Mass Alliance is excited to name Thu Nguyen as a 2021 Rising Star for Worcester City Council At-Large.
Thu is a proud Vietnamese refugee, auntie, artist, youth worker, and the first non-binary candidate for Worcester City Council At-Large.
Thu came to Worcester at the age of one when their family immigrated to the United States as refugees. Their father had fought for democracy and freedom in the Vietnam War and sought asylum shortly after being held as a prisoner of war for seven years. Growing up in poverty, while their parents were working hard towards learning English, striving for their citizenship, and building a new life in America by working at factories, Thu remembers their early years of collecting cans as a game to get by.
Thu attended Heard Street Discovery Academy and Claremont Academy and graduated from Clark University with a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art and Sociology. They began youth work at their old high school, Claremont Academy, helping students get into college. Later, Thu co-founded an organization that showed young people how to use art to tell their stories. Over the last decade, Thu has dedicated their career to serving our young people, from facilitating after school programming at the Worcester Youth Center to hiring young people for Recreation Worcester to work at our local parks and schools across the city.
Thu currently works at the Southeast Asian Coalition working with and supporting small businesses, promoting civic engagement, and strengthening communities. Most recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Thu helped build Mutual Aid Worcester, which has raised nearly $75,000 to support families in Worcester and tackled food insecurity by starting an immigrant and refugee pantry and hot meals program.