MEI ELIZABETH TAN: Grateful Daughter of Slavery Survivors
Inspired by the incredible lives and epic journey of her family, survivors of enslavement in Cambodian concentration camps of the Khmer Rouge Regime, Venice Beach based jewelry designer, Mei Elizabeth Tan, had a dream to tell their story and that of millions of other victims of oppression, war and bondage. What was born from that dream was The RISE Collective, a jewelry line passionately dedicated to the fight for freedom against slavery.
The RISE Collective channels Mei Elizabeth’s devotion to philanthropy, as well as her love for design and free spirited wanderlust – passions that have remained in her heart long after her time living in Europe and traveling across Asia, The Middle East, The Americas and Australia. Combined with her optimistic entrepreneurial spirit and affinity for fearless innovation that she cultivated during her past startup life at Facebook and Yahoo, Mei Elizabeth has thoughtfully developed and designed The RISE Collective to be a symbol of hope for those in need. Through this project, she aspires to foster a community where change-makers can come together and have a positive impact on the world.
Keeping true to her multicultural legacy, her design aesthetic is an homage to her family’s strength, their humble beginnings, and their bitter sweet history. Her style is the embodiment of her Chinese-Cambodian heritage, her California home, her European education and her international travels. She combines fresh modern concepts and wearability with traditional Khmer calligraphy and a casual bohemian sensibility. Translated to mean “Survivor”, the beautifully handcrafted script of her Signature Survivor cuff says ‘nhia no roa’ in Khmer, the ancient Sanskrit based language of Cambodia. It is with honor that Mei Elizabeth dedicates this very personal line to the millions of brave survivors in the world, particularly, her family. Without the courage and strength of her mother, father, sister and brothers, she would not be here today.
And although four members of her family, above all odds, managed to survive a life that was characterized by abuse, starvation, illness, forced labor, oppression and genocide; tragically, one of her brothers valiantly lost his fight during their escape to freedom. So, in honor of her brother who will forever remain the loving, jovial and adorable four year old little boy whom her family loved so much yet lost much too soon, with every purchase made, Mei Elizabeth and The RISE Collective will give the most marginalized of children the resources and support they need to fight a life of slavery, gain independence, and create generational change in their community.
This one is for you, Brother. I was lucky enough to be born free. And now I owe it to you to live fearless.