After deadly Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, countless stories of bravery and selflessness flooded the news. Still, we had yet to see anything quite like the story of an immigrant-turned-billionaire, who gave $5 million to Houston’s most affected residents.
Kieu Hoang grew up “barefoot and shirtless” in Vietnam, according to Time magazine.
After the Vietnam War, Hoang moved to America in search of a better life. Now, the billionaire owner of Rare Antibody Antigen Supply (RAAS), who’s worth $2.9 billion, is giving back — and making a humanitarian stance as he does so.
“Dr. Martin Luther King said, 'I have a dream,” Hoang said while announcing his gift to Houston’s most vulnerable victims of Hurricane Harvey.
“Thanks to the American people's help, I have realized some small dreams. … A dream to have immigration laws so that a lot of people do not live in constant fear of being deported. A dream to allow immigrants like me to come into this great America to make it greater.”
But unfortunately, he told reporters, many of these same immigrants who help to make America great feared for their lives and freedom during Harvey.
"Did you realize a lot of Houstonians dared not to check into shelter centers for help, as they are scared to be discovered and deported?" he asked reporters.
Regardless of party affiliation, Republican, Democrat, Independent, sex, race, color, white, black, black, brown, red, yellow, we are all American," he later added.
As Hoang also looks into helping the rebuilding efforts in Florida after Hurricane Irma, getting involved in these two tragedies weren’t the billionaire’s first time being active in charity work.
In 2005, Hoang made a trip back to Vietnam where he built roads, bridges, schools, temples, and 5,000 homes. And just a few months back, Hoang also donated $5 million to San Jose, California, flooding victims.
By acting in such a way while making a point about helping the immigrants who were greatly affected, Hoang helps us all see how, ultimately, the idea that we should make the lives of immigrants in this country difficult is nothing but counterproductive.
People like Hoang, who are willing to give their all to make better lives for themselves in new lands, benefit everyone around them. Keeping immigrants from having the opportunity to flourish in the U.S. hurts us all in the end.
As a nation of immigrants, America has learned this lesson over and over again, and yet, the anti-immigrant sentiment remains strong among many.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Adrees Latif