Hải was raised by parents from two delta villages in southern Việt Nam - Mỹ Tho and Chợ Gạo (Tiền Giang). Hải identifies as a queer 2nd generation Việt Southeast Asian cook, seed saver, cultural artist, writer, and community organizer of the diaspora and is passionate about ancestral foodways, decolonization, and homeland connections.
Growing up in a Việt immigrant family of gardeners, farmers, and cooks, Hải learned the proverb, “Một cây làm chẳng nên non, ba cây chụm lại nên hòn núi cao”. In English, it roughly translates to one tree provides little strength, three trees in strength together allows us to reach high mountains. This proverb is a guiding light in Hải’s commitment toward justice, visionary organizing, and food and ecological sovereignty – that when we come together collectively, we can achieve anything and change the world.
Through the QTViệt Cafe Collective - a creative cultural hub dedicated to Queer and Trans Việt (QTViệt) liberation through ancestral practices, the arts, and intergenerational connection - and Asian Refugees United (ARU) - an art and healing leadership center that cultivates and restores wholeness in communities impacted by displacement, Hải enlivens Việt traditional and ancestral foodways to heal intergenerational trauma.