Kavi Vu is a spoken word artist and videographer hailing from Atlanta, Georgia. She considers herself a storyteller who aims to inspire her audience with her passion for creative freedom, social justice, and culture. She believes that too many ideas are left unspoken and too many stories are going untold from generation to generation. Through storytelling and videography, she is committed to being a part of the movement that brings more Asian Americans on our screens, on the stage, and at the polls.
Ms. Vu has been heavily involved with the Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations (uNAVSA), serving positions such as Southeast Regional Representatives, Entertainment committee, and Collective Philanthropy Campaign team. uNAVSA has not only grown her appreciation for her culture and connected her with a Vietnamese-American and Vietnamese-Canadian network all across the continent, it also sparked her interest in social activism. It is through uNAVSA that she met many colleagues who introduced her to having political conversations, as it is something she was unfamiliar with growing up.
Ms. Vu also served on the board of Kollaboration Atlanta, a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower AAPI youth through entertainment. After she won the showcase with her spoken word poetry and was given an opportunity to performa all across the country, she joined the Kollaboration staff as Associate Director to keep doing the work that would allow other Asian Americans to have a voice and grow their passion.
On being a Vietnamese American in politics...
It’s very difficult for me, as a (somewhat) young Vietnamese-American woman trying to engage in our country’s politics. First, my family has ALWAYS shied away from politics, and it was never really encouraged in our community events. Taking a step into the political space was so, so hard. It’s complicated and there isn’t an easy answer for any issue. I constantly feel underprepared and incompetent as I learn to navigate this space to mobilize young Vietnamese voters, but that feeling goes away when I’m able to share that information with someone who also didn’t know. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but I’ve learned that as times change, our government will be constantly growing and changing as well. What won’t change is that if we stay committed, we can definitely raise the AAPI voice in our country.
On how she plans to affect change...
Along with my fellow PIVOT member Phi Nguyen, I plan on educating the AAPI youth by creating engaging videos that will give them necessary information to become part of the civic space. For example, we will break down local government, give examples on how policy affects us personally and our AAPI community, interview local AAPI’s on what issues they care about, and push for a higher AAPI turnout for the 2017 Atlanta Municipal races in November.
The big focus is that we want to give AAPI millennials tangible action items to affect change, but also not overwhelm them with too much information. Politics tends to turn people away. Right now, we need them to lean in.
On advice for the younger generation who want to participate in political and social change...
My advice is to take small steps. Politics is overwhelming and there are A LOT of things that need to be done. However, we will likely not be able to do everything. My advice is to focus on a few issues that matter to them, and focus in on that. There will be moments when you are exposed to issues for the first time; do not feel you have to have a stance on it. Give yourself time to do some research, have conversations with people you respect, and then take your time to form your own thoughts. Forming a small group of socially and politically conscious friends helps a lot. And always take care of yourself mentally and physically. There is a world of work to be done, but it can only get done when you’re well.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not at all familiar with the civic space. I do not have a full grasp on how government works, I am terrible at retaining statistics and details, and as embarrassing as it is, I am easily overwhelmed by emotions and cannot form a sure stance on many issues. What I do know is that I care immensely about my community, and I’m willing to put in the time and effort to make sure its voice is heard.
- I was born in Ban Me Thuot, Vietnam and came to the U.S. when I was 2 years old.
- I grew up on a chicken farm in South Georgia.
- I love performing spoken word poetry, and get to travel across the country to perform!
- I made up Kavi from the initials of my name, Kim Vu.
- A dream of mine is to release a rap album.