Kenneth Tea is an American Muslim from Los Angeles, California. He is the child of Cambodian refugees, and is currently pursuing a degree in African and African-American Studies from Stanford University.
This story is part of “American Muslims”, a photo series created by Carlos Khalil Guzman, a photographer and activist based in NYC. The project is dedicated to capturing the diversity of the Muslim community in the United States. We will not only be sharing the images from the project, but each image will be accompanied by a personal and unique story to show our shared humanity. To read more about Kenneth and the rest of the faces from “American Muslims” click here.
My biggest influence has been my grandmother, Siv Kuy Lim. She grew up in rural Cambodia, before she had to move around the country various times due to being displaced by war. She’s had to bury multiple children, including her three oldest sons. Despite all the challenges that she has faced, she remains to be the kindest person I know. She has taught me to be compassionate to all those around me, and to be compassionate to myself.
I am constantly reminded to always place my trust in God, no matter how hard things get. I’ve had lots of ups and downs in my life in terms of mental health. During my downs, I remember this and it motivates me to keep hope in the future, and to keep hope in myself. It reminds me of the power of prayer, as God can turn any situation around. When we have faith in God, he will set things moving for us in ways that we can’t even imagine. I would like to be remembered as someone who was genuine and honest with everyone. I want to be thought of as some one who sincerely cared about others, and went out of their way to help people out.