Trinh Truong was 3 years old when she arrived in the US as a Vietnamese refugee on March 8th, 2001. Her grandfather fought alongside American allies during the Vietnam War. After the war, the Northern Vietnamese had imprisoned her grandfather and her entire family had to go into hiding in the jungles. In 1994, as reparation for the abuse that her grandfather had suffered in prison, her grandfather, her grandmother, and her uncle were eligible for political asylum in the United States and decided to take the opportunity.
The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees helped her grandfather and uncle acquire fluency in English, and helped her uncle obtain an industrial job at Utica Converters. The Refugee Center also played a major part in helping her family rent their first apartment on Kemble Street.
In 2001, Trinh and her mother were finally able to come to the United States under refugee status. The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees again played a huge role in their transition and settlement. Trinhs mother, Trang, took classes at the center to gain fluency in English. Trinh and her mother were also granted an apartment on Genesee Street for a few months, courtesy of the Refugee Center. They eventually moved into the apartment where the rest of their family was staying, Eventually, their family would go on to purchase a house on Elm Street, where they live to this day.
Since 2001, Trinh and her mother have become American citizens. Also, Trinh has worked very vigorously to succeed in her studies and will graduate in 2015 in the top margin of her class. She understands that education is the most valuable tool in relation to socioeconomic mobility, and does not take it for granted. Her goal is to take care of her mother like her mother has worked laboriously to take care of her.
At school, she is very involved in clubs such as Model United Nations, Speech and Debate, and Future Business Leaders of America. In the past year, she established the Culture Club, which connects English as a Second Language students with mainstream students to promote social inclusion and cultural appreciation.
She is a very invested leader in her community. As an advocate for constitutional rights, she is the youngest board member on the Central New York chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. She is also a founding member and President of the Utica Youth Common Council, as well as intern and youth representative for Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi of the 119th Assembly District.
As a fellow of the Central New York Diplomatic Youth Fellowship, Trinh will be representing Central New York as a Youth Delegate to the United Nations this summer (August 2014). She will be working to solve international youth issues with young leaders from all over the world.
Trinh still has a large number of family members back in Vietnam. Her current goal is to attain her JD as well as her PhD in international and constitutional law. Ultimately, she wants to become the first Vietnamese Secretary of State or a Supreme Court Justice.