With the Michigan State University Bias Busters, we are celebrating the Hmong among us!

Click on this cover to visit the book’s Amazon page, where you can pre-order a copy to arrive on July 2, 2024.

Community Contributions of these Resilient Survivors are ‘Secret No More’

In fact, Secret No More is the subtitle of this new 100 Questions and Answers book from the Michigan State University School of Journalism Bias Busters project.

“Hmong Americans have traveled a long way in a very short time,” says the Preface to the newest volume in this award-winning series of books used nationwide to help reduce bigotry through education—in both text and video formats, in this case. As the Preface explains, “Very few Hmong people lived in the United States until its 1975 pullout from Vietnam. That put Hmong people, recruited by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to fight in a secret war against the Viet Cong, in grave danger.”

This newest Bias Busters book will ship soon from Amazon, so please read (and share with friends via social media) this story (and videos) about the new book. Let’s collectively spread awareness of this remarkable yet little-known minority among us.

As the war was ending, thousands of Hmong were killed; thousands were evacuated to the United States to build new lives. They came from Southeast Asia and were scattered among states including California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina.

Most Hmong people arrived with only what they could carry. They had little formal education, savings, warm clothing or any connection to these new places. Their English was limited. Return was impossible because the nomadic Hmong people did not even have a homeland. As Joseph Yang, one of the people you will meet in this guide, said, his people have had to “carry our culture and our religion on our backs.”

Now, in fewer than 50 years, Hmong Americans have traveled further still. Today, this population has very high rates of U.S. citizenship. They are succeeding in college, business, government and the arts. They have been elected or appointed to local, state and federal offices. They are judges, doctors, college students and professors. Many work in agriculture, as their families did in Southeast Asia before they were recruited to fight. Others work in U.S. health, education and media.

Hmong artists have enriched the tapestry of their new country with traditional music, song, poetry and visual arts. Some are excelling at U.S. forms of writing, dance and music.

But, to this day, Hmong people are little known, so this new book is a perfectly timed opportunity—as the 50th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War approaches in 2025—to learn about these resilient survivors who are contributing in so many ways to American life.

First, how did the Hmong people get out of Laos?

Here’s one of the videos included in this book (accessible through QR codes in the book’s pages). In this short video Julie Xiong explains how Hmong people escaped from Laos.

How are Hmong families organized?

Julie continues in this short clip about the strong family networks that are an essential part of Hmong communities.

A unique cultural archive: ‘Story cloths’

In this video, Joseph Yang explains a bit about Hmong story cloths at an “Ask a Hmong” event held to spread news about this upcoming book.

Why are coins worn on traditional Hmong clothing?

Joseph continues with a brief description of this custom.

Care to learn more?

The Michigan State University School of Journalism Bias Busters project has produced about two dozen volumes in this award-winning series. Each volume is prepared by student-reporters who research 100 common questions people ask about each of the minority groups featured in a volume. Their work is overseen, in each case, by national panels of noted experts who work with the students to ensure the accuracy and balance of each book.

“In these books, we answer the questions every is asking—but no one is answering.” That’s been one of our guiding mission statements since we started this project. These guides are not in-depth histories. They are intended to provide basic information for Americans who want to understand more about our friends, neighbors and co-workers.

Please, share this story with friends to help us continue to foster this mission to help Americans understand each other in these often turbulent times.

Want to see all the guides? Here’s a link to Amazon’s overview page(Note: The Hmong guide will appear in that list after its July 2, 2024, publication date.)

And once more, here’s a direct link to order the Hmong guide, which will arrive July 2.

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