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‘To have your own day just means a lot': May 14 declared Hmong American Day

What would be a typical night at a Milpitas home has become a sort of gathering space for some Hmong Americans who call the Bay Area home.

“I live in San Jose, I’ve been living here since 1990,” Patti Moua said.

The state itself boasts the largest population of Hmong people in the country at more than 90,000, according to a state legislature resolution that recognizes May 14 as Hmong American Day.

It’s thanks to an effort by folks with Hmong Innovating Politics who say they choose the day because of the group’s tethered history with the U.S. as fighters alongside Americans during the secret war — covert war that lives in the shadows of the Vietnam war.

“In May 14th, 1975 that marked the withdrawal of the United States, but also the last airlift evacuation of Hmong soldier families,” Kao Ye Thao, of Hmong Innovating Politics, said. “It was really at the point that marked the diaspora of the Hmong community but not just the Hmong community but many other minority ethnic groups.”

The resolution acknowledges the group that originated from what is now southern China as part of the fabric of the state and Thao hopes it’ll do much more.

“It becomes a platform really for other folks whose not even in the Hmong community too that don’t identify in the Hmong community to also learn and be curious,” Thao said.

Back at the Milpitas house, many young and old have been waiting for this.

“It brings awareness to our community but also spotlights us and what we have done and gone through,” Amanda Sinwongsa of San Jose said,

“Not a lot of them know where they stem from so to have your own day just means a lot,” Mary Thao of Fremont said.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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