Meet Dr. Jennifer Tran
Dr. Jennifer Tran is an educator, small business leader, and community organizer with deep roots in the East Bay.
Born and raised in Oakland, Dr. Jennifer Kim-Anh Tran has seen too many people left on their own to survive. As a child of Vietnamese refugee parents, she saw her parents face poverty, barriers to opportunities, and racial and cultural discrimination. They eventually saved up their hard-earned dollars and opened a nail salon business – where Dr. Jennifer Tran helped out after school and on weekends for nearly 15 years. After her parents separated, she lived with her father, who, despite his limited English proficiency and being a single parent, ensured she had a good education through Oakland public schools and later Bishop O’Dowd High School. Though her family crawled out of the initial precarity, they remained vulnerable to chance and lack of public support, much like other Black, Latinx, and Asian and Pacific Islander neighbors who struggled with navigating inaccessible institutions. The weight of these struggles and the support of key mentors propelled Dr. Tran to pursue undergraduate degrees in Urban Studies and Planning and Ethnic Studies from UC San Diego and eventually complete a Ph.D. from USC.
Dr. Tran’s intersectional life experiences as a queer Vietnamese-American woman from Oakland have forged her into an inclusive, determined, and effective leader. She has unapologetically fought against AAPI hate, gun violence, and anti-LGBTQ+ attacks.
As a Cal State University East Bay Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies, she taught and mentored first-generation, working-class college students of color like herself, stressing the urgency of applying theory into practice.
During the pandemic, as President of the Oakland Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Tran led coalitions to demand and secure funds at the national, state, county, and city level to provide language access, mental health support, and culturally competent technical assistance to immigrant, minority, and women-owned small businesses and community members.
She organized initiatives centering equity, fairness and community investment in her various leadership roles on the East Bay Refugee/Immigrant Forum, Oakland Community Policing Advisory Board, Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation, New Leader Council, CSUEB Faculty Diversity and Equity Committee, and Oakland AAPI Unite Coalition.
As the Inaugural Executive Director of PIVOT- The Progressive Vietnamese American Organization, she worked on multiple statewide and national AAPI and multiracial campaigns to support policies that protect the basic rights of immigrant, BIPOC, women, and LGBTQ+ communities.
A proven leader during moments of crisis, Dr. Tran understands the complex institutions and power structures we must navigate and leverage to solve the problems we face in the East Bay – and knows we deserve an experienced community leader with bold and realistic plans to fix our broken systems.
Still a lifelong Oaklander, Dr. Tran resides in the Allendale neighborhood with her partner, Nenna, a local small business owner.
On the Issues
Dr. Tran knows in order to build a strong community and thriving future, we must:
✓ Tackle public safety, so everyone feels safe and secure on our streets
✓Support small businesses, so our communities can flourish
✓ Address homelessness, both working with the unhoused community and by prioritizing affordable housing
✓ Leverage technology and innovation so that governmental resources and opportunities reach our most vulnerable communities
✓ Establish an essential foundation for all communities to thrive by providing universal childcare, senior care, and gender-expansive health care.