May 27, 2021

Khoa Martin Hoang is a talented graphic designer, artist, mental health advocate, and Bay Area alumnus.

Martin Hoang + Doug

Khoa Martin Hoang  with Doug Capelin, founder of Deer Hill Expeditions. On the left, Khoa and Doug in 2010 during Khoa's summer experience. On the right, the two 10 years later at the Summer Search Bay Area Gala in early 2020.

Over the last year, Khoa has used his art as a way to reclaim and honor his cultural roots.

In the midst of so much anti-Asian violence and hatred, Khoa shined the light on the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, sharing powerful graphic homages to many AAPI actors and actresses and discussed how each impacted him personally, as well as the broader American and international culture. 

As he explains in one of his posts:

"This series was inspired by all the stories of struggles and hardships that got us here today. Staying silent also means our stories of hardships and struggles are not heard, so I hope that this inspires you to share yours through the stories we've been inspired with on the big screen."

Here a few examples from his Instagram:

Khoa also reflected on his identity, especially when it comes to his name, representing a struggle that many in the AAPI community face. 

He writes:

Technically “Khoa” is my legal name while “Martin” was my middle name. I was told to use Martin throughout school because it was easier for both my teachers and peers to pronounce. Little did I know that there was a deeper reason why my parents told me to do this.

Name discrimination and ethic names make it harder for people to get jobs. Why? Why are we discriminated based on our cultural backgrounds and how does our culture affect how we perform on our jobs? Why have we been okay with this for so long? We as a country pride ourselves as the melting pot of the world yet we still let pillars of white supremacy dictate those who assimilate succeed while forcing those who don’t, to fail.

This ends here for me, I’m going to no longer hide the “Khoa” in “Hoang Van Khoa Martin”. It will be forever part of my identity and my past and present have now merged into one.

Read his full reflection here.

Thank you Khoa for sharing your story with honesty and vulnerability, and for using your platform and talents to lift up your community.

Stay tuned for more powerful conversations from Summer Searchers on identity, race, and more, for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and beyond.

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