Interview of Thu Quach
Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Chief Deputy of Administration at Asian Health Services and immigrant rights activist. Policy advocate for nail salon workforce.
- Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness
- Biographical Note:
- Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Chief Deputy of Administration at Asian Health Services and immigrant rights activist. Policy advocate for nail salon workforce.
- Quach, Thu
- Persons Present:
- Quach and Nguyen are present for Session 1 Quach and Yiu are present for Session 2
- Place Conducted:
- The first session of the interview was conducted over the phone. The second session of the interview was conducted using the Zoom video conferencing platform.
- Supporting Documents:
- Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research.
- Interviewer Background and Preparation:
- The first session of the interview was conducted by Vina Nguyen, a UCLA graduate who grew up in the San Diego neighborhood of City Heights. She is a first-generation child of Vietnamese refugees and her work focuses on advocating for equitable health policy. As part of her internship at the California Healthy Nail Salon, Vina and her partner Nikki Nguyen developed a "Humanizing Project" that aimed to elevate the narratives and struggles of nail salon workers. The second session of the interview was conducted by Wei Si Nic Yiu, a graduate student researcher, for the Center for the Study of Women in cooperation with UCLA Center for Oral History Research; PhD student in Gender Studies, UCLA. Yiu’s dissertation focuses on queerness and archives of Asia.
- Processing of Interview:
- The interviewer prepared for the interview by reading a pre-interview questionnaire completed by the narrator.
- 1.75 hrs
- Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
- Series Statement:
- Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness is a collection of interviews with over seventy individuals living in the U.S. and Canada whose family history, occupation, art practice, or activism have brought them into direct contact with illness experience and disability related to chronic, low-dose exposure to toxicant chemicals. The procurement of this collection (from March 2019 through September 2020) was sponsored by the UCLA Center for the Study of Women under the directorship of Rachel C. Lee, with interviews conducted by six undergraduates, five graduate students, two career staff, and two faculty members at CSW.
Family’s Involvement in the hair and nail salon industry—Growing up as a child in a family network of nail and hair service workers—Mother’s work in the hair and nail salon industry and her health—Interruption in call—The impact of mother’s work in the hair and nail salon industry—On career trajectory and research on hair and nail salon workers’ health—Challenge as a researcher on the health impact for workers in the hair and nail salon industry—Issues with small business practices— Importance of accessible training for small business owners—An account of mother’s experience in the nail salon industry—On immigrating to the United States in 1979 and on childhood experience— Family's hopes, dreams, and inspirations—Importance of holding space for children of immigrant workers—Family’s experience as a motivation to work in the field of health equity and immigration rights.
How COVID has affected Thu’s work with Asian Health Services (AHS) – Brief history on AHS and community health centers in general - importance of having services such as AHS for the low-income, immigrants and refugees – how culture affects access to health care – work for the Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative – the community holding answers - Class as a barrier that affects people’s chances in getting to know that they are chemically ill – becoming more confident in verbalizing what didn’t sit right with her – proudest work that she has done – importance of the transparency issue in changing society’s contemporary relationship with chemicals