Lan Diep is the eldest son of political refugees. Born in Houston, TX, he moved to the Bay Area with his family in 1994. He came to San José with his mom in 1999 and graduated from District 4’s Independence High School. He went on to earn dual bachelor degrees from the University of California, San Diego in Political Science and History. After college, Lan Diep worked as an international broadcaster for Radio Free Asia, where he reported on news that may have been censored by state-run media throughout Asia. He later went on to earn a law degree at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.
After the BP Oil Disaster occurred in 2010, Lan Diep moved down to Biloxi, Mississippi to serve as an Equal Justice Works/AmeriCorps Legal Fellow at the Mississippi Center for Justice. In this capacity, he traveled throughout the five Gulf States of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida to provide free assistance to fishermen, small business owners, and other victims of the BP Oil Spill who needed help pursuing their claims against BP. Fluent in Vietnamese, he particularly focused his efforts on aiding the limited-English-proficient Vietnamese American community in the Gulf, who account for over a third of the fishing industry in the area.
After two years of public service in the Gulf, Lan Diep returned to San José and took a job with the Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center, directing the Vietnamese American Workers’ Rights Project, where he again used his Vietnamese language skills to help disenfranchised Vietnamese Americans learn about and pursue their rights, this time in the context of employment law. In this role, Lan Diep helped improve the condition of low-income workers while simultaneously combating the anticompetitive business practices of unethical employers.
Additionally, Lan Diep continues to be a charter member of the Department of Defense’s National Language Service Corps, a program that calls on multi-lingual Americans to help strengthen our national security through language.
Lan Diep’s record of service has won national recognition. The Huffington Post hailed him as the Greatest Person of the Day for April 27, 2011; President Barack Obama deemed him a White House Champion of Change in 2011; and President George H. W. Bush selected him a Daily Point of Light awardee in 2012.
Recognition for Lan Diep
- Mercury News Editorial: Lan Diep is best choice in San Jose District 4 (San Jose Mercury News, March 2015)
- Equal Justice Works: 25 Years of Innovative Solutions [ VIDEO ] (Equal Justice Works)
- Lan Diep Helps Vietnamese Fisherman Affected by the PB Oil Spill (Huffington Post)
- Lan Diep: Champion of Change (The White House)