Hmong Students in Wisconsin Discuss Tragic Mountains: Laos History, Refugee, Human Rights Crisis
Hmong-American students, and University of Wisconsin-Platteville (UWP) faculty and staff issued statements about the recent visit of Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt to Wisconsin where she was invited to speak about the history of the Hmong people of Laos as well as current issues. She is the author of the highly acclaimed book Tragic Mountains.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Washington, D.C. and Plattesville, Wisconsin - October 17, 2008 - Hmong-American students, and University of Wisconsin-Platteville ( UWP ) faculty and staff have issued statements about the recent visit of Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt to Wisconsin where she was invited to speak about the history of the Hmong people of Laos as well as current issues, including the plight of refugees and those suffering human rights violations. http://www.uwplatt.edu/news/2008/10/hmong-club-to-present-jane-hamilton.html
Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt is the author of the highly acclaimed book Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, the Americans and the Secret Wars for Laos ( Indiana University Press ). Hamilton-Merritt’s book is a monumental and pioneering history of the Lao and Hmong people during the secret wars for Laos from 1942-1992. The 15th anniversary of its publication is being commemorated in the Laotian and Hmong community across the United States. She recently was honored at Hmong New Year Ceremonies in Rhode Island. http://media-newswire.com/release_1076131.html http://www.tragicmountains.org
Last week, Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis and Dr. Hamilton-Merritt were presented with human rights awards by the Laotian and Hmong community in Rhode Island for their work on behalf of refugees and asylum seekers in Thailand and Laos, including over 6,000 Hmong suffering in Ban Huay Nam Khao and Nong Khai detention centers. http://media-newswire.com/release_1076303.html
“On Monday, October 13, 2008, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville was privileged to have Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt speak to our campus community on the subject of the Hmong, the Americans, and the secret wars for Laos,” stated Mrs. Pusaporn Tabrizi, an academic coordinator for multicultural students and an advisor for Hmong Club at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
“Chancellor, Vice-chancellor, Special assistance to the chancellor, faculty, staff, and a large number of American students attended the event,” Mrs. Pusaporn Tabrizi said.
Mrs. Pusaporn Tabrizi continued: “As a multicultural educator who has been working with Hmong students for eleven years, Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merrit was the best motivated speaker on behalf of Hmong people. She has opened many faculty, staff, and students’ eyes in the history and current issues about Hmong people and our Hmong students. The words that I have heard over and over from many audiences after her presentation were ‘I didn’t know that Hmong…..’ I truly appreciated her presentation to educate people to learn more about Hmong and her tremendous efforts to build the gap between Hmong students and American students, faculty, and staff.”
The following statements are some codes from Hmong students and American faculty, staff, and students at the University of Wisconsin Platteville ( UWP ).
“The Hmong Club, the University of Wisconsin Platteville, and I were honored to have Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt come to speak about the history of the Hmong people during the Vietnam War as well as the current devastating crisis that the many Hmong are facing in Laos and Thailand,” said Porsia Vang, Hmong Club President at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville.
Porsia Vang stated further: “I respect Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt for her commitment and passion toward achieving an adequate environment for my people and bringing them into U.S. history. She has truly impacted me to work harder toward informing the campus and community about the history of my people and what I can do to maintain my identity. I am forever grateful to have known an invaluable person as Dr. Jane.”
Bao Lee, a Hmong Club Member made the following observation: “I was super excited and honored to welcome Dr. Jane to the Platteville campus. Dr. Jane Hamilton Merritt’s lecture was not only educational, but heart-touching and mind-boggling. As a Hmong student, I learned a lot at the lecture about the Hmong history and the Hmong culture. I am really thankful and appreciative that Dr. Jane took the time to share her experiences and knowledge with our campus. It means a great deal to hear how passionate she is about the Hmong people. Dr. Jane and her presentation will be remembered and greatly valued by many University of Wisconsin-Plattesville Hmong students as well as myself.”
Sura Yang, a Hmong Senior at the University of Wisconsin also added: “Dr. Jane's lecture was informative, revealing, and finally the truth about the Hmong. Having her come speak about our history and our feelings of being Americans today was deeply heartfelt and touching. Not only did she inform the audience of our history, she updated the audience on the current events of the Hmong people. The UW-Platteville Hmong students thank her for her tireless efforts to keep Hmong human rights issues at the forefront of world consciousness.”
“Amazing presentation! Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt well-represented the Hmong people with organized and interesting information,” said Jay Lee, Hmong Club Secretary.
Michael Rouvari, another student at UWP said: ”Information was well presented. Recent information regarding the Hmong in Laos was surprising and shocking. Some photos were gruesome, but necessary in motivating the audience into action.”
“Dr. Jane was so very knowledgeable about the Hmong Culture, and her knowledge gave me a different perspective on some Hmong artwork I purchased 20 years ago. Thank you, Dr. Jane for educating UWP about the culture of a people that gave everything to help this country during a time of war,” stated Patricia Foster, Director Patricia A. Doyle Women's Center.
“Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt was an inspiring and motivational speaker who gave me a much deeper understanding of the Secret War for Laos, in which the Hmong people fought with such bravery. Dr. Hamilton-Merritt put on one of the best presentation that I have experienced on the UWP campus,” concluded Michael Wilson a UWP student.
Anna Jones ( 202 )543-1444
Center for Public Policy Analysis 2020 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Suite No.#212 Washington, DC 20006 USA
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