The Student of Color Conference was definitely a new experience for HSA, as it was our first coordinated workshop. Although there was a bit of confusion in the location, we were nonetheless successful. The facilitators: Kao, Nancy, Moua, and Mai Xia, were dressed up in traditional Hmong clothes as they told their stories of struggles growing up as an American-Hmong and how coming to college made a difference in their lives.
Participants engaged by asking questions about the Hmong culture and struggles. Many of them were amused by knowing what “Hmong” was. Kathy, a UC Davis SOCC participant, contributed that she could relate to some the facilitators’ stories as she shared a bit of her struggles with the participants also. For having this workshop as one of HSA’s first, the facilitators found it to be quite effective and successful.
Blurb above written by Mai Xia.
Kao Xiong: At the UC Students of Color Conference 2007 held at UC Santa Cruz, Hmong Student Association held a workshop called: Different Cities, Different Sexes, Different Ages, Same Struggles. In the pictures posted, I am seen wearing traditional Hmong Green clothing. The vest that I am wearing shows patterns that represent the area that I would be from as well decorations. The pants are baggy, almost like parachute pants represent that I am Hmong Green. At this conference, I talked about my struggles of growing up in a Hmong household. Some struggles included my parents overprotection of me, for example: coming home right after school, not letting me play sports or join clubs, and fear of me becoming a gangster. Overcoming these struggles included becoming closer with my family and learning more about Hmong Culture and Customs. Overall, the workshop’s goal was to empower everyone to look back at their culture with a greater respect and try to hold onto your culture.
Nancy Vang: As a freshmen coming into UC Santa Cruz, I knew that there wasn’t a lot of Hmong students. When I told people I was Hmong, they had confused looks. They would say, “What is Hmong?” I had to tell a little history about my people. It was just great to find a group of people that I can relate to and speak hmong to because I was afraid I might lose the language. It was nice to know that there were Hmong students. Also I guess it made me feel more welcome and like there is a family here at santa cruz too.