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Celebrating and remembering Hmong American Day in the Fox Cities

Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Community Chords: Engagement through Music and Art is an exciting community project I lead as the Hmong Family Outreach Specialist with the Appleton Public Library. It celebrates Hmong American Day on May 14, a time to remember and honor Hmong people’s history, stories, and contributions in the Vietnam War.

May 14, 1975, was the last airlift evacuation of Hmong soldiers and families from Laos to a refugee camp in Thailand. By December 1975, the first wave of Hmong refugees arrived in the United States. Many Hmong refugees resettled right here in the Fox Valley and have called it home since then.

The City of Appleton was the first city in Wisconsin to proclaim May 14 as Hmong American Day in 2015.

Community Chords highlights Hmong narratives and skills while bringing everyone together through a shared love of music, art and literacy.

Five artists were selected to add their Hmong-inspired designs onto donated pianos. The artists were either Hmong themselves or worked closely with Hmong individuals to accurately portray the beauty of the Hmong culture. The reinvented pianos are placed at host locations for public engagement throughout the month.

Those locations include the Appleton Public Library, Appleton Downtown Inc., Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, River Thyme Bistro, and Long Cheng Market.

In addition, various virtual library programming around Hmong music, art and literacy will take place in May, including traditional Hmong spoken art, chain making, media animation, and others. Visit the library’s Community Chords page for more program details.

I want to ensure that Hmong voices and stories are known and celebrated, especially in this political climate. It’s important to focus on unity and how we as a community can foster more inclusivity and understanding through awareness and education. I hope Community Chords will spark more dialogue.


Pa Ja Yang joined the Community Foundation as our Basic Needs Giving Partnership intern. Click on the player below to hear more from Pa Ja about Hmong American Day in her interview with WHBY Radio’s Focus Fox Valley program with Haley Tenpas. (Interview starts at 25:54 minutes.)

One Response to Celebrating and remembering Hmong American Day in the Fox Cities

  • Jen Osborn says:

    Grateful to work with such a beautiful person! Thank you, Pa Ja, for all you do!

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