Khanh Pham, Organizing Director of OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, was born in Edmond, Oklahoma but moved with her family to Irvine, California at age eleven. Pham enjoys moving between the worlds of community organizing, policy advocacy, research, and media/communications. After receiving her undergraduate degree from Lewis & Clark College, Pham went on to obtain a Masters Degree in urban planning from Portland State University. A social activist and community leader, she has worked in the field of climate justice organizing, leadership development, and advocacy.

Pham starts by speaking about her childhood in Oklahoma and California. From there, she discusses her decision to attend college out of state, even though it was against her parent’s wishes. While at Lewis & Clark, Pham studied abroad in both Vietnam and Zimbabwe. In the interview, she explains the large impact that her semester in Vietnam had on her perspective and trajectory. Pham mentions that she has always been a social activist, but that her organizing and activism work really started after she graduated from Lewis & Clark. After discussing her time in college, Pham moves on to talk about her career path and her decision to obtain a Masters Degree in urban planning. She relates urban planning to the Vietnamese American community, bringing up issues of displacement and climate change. Next, Pham talks about her organizing work with OPAL, where she recently was named Organizing Director. From there, Pham discusses the Vietnamese American community more generally, contemplating where she sees herself fitting in. Near the end of the interview, Pham brings up her parent’s experiences living in the United States as first generation refugees and how that affected her childhood.