Kenny N.



My Ong Noi (grandfather) taught me everything there is to know about love. Growing up, I remember life being so chaotic. My family left Vietnam as refugees and settled in Massachusetts. So after arriving, my parents were navigating life as new parents and a new couple in a completely new country at such a young age. And I wasn’t the easiest kid to take care of either, so there was definitely a lot of tension and turmoil in my life growing up.

However, my Ong Noi was always my safe space. I loved spending time with him. He showed me, and all of his grandchildren, so much love and attention that it made me forget about all the chaos. He taught me patience, he taught me understanding, and he taught me the true meaning of love and the true meaning of safety. He would tell me stories about the war and what he went through. The fear he had for his children as they escaped. The troubles they had when they arrived in the United States.

He went through all of this, but was still the most kindhearted and loving person. It taught me the importance of having a positive outlook on life, and that we can still treat each other with love and respect, even after enduring life’s greatest challenges. And that this is so important because you always want to make people around you feel good, safe, and uplifted, because you never know what someone else is going through.

My Ong Noi taught me that love is a great form of resistance. Love in the face of war, trauma, and conflict is how we can rise above and create the world in which we want to see.