Thuy Tran is an optometrist who came to the United States from Vietnam as a child in 1975. She grew up in Westminster, California, and moved to the Portland area to attend Pacific University. Tran is very involved in the community and wants to do what she can to improve quality of life in Portland: she is the Oregon State Representative of House District 45, she is a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard, owns Rose City Vision Care, and participates in multiple community organizations in Portland.
In this interview, Tran articulates the importance of empathy when it comes to addressing problems in the community regarding safety. She shows how problems like safety must be addressed at their core so that they can be solved using preventive measures: safety problems stem from systematic discrimination such as inaccessible health services and houselessness. She believes one of the many ways systematic discrimination can be overcome is to encourage diversity and inclusivity in lawmaking at all levels.
Tran feels a deep connection to the Vietnamese community in Portland and is a part of another oral history project dedicated to Vietnam War Veterans. She knows how historical events are deeply intertwined with systematic problems, and how they can affect people: “Collecting these stories will help us remember and not let the Vietnam War be a few paragraphs in a history book.”