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Documenting Forty Years of Hmong History in America

2015 will mark 40 years of the Hmong migration to the U.S. A new project seeks to document those decades through stories and artifacts.
Koua Franz, Chief of Staff to Superintendent Sacramento City Unified, and Steve Ly, Trustee for Elk Glove Unified School Board, stand before the refugee mural at the Hmongstory 40 launch event.Hmongstory 40

“Where does Hmong history exist?” asks the Hmongstory 40 commercial, “Can you find it at the library? Is it truly correctly written in history books? Hmong history is alive in each family’s story. Each of you holds a piece of our history.”

To commemorate 40 years of Hmong history in America, a new collaborative community project, Hmongstory 40, launched recently in Fresno, California.

“The exhibit scheduled for 2015 will showcase collected pictures, artifacts and stories of the Hmong American experience,” said Seng Alex Vang, editor of the Hmongstory 40 Storytellers Anthology, who teaches a course on Hmong Americans at Cal State Stanislaus. “This is an important and much needed project to educate the broader community and connect second generation Hmong Americans to their identity, heritage and culture.”

The exhibit will document each step of the community’s migration: life in Laos, Laos and The Secret War, Thailand refugee camps, and California; as well as collect oral histories, create a refugee mural, and celebrate fine arts and traditional fashion.

According to 2010 US Census data as reported by Hmong American Partnership, there are 260,076 Hmong in the United States. California has the largest Hmong population (91,224), followed by Minnesota (66,181) and Wisconsin (49,240).

Hmongstory 40 committee members display a check for $10,000 from the United Way of Fresno County.Hmongstory 40