An Immigration Story: Fleeing Vietnam

An Immigration Story: Fleeing Vietnam

Tan Le talks about leaving Vietnam with her sister, Solo Mom, and grandmother

Tan Le is a scientist, entrepreneur, and activist. In 2011 she told her story at TEDxWomen, Tan Le: My Immigration Story. A refugee at age four, Le recounts how three generations of women in her family—she and her younger sister, her Solo Mom, and her grandmother—fled Vietnam, joining millions of “boat people” to seek a new start in Australia. Le’s immigrant story reminds us of the strength children can draw from the courage and determination of an immigrant Solo Mom.

Here’s an excerpt from her TED talk:

“How can I speak in 10 minutes about the bonds of women over three generations, about how the astonishing strength of those bonds took hold in the life of a four-year-old girl huddled with her young sister, her mother, and her grandmother for five days and nights in a small boat in the China Sea more than 30 years ago, bonds that took hold in the life of that small girl and never let go—that small girl now living in San Francisco and speaking to you today? This is not a finished story. It is a jigsaw puzzle still being put together.” —Tan Le, 2011

Photo credit: Screen shot from Ted Talks "Tan Le: My Immigration Story"

Elisa Martínez, ESME's Resource Guide for Immigration, is a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of Massachusetts. She’s also a Solo Mom to her larger-than-life son, Justin.

Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.

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