Thúy Phan came to Portland in 1985 from Quang Nam, Vietnam. Many members of Phan’s family were already established in Portland, including her grandfather, who sponsored her family’s transition. Phan works as an advocate for renters in Portland with the Community Alliance of Tenants and is a mother to a young son. Her work is mostly in helping people navigate the work of renting, especially those who have no other outlets for help.

In this interview Phan explains her first few years in Portland, what stuck out to her the most and which people and communities were most supportive in the transition. Phan speaks on her experiences at Portland Community College and the language barrier struggles that she had with her fellow students. Phan expresses the joys and challenges that come with her job as an advocate, how being able to help her community makes her happy but the frustration when she is unable to help further. Phan touches on the themes that she finds to be troubling her community most: language, lack of education in business, and lack of accessible information in general. She also mentions the rifts in the Vietnamese community itself between the people that came to America before, during, and after the war and how cultural views and colloquialisms create boundaries.