Page 4

June

The Asian Herald

2014 (4)

The Hmong Community in NC Who Are The Hmong?

United Hmong Association of North Carolina

is hard; it's not about the food or Keeping the traditions.... shelter that you have to find, is about leaving all you knew behind, culture and families, and trying to make sense of new ones. After many years of struggle, and new generations emerging as bi-cultural offspring's, things starting to come to light: few temples, few children By Director of graduation from good school, and CatTong BaoYang, Le, Executive is the Director learning how to United Hmong Association of North Carolina the chance of the Southeast Asian Coalition (in become a US citizen. The culture is partnership with the Vietnamese still in a timid surfacing stage, but Association of Charlotte). Here she the exuberance and vibrant colors shares a little about her work in are showing up more and more. .....Proudly presenting the culture. the community :"although nothing Tong Yang is the Executive changes overnight, I also believe Director of United Hmong that very little gets done without Association of North Carolina. love and compassion. There is an Established in 1994 to be the importance in understanding the voice of the Hmong community dynamics within the community, of North Carolina Nonprofit to better understand how our 501(c) 3 organization. "Our board strengths can best be built. To me, members have representatives from it’s about moving the community each Hmong clan.United Hmong from the inside, which is what we Association is considered the have tried to do at the Southeast parent of the huge Hmong family The Hmong Display Asian Coalition (SEAC). With little the Hmong community of North Asian partner organizations in the Carolina." The Association created South, we’ve had to work through a beautiful on line presentation churches, temples, and even (http://www.nchealthystart.org/ unofficial groups -- but this has outreach/newmaterials/Hmong. allowed us to organize in a more pdf) from which you will learn genuine way and to build trust. about Hmong History; the Hmong’s She also explained that "outside Involvement with the Vietnam of Charlotte -- in the Hickory area War; the Hmong Exodus; Hmong -- there's a large rural Hmong Social Structure, Culture; Religion; community, many of which have Healthcare Beliefs moved there from California. This and Practices. Here are few community may work in factories general facts about the community: or manufacturing centers during There are about 15,000 Hmong the day, but many come home and in NC now. Most of them are grow their own food on their land, in Catawba, Burke, McDowell, similar to how they did in Laos. Caldwell, Alexander, Iredell and In fact, this Hmong community is Mecklenburg Counties. About fourth largest in the nation after 95% of Hmong adults in NC are Fresno, Minnesota, and Wisconsin." working. About 60% of the Hmong One great thing is that more in NC own their own properties. Hmong people are mustering the The Asian Festival had a good courage to showcase their culture display of their culture, and we all and country by participating in grateful for the work and dedication events. Just like the Cambodians, of those involve. I hope the Vietnamese or Tai people, they are community continues to evolve, and no longer living in fear or shame we will have the chance to see more for the past, but embracing it, of their presence in the Charlotte's learning from it and making plans events. RD. ■ for a good future. Being a refugee

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Asian Herald June 2014  
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