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The Hmong People in the United States

Joy Lim Nakrin

Hmong People of Southeast Asia now make St. Paul their home

At the end of the war in Vietnam a large influx of Hmong people were offered refuge in the United States. The first wave of refugees began arriving in December, 1975, from camps which had been established in Thailand. However, that early on in the immigration process only 3,466 of the refugees were given asylum; mostly men who were directly connected to the Laos General Vang Pao’s secret army under the Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1975. By May 1976 11,000 additional refugees were admitted to the US, and by 1978 there were 30,000 Hmong living in the United States, most of them men.

In 1980 the demographics of the Hmong refugees drastically changed with the Refugee Act of 1980 which allowed families to seek asylum in the United States. Today there are about a quarter of a million Hmong immigrants in the US, the majority of which reside in California, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The largest single community of Hmong lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with a population of almost 30,000.

There are several organizations in Minnesota which do outreach to the Hmong community, helping them to assimilate more successfully into the dominant culture. Just a small sample of helping organizations includes an initiative by the Asian American Journalists Association where news anchor Joy Lim Nakrin is the vice president; The Association for the Advancement of Hmong Women in Minnesota where Ly Vang is the Executive Director; and the Hmong American Partnership, Bao Vang President and CEO.

Today about 5 percent of the world’s Hmong population live outside of Asia, the vast majority of those in the United States. Other countries with much smaller Hmong communities include France, Australia and French Guiana. In Asia itself ethnic Hmong come from China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. In the United States many Hmong have found their places in the greater society. Cy Thao is a Minnesota State Representative; Mee Maua and Foung Hawj are Minnesota State Senators, and Dr. Vang Pobzeb who was a leader of the Hmong who worked tirelessly to bridge relations between his people and the larger American community.

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Spotlight on 2012 Emmy Nominees

Joy-Lim-Nakrin

Joy Lim Nakrin

There are hundreds of nominees for the 2012 Upper Midwest Emmy® Gala to be held on September 29. Three of them spotlighted below are: Alix Kendall, Anchor at Fox 9 Buzz – KMSP-TV; Sven Sundgaard, Meteorologist at KARE 11 Sunrise – KARE-TV; and Joy Lim Nakrin, Anchor/Reporter KSTP-TV.

Alix Kendall has been the co-host of the FOX 9 Morning News since it began airing back in 1999. She began her media career in 1992 when she worked at KAAL-TV in Minnesota. In addition, she produces a monthly segment on traveling to “feed the soul” and works with Global Volunteers.

KARE 11 Sunrise meteorologist Sven Sundgaard has been part of its weather team since 2006 officially, but as an intern he was there some years earlier in 2002 while undertaking his degree in meteorology at St. Cloud State University. He also has the American Meteorological Society’s Seal of Approval. Other experience Sundgaard has had in the field was when he was Chief Meteorologist at KBJR-TV in Duluth-Superior for three years. From an early age he wanted to be a meteorologist.

Emmy-nominated Anchor/Reporter for KSTP-TV Joy Lim Nakrin has a Juris Doctorate from Duke University of School of Law, and is a member of both the American Bar Association and the Massachusetts Bar. She has been with KSTP-TV since 2010. Prior to that Nakrin was an anchor, reporter and producer with WTIC-TV in Connecticut. She also worked as an anchor/reporter at ESPN STAR Sports, and anchored a sportscast broadcast live in 24 countries surrounding Asia.

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