Victor Phu

2015-08-02 055Placement: San Francisco Unified School District; African American Achievement and Leadership Initiative Division and Mayor’s Office

My Hometown: San Jose, California

My Education: University of California, Berkeley; Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare and Double Minor in Public Policy & Education; Graduated in 2015

Selected Honors: 2011 Incentive Awards Program (IAP) Scholar; 2014 Public Policy & International Affairs (PPIA) Fellow

Selected Activities and Community Involvement: Recruitment & Retention Center for Asian/Pacific Islanders (REACH!); Southeast Asian Student Coalition (SASC); Asian Pacific American Student Development (APASD); West Coast Asian Pacific Islander Student Union (WCAPSU); Cal Students for Equal Rights and a Valid Education (CalSERVE)

Why San Francisco is important to me: As a Bay Area native, I grew up in East San Jose that consisted of immigrant families affected by poverty and violence. I avoided dangerous blocks in my neighborhood where my peers became victims of gang violence. I depended on welfare services due to the lack of accessible job opportunities, affordable housing and community building. I do not consider my story very unique because I know that many Bay Area immigrant families went through similar or more impactful experiences that influenced their life trajectory. Despite all of the adversity, I was still able to attend UC Berkeley to pursue higher education. Berkeley is where I became aware of the historical and political factors contributing to my hardships, and where I became motivated to change these systems for future generations.

Similar to San Jose, San Francisco has a large population of immigrants with a rich culture of activism and community organizing. During my Public Policy International Affairs fellowship, I visited San Francisco City Hall and met employees that originated from various parts of California working on multifaceted projects in The City. They taught me to view the hardships of my immigrant family not as issues, but rather to utilize my struggles and resilience to address the faults in city politics. San Francisco is more than a diverse city, but it is a collection of progressive-minded individuals engaging in innovative methods to improve city. I want to become a part of this movement and eventually address the issues affecting my city.

Something unique about me: I organized the Lactose Intolerant Asians (LIA). We have three platforms: 1) Free soy options at café’s. 2) Mass production of soy cheese in local delis. 3) No price discrimination towards Lactose Intolerant Asians.