Opening doors of opportunity in the field of social justice

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Shaped by growing up in Oakland, California during the 1980s — the city’s crack years, she says — Vien Truong has dedicated her career to fundamentally ending poverty. Truong is president of the Dream Corps, and she believes in the power of an inclusive and equitable green economy.

Truong has developed numerous energy, environmental and economic policies and programs at the state, federal and local levels, and has advised on billions of dollars in public investments for energy and community development programs.

In 2016, Truong received the White House Champion of Change award for her work on climate equity. That year, she also was recognized as a “Power Shifter” on the Grist 50.

Bard MBA faculty member Jorge Fontanez spoke with Truong about what led her to this work, and how the Dream Corps is helping to solve tough problems by uniting innovators across racial, social and even partisan lines.

Jorge Fontanez: Share your origin story. How did your upbringing lead to your career combatting environmental and social injustice?

Vien Truong: My parents came [to the United States] as refugees. I’m the youngest of 11. My mom was actually pregnant with me when she got into the little rickety boat to get out of war-torn Vietnam. I was born in a refugee camp that was exactly what you would imagine an internment camp to look like: steel cages surrounding the perimeter of shacks that people were crammed into.

We eventually made it to Portland, Oregon, where my parents, who never learned to read or write in English, found the only jobs they could: picking strawberries and snow peas on farms, sometimes with me strapped to their backs. We then moved to Oakland, and my parents were able to find work in sweatshops, where they worked from the time I was 3 until I went to college. So, I grew up in Oakland during the ’80s — the crack years.

Growing up in Oakland, I was able to understand the neglect and desperation that people go through, and also how unfair and unjust it was. When I got to college, I decided that the purpose of my education was not to escape poverty but to learn how to fundamentally end poverty. That’s what I’ve been putting my life and my career towards. (…)

Jorge Fontanez & Katie Ellman

Söyleşinin tam metnini https://www.greenbiz.com/article/opening-doors-opportunity-field-social-justice adresinden okuyabilirsiniz.

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