Xin chào — Hello there.
The REFUGENE project exists to show appreciation for our elders, to honor our refugee heritage, and to leave our own legacy. Why? Because our parents were displaced from Vietnam in 1975. They, like many others, sacrificed and persevered to provide our family with better lives than their own. We are their children—Americans of Vietnamese descent—who want to remember where we came from. This project is our way of keeping our heritage part of our daily lives.
‘REFUGENE’ is the extraordinary resilience in refugees—the trait we hope to pass from generation to generation. It is in our DNA, either dominant or recessive, and therein lies our mission: Find it in yourself, look for it in others, and live by it for life.
This website is the home of our work. Everything we do tries to answer this central question, “What should never be forgotten about who we are and where we came from?”
In order to answer that question, we learn about the refugee experience to understand its influence on our identity. We have conversations with refugees and their descendants. We look for stories of grit, success, failure, loss, happiness, family, tradition, and more. By sharing our experiences, we will uncover common characteristics of our history and heritage. Over time, we’ll create an invaluable resource for the benefit of many generations.
Our specific focus is on bringing our cultural identities into our daily lives.
We believe having a sense of identity is empowering. Our actions as first- and second- generation Americans will impact how much of culture is passed onto the next generations. We have a lot of conversations, we write about real experiences, and we create designs to immerse ourselves in what we’ve learned about our cultures. Here are our latest designs.
This who we are. This is our vision. This is our journey.