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.
Dear Sweet Baby, / I thought of you last night. / Your memory hit me with / A pierce and an ache, / And I sobbed longingly for you. Deep belly crying, / The kind that howls. / Three years ago today / I found out that after 13 weeks of carrying you, / I had lost you.
The first time I read On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous, I got off the bus three stops early and cried outside of a 7-Eleven. So, when Ocean Vuong came to Seattle for a collaborative event hosted by the Seattle Public Library and The Elliott Bay Book Company, I knew I had to attend.
I was only a child when the war began / Just six years old when they came for a “meeting” / I saw Ma tremble as Ba ran to hide / He squeezed behind the armoire, “Hush, my child” / The space was so narrow, “Don’t say a word” / Something was wrong, I’d never seen him there before
There is a lot of conversation around inherited trauma. They are so very real. We’ve lived with them and through them. But I wanted to also cradle our inherited strength in our other hands, holding them side by side as a reminder that we are given this very strength that will walk us through the trauma.
I try out the words in context, the way she used to—or at least the way I remember she used to.
Family must Hy Sinh for each other.
Mother has experienced so much Khó Khăn.
You must Chịu Khó in order to be successful. […]
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).