Otherwise, you shut out low-income folks and people of color from entering the industry.

Photo by Katie Harp on Unsplash

The featured image above summarizes how much people working in the media and journalism industries get paid — those with entry-level jobs to be exact. Pennies, literally pennies (well, more metaphorically, but you know what I mean).

A few days ago, The New Yorker Union workers went on strike for 24 hours to protest the company’s response regarding a proposal demanding fair compensation and equitable practices. The announcement highlights the existing $42,000 base salary for NYC entry-level positions, which management only agreed to raise to $45,000.

When the Union shared the story via Twitter, the community noticed. Some journalists chimed…


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Instagram recently reminded me that around this time a year ago, I went to a Kacey Musgraves concert at the iconic Radio City Music Hall. I remember posting a few insta stories of her performances, which has left me wanting to relive it ever since. But among my dreamy thoughts and sustained appreciation for country music, I was very much reminded by many of my Vietnamese friends of when Musgraves was accused of appropriating Vietnamese culture. One messaged me (in Vietnamese), “Is this the woman who wore áo dài without pants? :))”

The áo dài, our traditional Vietnamese dress, consists…


A poem

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Friday night underneath the stars
Thinning smoke from our ring of fire
The breeze, the sand, the pristine island
A specious little liar in disguise

Soon the wind blows and the tide
Rises and falls along the line
Of our illusive coexistence

And you just spin me like a record
In your vinyl collection
I’m a foolish pawn in your wicked chess game
Disposable and forgettable
Don’t come crawling back and tell me that you need me
Remnants of our past now live
In the attic of my memory

***

I wake up, floating in the ocean
Swim away from the devilish current
Make it to the other side
A shore with more than I ever desire


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I woke up on the last day of 2020 with tears uncontrollably streaming down my face. It was the kind of crying where you’d feel like you were having hiccups after hiccups and that your whole body was sweating but not only from the warmth underneath the covers. I had just escaped from a peculiar nightmare.

It starts out to be a peaceful dream, picture-perfect even. Then all it takes is one thing to go wrong to set off a domino effect where everything collapses. The world shuts down in front of you. …


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“Alright, folks, let’s go around and introduce your name, where you’re from, your pronouns, and what you’re hoping to study here,” said our group leader at my first-year orientation. This was early fall of 2014, at Mount Holyoke College, a small liberal arts college in western Massachusetts. At that first gathering, I was just a red-eyed student from Vietnam who arrived late the night before and was battling a 12-hour jet lag.

Among all the things that our leader asked us to share with the group, one thing particularly caught my attention (and hence, saved me from embarrassing myself by…


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In the three short years of my early professional career, I’ve attended three diversity sessions at three different organizations. As a young Vietnamese woman and an alien authorized to work as classified by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, I’ve never seen any real impact following diversity training. Studies after studies have found that this type of training has little impact, if not causing more harm to the afflicted instead of alleviating those inequalities.

What remains after hours of being uncomfortable in the same room with your colleagues is fatigue, both physical and mental. “Thank god, it’s over,” some would…


Photo by Allie on Unsplash

I love postcards. I love receiving them, to be exact. I also love crying, and even more so while reading over the postcards that I’ve received throughout the years. Just the other night, I burst out crying after a call with my boyfriend, in which I had been scouring through plastic folders of postcards, trying to retrieve a piece of mail attached to a hurtful college memory. As the world is in shambles at the moment and most recently, with the U.S. …


Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash

In her Jamaican Patois dialect, Donauta Watson-Starcevic read:

Who me?
Me ah nuh nobody
Mi nuh have no paper
Mi nuh have the numba, you know di numba, whey de pon di paypa
Me nuh have no numba

Donauta stood in the middle of an audience of a dozen, sporting a brown hat and a brown dress under a burgundy flannel. With a fierce look, she shared her poem “Nuh Nobody” at the annual Lit Crawl NYC 2019. The event included readings from four other immigrant writers based in Brooklyn and Queens. …


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After two years of staying at home to take care of her daughter Kaia, Tuyet Minh was eager to get back to work this winter. Then a pandemic happened and put the brakes on her plans.

“I was applying and interviewing for a part-time job,” Minh told me over Zoom. “Kaia was supposed to go to daycare three days a week.”

A dance movement therapist by training, Minh was looking forward to going back to her practice. She had missed the socializing aspect of having a job and had hoped to connect with more people who were interested in dance…


Photo by David Monje on Unsplash

I was eight years old when I went to the first funeral of a family member — my Mom’s younger brother, Binh.

Nine years later, I came home from school to my Grandma calmly saying: “Say hello to your uncle. Do you remember Uncle Binh?”

“How are you doing, kid?” A woman spoke to me.

I mumbled in bewilderment. Why did Grandma ask if I remembered Uncle Binh when the person in front of me was a woman?

It took me a few seconds to realize that this woman was embodying my uncle.

Grandma said “he” just finished a pack…

Hoa P. Nguyen

Viet journalist in New York City. Singer who sometimes writes songs.

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