Nguyen was born in Vietnam, brought to the United States at age 1, and raised in Garden Grove, the site of the largest ethnic community of Vietnamese outside Vietnam. Advance Beauty College is his family's business. Nguyen said his parents raised him to keep a low profile, but the times require him to act against fear, hate, ignorance, and violence.Tam Nguyen, left, president of Advance Beauty School in Garden Grove. (Photo: OCR)
Nguyen, 47, was on a group text chat with Nailing It leaders when news broke of the Atlanta shooting. Orange County United Way is partnering with the Nailing It For Health Care Workers initiative to help bring much-needed protective equipment to our local healthcare workers, grocery store employees, and other front-line service providers who are protecting our most vulnerable neighbors as we are united in confronting the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic together.
Tam Nguyen helped kick off the Nailing It For Health Care Workers initiative, a volunteer effort led by several professionals and businesses in O.C. to donate personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare workers. At that time, 120,000 face masks, more than 300,000 gloves, and other much-needed personal protective equipment were delivered to healthcare workers in 40 hospitals and medical clients in Orange County in just 10 days, according to United Way.
After the Atlanta shootings, Nguyen invited Garden Grove Mayor Steve Jones to Advance Beauty College to make a press statement. When Jones came the next day, he announced he had asked police to increase patrols in areas frequented by elderly Asian Americans. Other officials and police officers have visited to teach students and community members how to avoid becoming a victim and what to do in case of a hate incident. The city also neighbors Huntington Beach in Orange County, where white supremacists gather for periodic demonstrations.
Self-defense classes like those held in the college's main classroom have also been started elsewhere among Asian Americans in California. At Advance Beauty College, martial arts instructors work with around 50 students and a few outsiders about once every two weeks. Mannequin heads used for hairstyling lessons are set aside and students and martial arts instructors gather on an open floor plan surrounded by mirrored salon-style work stations, Reuters said.
At the second session, Tam Ha, a 58-year-old aikido black belt, demonstrated how to ward off a larger and more powerful attacker long enough to getaway. He taught countermoves that might send an assailant careening to the ground, and how to deliver punches to vulnerable areas.
"Both as an Asian American and as a woman in general, I felt like it was very useful for defending myself," said Linda Tran, 21. "A lot of us are really on edge because you don't want to get attacked. Mostly the older Asian Americans because they're kind of left defenseless."