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Hmong Convention In Mpls Grabs White House Attention

By Lindsey Seavert, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The White House wants to know more about Minnesota’s Hmong population – a group that is growing nearly twice as fast as similar populations across the country.

Top Washington officials came to Minneapolis over the weekend to attend the fifteenth annual Hmong National Conference in downtown, where an estimated 1,000 Hmong leaders gathered to discuss the future of their community.

For the first time, the White House Initiative for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders discussed major federal policy recommendations for the Hmong and other populations in what they call a road map for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. The commission presented the first of its kind report to President Obama recently, in which 23 federal agencies proposed ways for Asian populations to increase access to federal programs.

White House figures show the nation’s Asian population became the fastest growing race over the past decade, experiencing a 43 percent increase from 2000 to 2010, according to new figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Many of the concerns are the same when I came into this country — language access, health disparities,” said Doua Thor, executive director of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center. “Some of them are new, have to do with young people who are fully educated, looking for jobs like any other Americans.”

In Minnesota, Hmong leaders want to know how public services meet the growing population’s need. Concerns voiced at the conference ranged from economic development to health care, poverty, education, housing and domestic violence.

“To collectively talk about our post-refugee era, beginning a new chapter of Hmong Americans, how do we move the community forward?” said Bao Vang, the president of the Hmong National Development, Inc. “We are a very young community, the average age is 20 – that is how young our community is.”

Vang said the Hmong community needs to boost its graduation rate, and close achievement gaps.

“There is also a huge issue between our boys and our girls, our girls are more accomplished and ambitious and successful, and our boys are sort of lagging behind,” Vang said.

Yue Pheng owns the Hmong ABC bookstore in the Hmongtown marketplace on Como Street in St. Paul. He says he sees this trend in his own family.

“Our children born and growing up in this country don’t seem to have motivation to pursue higher education compared to my generation,” Pheng said.

With a third generation of Hmong Americans in Minnesota, the White House wants to know how progress here can be a blueprint for the rest of the country.

“In Minnesota in particular, there is been a space where immigrant and refugee communities feel they can make a home,” said Kiran Ahuja, the executive director of White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. “I think it’s also really important for us to see how that is happened in Minnesota and how it’s worked.”

Comments

One Comment

  1. Giveitallaway says:

    Yes, in Minnesota in particular they can feel they can make a home, as we have the highest welfare payouts of any state.

    Big surprise that the white house has an interest in this, as most of the non-white voters in the last election voted for Obama.

    If you want to call me a racist or bigot, go ahead. I had a car that I had advertised for sale stolen out of my driveway in New Hope in 1999, I had gotten a call from someone that spoke very broken english, they said they were coming to look at it, never showed up, didn’t think much about it as that happens often, got up during the night and it was gone. The caller had asked me how to get there from the capitol area of St. Paul, I knew there was a subsidised housing area close to the capitol, drove over there and found my car between a couple of buildings. As I was driving through the housing project that I pay for and there are several families in each apartment I was looked at and yelled at “what are you doing in my neighborhood”. Can’t imagine why the Hmongs aren’t my favorite people.

    1. Chad1165 says:

      So you are going to let one incident ruin what a good community the Hmong are? I know plenty of Hmong people and even have some Hmong friends. I won’t call you racist but I do think you ned a good wake up call and realize that not all Hmongs are bad. What if it were a white person that had taken it and dropped it off in the Hmong community? You can’t prove who took it so back off. I don’t like you but I know I wouldn’t like you because of your attitude towards people. It’s people like you that gives Minnesota bad name. Do all of us true Minnesotans a favor and get out of our state. We don’t need or want people like you around.

  2. Imabadperson says:

    Chad,

    So, one incident??

    I would agree if it was some one budging in front of me at duncan donughts, but these people came in my yard, behind my house, broke the lock out of the door, busted the ignition, and drove my car out of my yard, and then atacked me when I tried to get my car back.

    So I can’t prove who took it, the guy that called could not speak english, and I magically found it in N. St. Paul (after the caller said that was where he was coming from). But I am sure a white person stole it and parked it behind the art school off 35W and Mariland Ave, then took the wheels off (the caller was reallyt interested in the “directional” wheels). We do that all the time. And FYI I can prove who took it, because the St. Paul police lifted prints off the car. I chose not to press charges because I figured the person that took it was in a bad spot.

    No, I won’t back off, and as far as your comment about people like me give Minnesota a bad name, I was born and raised here, work a job, pay my taxes, have helped more people out on the side of the road and fixed their cars than you will ever meet.

    What makes you you a true Minnesotan? And I need (ned) a good wakeup call on what, did I say all Hmongs are bad people? But it’s kind of like anything else, if you see a bunch of bad and the good don’t stand up and say anything about it all you see is the bad.

    So you don’t like me based on a comment on a web site which you obviously didn’t take the time to read thoroughly, but I am supposed to like the Hmong community based on your post?

    And I don’t care if you want or need people like me around, but many of the REAL Minnesotan’s I have helped want me to stay around.

    1. MERCYRN says:

      “I chose not to press charges because I figured the person that took it was in a bad spot.”

      leads to…

      “Can’t imagine why the Hmongs aren’t my favorite people.”

      Why forgive one bad apple if you’re only going to end up resenting an entire culture that they just happened to be a part of?

      And PLEASE tell us all what makes someone a REAL Minnesotan.

  3. Rusty Shackelford says:

    THIS is why I say Liberals are racist. Especially Hmongs here in Minnesota. I have many Hmong friends and this guy is a wacko. Your story seems kind of shady to begin with.

  4. Chaser892 says:

    Yet ANOTHER geography mistake by WCCO. There is no Como Street in Saint Paul. It’s Como Avenue.. Do you guys ever leave Minneapolis?

  5. HateWelfareSlugs says:

    Why Racist. I have never went to a country to live on Welfare or get a free ride. I have worked many years and paid taxes so this could be a better state. This country gives welfare to all non-Caucasians that come into this country whether they are legal or illegal. I lost my job after 28 years and no one is handing out free health care to me so I can’t even go to a doctor. If people want to over-populate this state/country why don’t they pay for their own kids food, housing & medical. Why should tax payers have to foot the bill. I have worked with non-Americans and some were good people and some were nasty. Am I racist?? I really don’t care what you think.

  6. Richard Montgomery says:

    Unless you are an native american your parents or ancestors were immigrants. I suppose that they encountered racist like the one above, but eventually they and their children became Americans. This country is based on refugees (who immediately set about exterminating the indigenous people) but refugees never the less.

  7. purpleprincesscly says:

    Did you know 89.4% of public assistance/welfare is granted to mainly WHITE, ELDERLY people who are in need of long term care? Obama has recently expanded medical assistance for adults without children so if you’re complaining about not having health care you should check your eligibility for public assistance. Before anyone starts to talk about how much immigrants/refugees drain our public welfare system, please educate yourself. What is a refugee vs. immigrant? The Hmong are refugees, who came to the U.S. due to their involvement in the Vietnam War. They lost everything…their families died dying to save American interests. After the U.S. pulled out of the conflict, the Hmongs were killed due to their involvement. They came to the U.S. with nothing but hope for the future. Can you imagine losing everything and starting over in country where you don’t know the language and customs? Don’t blame the Hmong for shortcomings of the political and organizational processes of the government. Not all Hmong are wonderful people and not all WHITES are wonderful people either, but we’re all human. Everyone deserves a chance.

  8. Good Bye says:

    If Washington wants to know about the Hmong….JUST TAKE THEM TO WASHINGTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. TIRED OF THE FREE ENTITLEMENTS says:

    in which 23 federal agencies proposed ways for Asian populations to increase access to federal programs?????? WE DO NOT NEED THESE FEDERAL PROGRAMS. WASHINGTON YOU ARE NOT LISTENING STOP THE SPENDING.
    PEOPLE NEED TO STOP RELYING ON GOVERNMENT MONEY. WHO CAN HELP US AMERICAN PEOPLE TO ACCESS THE FEDERAL PROGRAMS??? YOU SEE I CONSIDER MYSELF AN AMERICAN NOT AN ASIAN AMERICAN, NOT AN NATIVE AMERICAN, ETC. ETC. JUST AN AMERICAN WHICH IF YOU COME TO THIS COUNTRY THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE. STOP LABELING PEOPLE AND GIVING THEM PROGRAMS THAT COST US ALL A LOT OF MONEY.
    White House figures show the nation’s Asian population became the fastest growing race over the past decade.
    ???and why do you we still have to keep paying for these people and their families after a decade????

    Unless you are an native american your parents or ancestors were immigrants.
    Ok so our grandparents and ancestors were immigrants. THEY DID NOT, DID NOT RECEIVE GOVRNMENT ASSISTANT. THEY NEED TO BE EDUCATED TO MAKE IT ON THEIR OWN. NOT BY THE GOVRNMENT PAYING FOR EVERYTHING.
    I’M TIRED OF PEOPLE RECEIVING FREE MONEY. NOTHING SHOULD BE FREE. YOU HAVE BABIES YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR THEM. THEY ARE NOT FREE,FREE, FREE, FREE EVERY TIME YOU HAVE ONE. NOTHING SHOULD BE FREE. IF YOU NEED ASSISTANT THERE SHOULD BE A PROGRAM TO HELP YOU BUT YOU MUST PAY BACK WHAT EVER ASSISTANT YOU NEEDED. IF NOT, WELL WHY SHOULD ANYONE PAY FOR ANYTHING?? HECK LET’S JUST GO TO TARGET AND WALMART AND EXPECT EVERYTHING THERE TO BE FREE ALSO. COME ON NO MORE FREE ASSISTANT.

  10. wheat says:

    In the Twin Cities you are Hmong friends!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. AlumacraftNavigator says:

    Assistance is government investment. Sometimes they make bad investments sometimes they make good ones. My family grew up with assistance from the government but it was just enough to get by. I remember getting used clothing from church donations and was very excited about it. I’m hmong and it’s been 31 years since my parents arrived in MN. I grew up thinking MN was the best state to live in because everyone you meet has such a great personality and respect for one another. Today, my wife(hmong) and I make six figure incomes and no one else in my family relies on assistance anymore. We all pay our fare share of taxes, if not more.

    On the other hand(to the ignorant guy above), I’ve seen caucasions on welfare just as much as any other race. I remember being at the office and seeing an equal amount of every color. So quit blaming others for your failed success. After generations of your family being here all you can achieve in life is an occupation that keeps you paycheck to paycheck. I’m the first generation of my people to be born here and within 24yrs I make more than people twice my age(probably you too). Everything requires hard work and commitment and if you chose the wrong route then have no one to blame but yourself.

    1. botz says:

      Whatever. You just hustling.

  12. TLis says:

    I made just under 100,00.00$ with a two yrs degree in … was i ever on YOUR FU*KEN WELFARE, NOPE…DIDNT qualify for for it…said I make too much working at McDonalds (McDonalds…not the 500 fortune companies as CEO but a COOK, a FU*KEN COOK) while attending college (Inver Hills Community College).

    Yeah, i am a HMONG MAN…U GOT A F**** Problem with that…

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