What Matters Most

April 25, 2024

A couple of months ago, Neighborhood House supporter, Ami Nguyen, invited me and several friends to dim sum to introduce us to Susan Lieu, author of The Manicurist’s Daughter. The event was a fundraiser to provide copies of Susan’s book to young adults who could identify with her story.

Susan shared with us why she wrote this book. How a pivotal tragedy in her life would forever change her  family, and how to this day, they have not been able to talk openly about it. She shared how her mother and other Vietnamese women were preyed upon by an unscrupulous doctor. How unrealistic beauty standards harmed her mother, herself, and all of us.

Unable to talk with her family, Susan wrote The Manicurist’s Daughter as one way to express her grief and outrage, and to process this tragedy.  “When we feel, we heal,” is a theme throughout Susan’s book and  her one woman show.

Susan’s story mirrors, in so many ways, the experiences of our clients. After learning about her story, I knew we had to invite her to speak at our upcoming What Matters Most event. Neighborhood House creates opportunities for people experiencing language, cultural, and systemic barriers to live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Many of our clients are newly arrived in  the US, some with and some without, documents. All are experiencing poverty and are striving for a better life for themselves and their families. Like Susan’s family, the idea of mental health carries a heavy stigma, preventing them from getting needed resources. Neighborhood House is helping our 13,000 plus clients overcome this stigma and other barriers to access housing, health, education, and economic opportunity. 

I hope you will join us on May 31st at Town Hall Seattle for our annual What Matters Most fundraiser to hear Susan’s compelling story, and support our important work.