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Hmong Heritage Month celebration kicks off this week

| Judy Berthiaume

Photo caption: UW-Eau Claire will host a series of events in April to celebrate Hmong Heritage Month. Events, which be mostly virtual, include speakers, films and discussion groups.

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has a series of events planned throughout April in celebration of Hmong Heritage Month.

UW-Eau Claire and UW Oshkosh will jointly host a kickoff event at noon Friday, April 2, at noon. The virtual event will include opening remarks from Dr. Kong Pheng Pha, an assistant professor of critical Hmong studies and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at UW-Eau Claire, and Dr. Mai See Thao, an assistant professor of anthropology at UW Oshkosh. Alumni from both institutions also will speak during the kickoff event, followed by a meet-and-greet and breakout sessions involving UW-Eau Claire and UW Oshkosh students who are interested in critical Hmong studies.

The 30th annual Culture Core conference will run from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on April 3. The theme of the virtual event is “Intersectionality: Fragments of my Identity.” Sessions will address issues raised by the complexities of diverse cultural, social and epistemological traditions. Its goal, organizers say, is to empower Hmoob and non-Hmoob identifying students by creating a space for conversations of identity, social issues and culture.

Seev Suab will feature an evening of poetry and storytelling. The virtual event will begin at 6:30 p.m. April 8.

Dr. Ma Vang will deliver a keynote lecture at noon on April 16. Her virtual talk will highlight key arguments and findings from her recently published book “History on the Run: Secrecy, Fugitivity and Hmong Refugee Epistemologies.” The event will be open to the public.

A Hmong comedy film will screen virtually at 6 p.m. April 22.

The annual Hmonger Games will take place from 1-4 p.m. May 1 on the Campus Mall at UW-Eau Claire. The event features a relay race full of Hmong physical activities.

A full schedule of events with access information for virtual events can be found on the Hmong Heritage Month Facebook page.

The monthlong celebration is sponsored by critical Hmong studies, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Hmong Student Association and the Hmong Living Community.

For more information, contact Melanie Chang, a senior business major who is earning a certificate in critical Hmong studies, at changmn5716@uwec.edu, or Dr. Kong Pheng Pha at phakp@uwec.edu.