Orphans of History

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
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