Thank you for placing James Tabafunda’s article on the front page of the April 28 issue of the Northwest Asian Weekly. Giving such prominent placement to a story celebrating the courage and persistence of Vietnamese immigrant JoJo Tran, in his marathon 22-year fight for asylum in the United States, gives hope and inspiration to struggling immigrants everywhere.
As well, JoJo exemplifies a successful role as a ‘way-shower,’ with his instinctive choice to create a new American ‘family’ by connecting himself to many community organizations with 9,000+ volunteer hours. By building a wide and deep base of friendships through his community service, he unintentionally built a large base of support that even impressed the judge when more than 34 people showed up at this last court deportation hearing, ready and willing to testify to his character and his already valuable contributions to American communities.
JoJo’s success in surmounting improbable odds, as he doggedly pursued his dream to bring his family to America, refusing to quit despite the loneliness, the absence of family, the legal setbacks and deportation orders, and the years of just plain hardship and poverty while living homeless on the streets, stands as a courageous example of what can be accomplished when one simply persists, despite seemingly impossible odds and the heartbreak of hearing what must sometimes be endured. May we each find that hero within to help America stand tall and remember, at this time especially, that we are a country of immigrants who owe America continued support of our founding principle of acknowledging basic human rights by opening our hearts and arms to welcome all who wish a better and safer life for their families.
The Tran family’s success was marked with a joyous celebration at University Friends Meeting (Quakers) in the University District on April 28. More than 60 people came to welcome JoJo, his wife Saray, and son TaNo to the United States of America. Vietnamese and American food all had their place, as did hearts full of immense gratitude for the safety of Tran and his family. Thank you for planting the seeds of hope and heroes with this story.
— Clarena M. Snyder