Source: Amanda Sagba from the Andover Townsman
Name of AAPI FigureTram Nguyen
What is the person’s Asian heritage or ethnicity?Vietnamese
Area of InfluenceLaw/politician
Date of birth or time period22-Jun-86
How did this individual make a contribution to their field or to society/culture at large?Tram Nguyen has set many precedents for the AAPI community in Massachusetts including being the first Vietnamese American elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, the first Asian American women on the Caucus of Women Legislators, and the first Asian American woman to serve as vice chair of a committee. She currently represents the 18th essex district (North Andover, Andover, Boxford, Tewksbury). She often advocates for the rights of the marginalized and voiceless, and her legislation and work has helped anyone from young students to the elderly.
Why did you choose this person? What about their story speaks to you?Nguyen’s odds were stacked against her from the start. She is a first-generation immigrant and a minority. Despite this, she speaks for others, and represents more than herself, even receiving former President Barack Obama’s support. She is a role model to aspiring politicians. She is a role model to the AAPI community. She is a role model to females all over the country.
How does this person inspire you?Nguyen continues to speak for minorities. Her district is but a small part of Massachusetts, yet her numerous accolades and work on statewide legislation speaks volumes. I, too, aspire to breach barriers of race, color, and gender and inspire future generations.
What surprised you as you were learning about this person?Tram’s family came to America with nothing but $100 to their name. By then, her father was a prisoner of war for 8 years, and her mother could not yet speak english. Breaking past this, she graduated near top of her class in high school, then went on to receive two degrees. As a politician, she ran against the incumbent representative of 8 years and won. Her story is surreal and it’s almost unbelievable how many obstacles she had to overcome.
Resources to share if others want to learn more (optional)–list websites, books, or other resources you used to learn about the person
Submitted byZara Nip
City, StateWeston, Massachusetts