“When I first came here I was in fourth grade, I didn't speak any English and I felt I didn't belong to my school and to any new places. I was homesick for a while until after two years or so,” said Thao, who arrived in the U.S. with her parents and brother in 2008 from Vietnam where she was born.
“My dad used to work for the U.S. Army Force at the time of the Vietnam War. They [the U.S.] offered him to come here after the war because he served in their army, but he first didn't want to. After he got married and he had me and my brother, he realized that we didn't have enough money to afford the school over there so we had to come here for better opportunities and a better life,” she said.
Thao’s goal is to pursue a career as a psychologist, to “learn about people's behavior.” By then she will become a U.S. citizen. “I am going to take the citizenship test next summer,” she said with a big smile on her face.
“When I came here I learned about new morals, and I have learned more about life than when I was in Vietnam. When I was in Vietnam, I felt I was trapped into something, it was hard. Here it is freer and you can do whatever you want and speak up for yourself. I knew none of that in Vietnam,” said Thao as she stood among a large crowd asking for justice and equality for all individuals regardless of citizenship and race at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.