few words, images and pages. It feels like I am writing a haiku or a poem, or trying to work through a puzzle.
I want the British Vietnamese identity to own both identities and values with more ease and less burden than our parents' generation faced. I would like more British Vietnamese folks to really own who they are and be fearless in that.
"We had ancestors who were food advisors and cooks for royal families in Central and Southern Vietnam. After the Vietnam War, it was harder to hold onto our treasured recipes. As a first-generation American, I want to ensure our family’s rich history and long-lasting love for Vietnamese food will still be celebrated by generations of Vietnamese people throughout the world."
In this except of this is for mẹ, Tam Nguyen reflects on a phone call with her mother, exploring how this simple interaction can carry pregnant silences, anchored by words left unsaid, and a love that is textured, ferocious and complex.
diaCRITICS is a blog that showcases voices and stories from writers, artists and culture-makers of the Vietnamese and Southeast Asian diaspora on and from all shores. We publish poetry, fiction, essays, reviews, visual art, and more. Our founding editor and publisher is Viet Thanh Nguyen. diaCRITICS is a project of the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN).