Perlmutter Supports Designation of National Lao-Hmong Recognition Day

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Washington, DC, July 22, 2015 | comments

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07), with support from Reps. Gwen Moore (WI-04), Jim Langevin (RI-04), Jim Costa (CA-16), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU0) and Jim McDermott (WA-07), have introduced a joint resolution to designate July 22 as "National Lao-Hmong Recognition Day."

"Historically, the Lao-Hmong people were one of our country’s most loyal allies. During the Vietnam War, they fought bravely alongside U.S. soldiers.  Many emigrated to the U.S. and now proudly call this country their home. We are grateful for their service and sacrifice to our nation," said Rep. Perlmutter.

In 1995, Golden, Colorado became the first city in the United States to designate a Lao-Hmong Recognition Day. Since then, other areas in the country followed suit, declaring July 22 “Lao-Hmong Recognition Day”.  The establishment of this day recognizes the bravery, sacrifice, and loyalty to the United States exhibited by the Lao-Hmong. Currently, there are approximately 3,000 Lao-Hmong people living in Colorado.

“I take great pride in joining my congressional colleagues in our collective efforts to honor our Lao-Hmong brothers and sisters and recognize their contributions to our country” said Rep. Moore. “Their assistance and sacrifice in Vietnam saved the lives of countless of U.S. service members. Wisconsin has the third-largest Hmong population in the country and their culture and traditions have become woven into the tapestry of my state. I look forward to seeing the dream of a ‘National Lao-Hmong Recognition Day’ come to fruition.”

“Lao and Hmong individuals risked their lives fighting side-by-side with U.S. soldiers during the Vietnam War. When the war ended, these courageous soldiers and their families faced extreme brutality at home and put their lives in further danger when emigrating to the United States in hopes of a better life,” said Rep. Costa.  “There is no way to fully repay the Lao and Hmong veterans who risked their lives to save Americans. However, the establishment of a National Lao-Hmong Recognition Day would be a small way to show our deep gratitude. Their bravery and sacrifice during and after the war make Lao and Hmong individuals incredibly deserving of this recognition.”

The Hmong in the United States are members of a distinct ethno-linguistic group from northern Laos, where 315,000 Hmong still reside.  Over time, the Hmong migrated from Southern China to different parts of Asia in an attempt to flee persecution from the Han Chinese.  During the 1960s and 1970s, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency recruited the Hmong to fight in the “Secret War in Laos” against the Communist Pathet Lao and the Vietnamese.

As a result of their role in the US-led war in Laos, approximately 90 percent of Hmong refugees have settled in the United States.  Currently, there are roughly 180,000 Hmong people in the U.S., largely concentrated in Wisconsin, Minnesota, California and parts of North Carolina. Several million Hmong people remain in China, Thailand, and Laos.

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