Hmong

It was like a coming out party for the newest group of writers to join the literary world. Amid the bright lights of Fresno’s Tower Theatre, an event billed as the official launch of the book “How Do I Begin” was held.

Fresno writer Mas Masumoto called the publishing of the anthology of poetry and stories written Hmong-Americans in the Central Valley a historic moment. “I think tonight is historic because it’s a community capturing their voices, and the voices are allowed to be passed down through story, especially in a book form.”

This week on Valley Edition we talk about the state's new law, the "California Dream Act" which would allow students who came to the country as children illegally access to financial aid at state colleges and universities. We also hear about the link between the recession and an increase in cases of child abuse. And we close our program with a story on the Hmong American Writers Circle, and a new literary anthology called "How Do I Begin."

As an American teenager, whenever I asked grown-ups about the Vietnam War, few wanted to discuss it. As an adult, it was just as hard to talk about the war. That's why I never told friends and neighbors about my family's history.

You see, the Vietnam War took place in my family's backyard. My family lived in northeastern Laos, in Nong Het, right on the border with Vietnam. When the CIA needed an ally, they found a charismatic, passionate young man not afraid to die.

That man was my great-uncle, the late Gen. Vang Pao.

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