Today, in Episode three a story entitled, “Homeland to Promise Land.” In this case, the homeland is Laos, a nation state in Indochina that borders Vietnam. Chenu Lo is a millennial – a student at Butte College in Northern California – home to a significant number of Hmong people… including Chenu Lo’s relatives. Chenu’s story begins in his homeland, and their escape as refugees following the fall of Vietnam. But the story quickly becomes familiar to us – the process of assimilation for immigrant families. So what was it like for this Hmong family? What was it like for Chenu who grew up in that shadow of Homeland to Promise Land? How is it that Chenu can now, today, proudly proclaim, that “I am America”…

So there you have it, Chenu Lo’s story, from secret war to millennial kid, from hard corps to soft corps,  from resentment to ambition, — the Hmong people have settled into Northern California’s landscape and “peoplescape”, not just small plot farmers whose produce shows up at local farmer’s markets, but Hmong who have dreams, ambitions, — people who, too, can proclaim, “I am America.”

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The so-called “Boat People” were refugees following the end of the Vietnam War. Their plight began in 1975 but did not end until some twenty-plus years later. The Hmong were among the refugees, mostly from Laos. 

 

 

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