This documentary follows the stories—the successes, hardships, and hopes—of three Asian American immigrants in Silicon Valley. Despite struggling through language, cultural, and health care barriers, these individuals readily work to shape the local community. For a region that has thrived on the ideas and labor of immigrants past and present, supporting these populations remains vital toward improving the social and economic health of Silicon Valley. This piece explores the strengthening of community through the support of immigrant populations.Winner of the 2011 CreaTiVe Award from CreaTV San Jose.
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For generations, Asian American immigrants have settled in Silicon Valley in search of economic and other life opportunities. Since that time, these ethnic communities have shaped and steered the innovation, development, and technological growth that uniquely characterize the region today. This chapter provides a brief timeline of the history and contributions of Asian American immigrants in Silicon Valley.
Nenita, an elderly Filipina woman, works hard as a room attendant in the hotel industry. Despite workplace injuries and mounting health issues, she cannot afford to visit the doctor or take time off. In response, Nenita is an active member of the union committee, advocating for workplace changes that will improve the lives of those around her. Her hope lies in the dream that one day her children will receive green cards and join her in America.
In search of economic opportunity, Andy's family sold all their belongings and left China with nothing but $200 in their pockets. As a child, Andy witnessed his family struggle to support itself on multiple low-wage jobs. He contributed in any way possible, translating for his parents and helping at the family business. Now, a young sales executive at a software company, Andy has applied the lessons and values gained from his experience, succeeding in business and volunteering as a financial counselor for those in need.
In 1981, Iris fled Vietnam and took shelter at a Thai refugee camp. Filled with hope as well as uncertainty, she was granted sponsorship to come to the United States. The transition was abrupt, but through her courage and the support of a refugee organization, Iris survived her first months in Silicon Valley. The tools and resources provided at this critical time allowed her to adapt and eventually thrive. Today, as a graduate student, social worker, and activist, Iris strives passionately to give voice to the vulnerable and build a community that honors the health and dignity of all.
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