Grace Phan Jones Wins JVN Tell Your Story Award

Grace Phan Jones speaks with the authenticity of someone who knows who she is and where she comes from. She speaks with the modesty of someone who knows the value of learning and listening. Grace's moving story pays the respect due to her hard-working mother while exposing the cultural differences between her privileged friends and her Vietnamese heritage.

Grace observes powerful meaning in simple acts, revealing wisdom beyond her 17 years.

Grace's school friends used to joke about her mother. She describes growing up wanting something tangible to be proud of, such as her mother's Tiffany glasses, and the moment she realized she had so much more to be proud of in her mother's resilience.

Listen to Grace's story, "It Happens In the Now", here:

 On February 1, Grace debuted "It Happens In the Now" at her first storytelling performance. Grace next performed the piece as a feature in Chicago storytelling event This Much is True. For her writing and performance, she was awarded the JVN Tell Your Story Award and Endowment at a celebration to honor the life of John Vietnam Nguyen on his birthday. (John Vietnam and Grace are both half-Vietnamese artists from Uptown.)

Video credit: Charles J. Williams
Cover art: Mewael "Mo" Michael
Photo credit: Joe Saigon

--By Ona