Updated: Aug 26, 2019
When he was growing up, Justin Thach used to walk by a mural in Philadelphia’s Chinatown every week. And that mural, of a Chinese dragon, would always be a reminder of his first home—a suburb next to Philly—as he moved forward, following him across the country to a city in Oregon, and later to Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.
As he moved from place to place, the relevance and weight of where he had been never faded. Years later, approximately 2,951 miles from familiar Chinatown murals, Justin is still home.
“Home, I think, is what shapes us into who we aspire to be,” he said.
Now joining Stanford University’s class of 2023, Justin is ready to shift his focus to growing into who he wants to be, without worrying about where he’s been, and who he’s been.
“Stanford is its own community without the distractions of a city where I can lay down my roots and just focus on growing,” he told Aspirants. “And I suppose the sunlight that pours like rain doesn’t hurt either.”
Creators like Ryan Higa, Sam Tsui, and Wong Fu Productions who would often center their content around culture and identity, became a few of his biggest inspirations growing up.
“I was inspired by people who unabashedly used culture as fuel for their creations,” he said. “I loved being able to see people who looked like me do such cool things.”
And, now, it seems like he’s the one doing those cool things.
As he moves from one home to another, he’ll be continuing to spark conversations that matter while studying political science and communications, as well as scoping out the Silicon Valley for a new go-to Sushi place, more Chinatown murals to be found just 36 miles north.
To read more about Justin Thach, grab your copy of HOME today.
To stay up to date with him, follow him on social media below.
Images: Justin Thach
Words by Ry X
Editors: Ndemazea Fonkem, Chloe Wen
Designers: Ry X