The Hmong and refugee communities from throughout Wisconsin are hosting a Hmong-Refugee Day at the Wisconsin State Capitol today from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. to coincide with the Hmong American Day celebration across the country.
Nearly 200 Hmong adults, students, and other refugees from throughout Wisconsin will be in attendance. The event will start at 10 a.m. with welcome remarks by Lt. Governor Barnes at the Overture Center, 201 State St. Participants will then walk to the Capitol to the State Supreme Court Chamber where Justice Ann Walsh Bradley and Lt. Governor Barnes will announce the 6 Hmong and refugee awardees of the Hlub Foundation Scholarships. Professor Nengher Vang will give a presentation about Hmong American Experience and their contribution to Wisconsin at 1:30 p.m. Participants will meet with elected officials, learn about the roles of elected officials, and take a tour of the Capitol.
“The purpose of the event is for Hmong and other refugee communities living in Wisconsin to come meet their elected officials and for elected officials to meet and learn about the Hmong and refugee residents living in their districts,” said Mai Zong Vue, Board President of The Hmong Institute, in a statement. “Additionally, it’s a great opportunity for students to learn about the roles of an elected official, learn how a bill becomes law, and get a chance to tour the State Capitol.”
Hmong American Day honors the contributions of the Hmong people to America and celebrates the history, culture and achievements they have made. Hmong American Day was created in 2013 to remember the day that the Hmong who fought as allies for America, were evacuated from Laos and made the United States and Wisconsin home.
“Not everyone knows the role the Hmong played during the Vietnam War that saved the lives of countless US servicemen. I am grateful for their role during the war and for the contributions of the Hmong people to Wisconsin,” Representative Evan Goyke (D-Milw) said in a press release.
The Hmong fought alongside the US-CIA in Laos during the American War in Vietnam. By 1975, the United States withdrew their forces and Laos was lost to the Communist Pathet Lao party. The new regime declared ethnic cleansing against the Hmong who worked with the U.S. As a result, the Hmong fled to Thailand to seek political asylum as refugees. Many were resettled in the United States, France, French Guyana, and Australia.
Wisconsin has the third largest population of Hmong behind California and Minnesota.