The DNA Gateway – spit goes in and American citizenship comes out. While speaking to multiple people in the community, I learned about this “gateway” where Amerasian people in Vietnam take DNA tests to try to connect to their family in America and gain US citizenship. I do not have a lot of knowledge about this process from the Vietnam side, but many community members in America are actively trying to aid those in Vietnam. If you ever took one of those fun DNA tests, like a 23andMe, you would know that they’re pricey. Back in Vietnam, people would rather spend $100 on food and necessities than a fancy little tube to spit in, which is why Amerasian people in The U.S. come together within the community to raise and donate money.
I got the opportunity to meet and interview multiple people who lead these fundraising efforts and learned that a large philosophy within the community is that giving makes you richer. These people grew up without homes or families and often had to rely on the kindness of others to survive in Vietnam; as a result, many of them are dedicated to giving back in any way they can. They come together to use their knowledge of law and their networking abilities to advocate and help those in need back in Vietnam. The funds they raise go toward buying, distributing, and shipping the testing kits. Although the kits are silly pastimes for us in America, these kits create new lives by connecting people in Vietnam to their families or proving their right to citizenship.