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- Create Date September 30, 2022
- Last Updated September 30, 2022
Tacoma Healing Awareness Community
My name is Vanna Sing, a 43 y/o genocide survivor from the country of Cambodia. My roots are from Southeast Asia, Kingdoms of Cambodia, Thailand and Laos. I was raised in Salishan, Eastside of Tacoma from 1981 – 2004. Raised through poverty, disparities, racism, lack of positive role models and opportunities to heal and thrive. Baptized at 8 years old by the Church, Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and then raised Buddhist. I believe that being spiritual saved me. I was chosen by my ancestors. My family crossed many borders just so I could be here today. I am here because I survived a lot of the atrocities and traumas. Education was not a priority to me because attending school was a struggle. During middle school years was where it started for me. Being faced with racism by your neighbors and classmates taught me how to stand up for myself. I was coping by skipping school and running away from home. My parents did not know what I was going through nor did they understand. They were trying to adapt to the American lifestyle themselves and still struggling. Learning survival skills was very necessary for SE Asians in Tacoma. There was no mentorship for young people, employment opportunities, encouragement to stay in school or support during a crisis. There were more recruitments into jails and prisons than college pathways. SE Asians were also racially profiled, over sentenced, many have criminal records, struggle with recidivism and final deportation orders. We were taught that we don’t have a choice. My community is in decline because we were not given too many options. The people do not have faith in the criminal justice system. They continue to destroy and separate families.
At age 36, I learned that I was a community leader. Unlearning what I was taught growing up has been the most challenging but at the same time, exciting. I never imagined in my whole life that I would be here with you all, sharing the struggles of my community. I am humble and grateful for this opportunity. Using my transferable skills I was in a position to create a 501c3 nonprofit, Tacoma Healing Awareness Community. We disrupt the cycle of systemic/internalized oppression in SE Asians as well as other ethnic groups in Tacoma and surrounding communities. Our vision is to empower and support youth, families and individuals in need by providing tools and resources. We collaborate with community agencies/leaders to heal, reconcile and restore justice to marginalized communities at risk for systemic/internalized oppression. Our grassroots organization needs an attorney with a criminal justice background to serve on our board, reliable volunteers, grant writers to help get funding and nonprofit experts to help create the right structure. Please consider joining our team if our mission and vision resonates to your soul.