QTViệt Cafe began when the three of us, Trang Tran, Han Tran, and Tracy Nguygen, were interested building a space to support the queer and trans (QT) Vietnamese community, a group that is largely silenced and marginalized.
Food is comforting and makes us feel good, so we decided to use food as a means to deconstruct social norms and bring visibility to the QTViệt community.
When we eat food, we do not think about its rich history or the untold story behind it. Together, we can use food to foster conversations, engage with others, and build intergenerational connections.
There comes a time when silence is betrayal. (voiced by Martin Luther King)
(Tracy Nguyen) Our parents and grandparents were in a middle of a war that led them to leave their country and arrive to the US and so sometimes that pain gets passed onto the young folks, second generation, like myself, and for those of you who don’t know, it’s really difficult to organize in the Viet community because of language and also a lot of trauma that we’ve been through because of the Vietnam War.
(Han Tran) They get to see their kids, the youth, experience telling their story of being queer, trans, and Vietnamese. Even though I am not queer, I still support 100%.
(Tracy Nguyen) As a queer, trans, and Vietnamese-led social enterprise, what we are doing is groundbreaking.
(Trang Tran) It is very rooted in community connection and healing, and using food and creativity as a platform to bring community together. I remember one of the comments that a customer made was that, “Oh, this meal make me remember when I grew up in Vietnam, like walking down the street and smelling the food!” So that’s the kind of connections and healing that is through our senses that you can get.
(Han Tran) I am a 3rd year at San Jose State University and I’m minoring in Business Administration so that’s where my status come into play with the social enterprise.
(Trang Tran) Youth Impact HUB and the fellowship that is offered is giving, I think, young people a new and innovative way to think about their efforts and contribution to the next economy. And that’s the term we are envisioning, like how economics can be empowering and how it can also be equitable to people of color. They were the one who helped us establish our foundation and purpose, and are continuing to mentor us and connecting us to the community in Oakland.
(Hai Vo) If you want to support a Viet business that is honoring our culture and honoring who we are, then I definitely want you to support QTViet Cafe!
We thank Youth Impact HUB Oakland for their support and guidance in helping us achieve our vision for the QTViệt Community.