Daughter of Vietnamese refugees to become San Bernardino’s first Asian American mayor
City Manager John Heilman said he is excited about getting to know Mayor Barbara Brown, and to be getting to know all the residents of his City Hall.
“She’s a very strong person with a sense of style that draws you in,” Heilman said. “It’s the best of the best, and I’m so excited to be able to work with her.”
Brown is the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, having grown up in a household of five children with a mother who had not been able to speak Vietnamese.
“I was raised in a home where the men who walked into the kitchen were treated as equals,” Brown said. “I grew up in a home that was a melting pot.”
Her father was a businessman at the time he came to America from Vietnam, and Brown’s mother was a seamstress working in a garment shop.
So it goes in most American families.
However, the Brown family was one that had a different cultural tradition that she learned with its emphasis on education. Brown said she became very active in school to learn English, and to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher.
“I have a strong foundation of education in my family,” Brown said. “It was very important to my parents, and I had to step up and do this.”
So when she was in middle school, Brown decided to apply to a school for gifted students in the Riverside Unified School District, so she could study history.
“My whole life has been focused on education,” Brown said. “I’m a teacher’s dream.”
During her student life, she continued to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher.
“I had applied to schools, but I had to wait for years to finally find out what I wanted to be,” Brown said. “I decided to learn English. And I worked hard.”
In 2007, Brown was accepted into the University of