On the evening of Saturday, March 5th, 39-year-old Dan Popp was by his apartment when he called out to 40-year-old Jesus R. Manso-Perez — a neighbour who was going to their building’s common laundry room with his son — to offer him a beer. Manso-Perez refused the offer, at which point Popp asked him where he was from. When Manso-Perez responded that he was from Puerto Rico, Popp allegedly said, “Oh, that’s why you don’t speak English. You’re Puerto Rican.”
Minutes later, as Manso-Perez and his son walked back from the laundry room, Popp again confronted the father and son, this time with a rifle in hand. According to Manso-Perez’s son, who survived the attack, Popp shot them at point-blank range saying, “You guys got to go.”
After shooting Manso-Perez and his son, Popp allegedly then kicked down the door of 36-year-old Phia Vue and his 32-year-old wife, Mai K. Vue where he found the couple along with their four children and a babysitter. Popp allegedly shot and killed Phia in the family’s home, and then dragged Mai Vue upstairs where he shot and killed her. The babysitter and the four children were able to escape during the chaos.
As far as I’m concerned, this is what a hate crime looks like — one that I find unspeakably tragic and enraging.
43-year-old Kevin Elberg, a Wisconsin man who beat 64-year-old Sao Lue Vang on November 5th over a trespassing dispute, has now been charged with battery with intent to injure and with false imprisonment (read criminal complaint here). Both crimes are felonies and carry a maximum sentence of six years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
As reported earlier this month, the incident began when Vang was out with friends squirrel hunting on public land in Pepin County; he became separated from his fellow hunters when he encountered Elberg, who was also out bow-hunting on his parents’ property. The events that follow this initial meeting are disputed, but what we do know is that Vang left the incident with a lacerated liver and a hand cut so badly it required several stitches.
Three weeks ago, 64-year-old Sao Lue Vang was out hunting with two friends in Pepin County, Wisconsin. It was a hobby that Vang had participated in for twenty years. He was familiar with the local public land, and with the etiquette of the local hunting community.
On November 5th, Vang and his friends parked on a road and hiked into the public lands. Vang then separated from his friends when he was confronted by Kevin Elberg, whose family owns private land that borders the public woods. Elberg accused Vang of trespassing, and then proceeded to brutally attack Vang. From a Facebook post written by an advocate of Vang’s family:
Elberg was arrested on November 8th and released without bond, pending possible criminal charges. Meanwhile, Vang’s family are now speaking out, accusing Elberg of racial bias in this horrific assault (video after the jump).
Over the weekend, Hmong Story 40 launched at a United Way in Fresno. Hmong Story 40 is a California state-wide project whose mission it is to collect and curate Hmong and Hmong American artifacts, documents, and oral histories related to Hmong migration from Asia to the United States, and to create an exhibit to showcase in a museum by 2015.
The project will be broken into four phases to document each step of the community’s migration: “Life in Laos”, “Laos & The Secret War”, “Thailand Refugee Camps” and “California”. In addition to histories, Hmong Story 40 is planning to add artistic components, including visual expressions of the Hmong experience and displays exploring Hmong and Hmong American fashion.
This project sounds both necessary and fascinating. The Hmong experience remains woefully under-explored and under-celebrated both within the AAPI community and the larger American cultural landscape. I really look forward to seeing this exhibit open next year. But, Hmong Story 40 needs your help for it to happen.
After the jump, check out a video, and the many ways you can participate:
Since 2001, Reappropriate has been the web's foremost Asian American activism, identity, feminism, and pop culture blog!