Thanh Tran was born and raised in Sacramento, California. At 18 months old he was placed into foster care. He was adopted by two Vietnamese Buddhist nuns, but lived in a state of conﬂict. His home on one hand was a Buddhist temple, but school on the other hand was the polar opposite – saturated with drugs and gang culture. At the age of 12, Thanh made one of the worst mistakes of his life – he joined a gang. As a result, he was arrested and sent to juvenile hall 9 times from the ages 12 to 17. Eventually Thanh left the gang life but was still involved in criminal activity, committing a robbery two weeks after his 18th birthday. He was sentenced to 17 years for attempted murder, attempted robbery, and a 10 year gang enhancement. After ﬁghting deep depression in county jail, he made a decision to change his life after he heard his younger brother was incarcerated trying to follow his footsteps. “I realized I was lying to myself for years saying I was the only one being hurt.” Thanh said during an interview with San Quentin News.