On Saturday, May 13th, 2023 Fresno California celebrated Hmong American Day at The Fresno Center. “We’re here today at The Fresno Center to celebrate Hmong American Day. It’s the first time we’re having a proclamation signed for the Hmong community in Fresno,” expressed Renee Ya, Co-Founder of Tiger Byte Studios, highlighting the significance of the event.
The celebration served as a tribute to the Hmong people’s invaluable contributions to the history of the United States, particularly their sacrifices during the Vietnam War. This year marked the 48th anniversary of the final airlift of Hmong and Lao who fought alongside the United States. Notably, Fresno became the first city in California to officially commemorate Hmong American Day with an official proclamation, as announced by Mayor Jerry Dyer.
“Now, therefore be it resolved that we, Mayor Jerry Dyer, and the Fresno City Council, do hereby proclaim May 14th, 2023, as Hmong American Day in the city of Fresno, and invite you to join us in commemorating this day, and formally recognizing and celebrating the history, culture, and contributions of Hmong Americans in Fresno and other cities throughout California.”
The celebration in Fresno aimed to highlight the rich history and cultural contributions of Hmong Americans, both in Fresno and beyond. “To be Hmong American is to be proud, to be free to celebrate my heritage. Because our Hmong community, our Hmong people, we are a resilient people. Losing everything. Everything. Going through refugee camps, trying to survive. Coming to a new land, a new country. Starting at zero,” shared Pao Yang, CEO of The Fresno Center, reflecting on the Hmong American experience.
During the Vietnam War, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) recruited, trained, and armed Hmong hill tribes and ethnic minorities, employing them as a guerilla force aimed at impeding the spread of communism in what was referred to as the “Secret War.”
Today, Fresno boasts the second largest Hmong population in the country. By commemorating Hmong American Day, Fresno pays homage to the sacrifices and achievements of the Hmong people and recognizes the importance of embracing and celebrating diverse cultures and histories within the United States.
We would like to take a moment to express our deepest gratitude to all of our community partners and sponsors who played an instrumental role in making our recent event a tremendous success. It was heartwarming to witness the strong turnout from our community, comprising both our empowering elders and our empowered youth.
A special thank you goes to our Co-Founder (www.reneeya.com), for her exceptional dedication and leadership as the event’s chairperson. We would also like to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of our esteemed planning committee members: Ziang Her, Trinity Vang, Lala Vang, Christina Vang, Alisha Xiong, Dao Lor, Cyndee Loryang, and Mai Yeng Xiong. Without their tireless efforts and commitment, this event – would not have been possible.
We extend our appreciation to our fiscal sponsor, The Fresno Center, for their unwavering support throughout the entire journey. Their partnership has been instrumental in ensuring the success of our initiatives.
Furthermore, we would like to recognize and express our gratitude to our esteemed community partners who have been instrumental in our collective efforts to celebrate Hmong American Day. The invaluable support and collaboration of the following organizations have played a pivotal role in our event’s success:
– Stone Soup
– Hmong In Politics
– A Hopeful Encounter
– City of Fresno
– Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministry (FIRM)
– Asian Business Institute and Resource Center (ABIRC)
– Hlub Hmong Center (HHC)
– Hmong Student Association (HmSA), CSU Fresno
– Hmong Nurses Association, Fresno Chapter
– An Innovative Mind ABA
– Central California Asian Pacific Women
– Fresno State AANAPISI
We want to thank our artists:
– Trinity Her (violin performance)
– Soul Vang (poetry recital)
– Soua Her (author of The Fifth Wife)
– Doua Yang (Designer and Founder of Zam Hmong (https://zamhmong.com/)).
And we especially want to thank all of our volunteers and guests.