Orphans of History


| October 12, 2000


Orphans of History, Stephen Magagnini, Sacramento Bee
Today, 70,000 Hmong refugees from Laos are in California, 60,000 in Minnesota and 50,000 in Wisconsin. Stephen Magagnini, in a special Sacramento Bee series, charts the personal experiences of a unique American immigrant community dealing with assimilation, cultural clashes and old traditions butting heads with new world ways. 'Many Hmong, young and old, see themselves [as] leftovers from the CIA's secret war in Laos, a war that robbed them of their homes and their way of life,' writes Magagnini. 'Leftovers dumped in America's worst neighborhoods, unable to read street signs, much less their kids' gang signs.' In the six-part series, Magagnini supplies information and personal perspectives on Hmong history, including a detailed timeline of Hmong history in the U.S., a profile of Tou Ger Xiong, a young Hmong comedian working to bridge the generational gap with humor, and the lives of teenagers, caught between the expectations of traditional Hmong values and American temptations of gang life. -- Amanda Luker
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