Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

June 5, 2015

No Longer Invisible: Johnny Le

This personal submission is a part of the “No Longer Invisible: In Their Own Words” project, a story series established to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month at the UW.

Johnny Le

Name: Johnny Le

Identity: Vietnamese, Chinese

Major: Microbiology, Biology

Personal Interests: “Some of my favorite Asian American groups are Magnetic North, Blue Scholars, New Heights, and various Youtube artists.”

“Don’t EVER let anyone tell you who you’re supposed to be. People will try to change you into what they think you are but it’s important to remember where you came from and who YOU are.”

“I come from a family that believes in showing vs saying. As a kid, I always found it hard that my parents never told me they “loved” me or praise me for my efforts like I saw my friend’s parents do. I frequently questioned whether I was appreciated or not. As a kid, words meant more to me than actions but as I grew older, I saw that words weren’t needed. In my culture, my parents showed their love for me by setting me up to be successful in America. We aren’t rich by any means yet I was never forced to take on a job as well as go to school. My parents put in extra work in order for me to focus on school and be successful. “Don’t worry about us now. Get educated, get a good job and pay us back later.” If my car broke down, I called my parents. If I needed money for books or field trips, mom and dad provided. My parents might have never told me they loved me, but every thing they did showed me that they were willing to sacrifice for my success. I am forever grateful.

Asian Americans are often viewed in America as one giant, homogeneous unit when in reality, “Asians” consist of many different groups lumped together (even within the same countries). We are all complex and unique individuals with vastly differing cultures and traditions. It is important that this is shared with those who are not aware of what we really are.

My vision is to help the current generation of Vietnamese Americans be more involved with their community as well as become more in touch with their Vietnamese side. In my family, I was never taught about traditional culture and instead had to pick up what was going on through observation. There are many other Asian Americans who have had similar experiences to this and I wish that everyone would be able to learn more about the cultural experiences they have had.”

View mores stories from the “No Longer Invisible: In Their Own Words” project.