Tag Archives: Hmong American

Three Killed by Neighbour in Xenophobic Shooting in Wisconsin

March 14, 2016
Phia and Mai Vue. (Photo Credit: Vue/Xiong Family / GoFundMe)
Phia and Mai Vue. (Photo Credit: Vue/Xiong Family / GoFundMe)

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.

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Man who beat Hmong American hunter Sao Vang charged with battery

December 10, 2014
Kevin Elberg, in his arrest photo.
Kevin Elberg, in his arrest photo.

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.

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Hmong American man brutally beaten by hunter following trespassing dispute

December 3, 2014
Sao Lue Vang, 64, was severely beaten by Kevin Elberg on November 5th after a trespassing dispute. Vang's family are questioning if racial bias may have contributed to the attack.
Sao Lue Vang, 64, was severely beaten by Kevin Elberg on November 5th after a trespassing dispute. Vang’s family are questioning if racial bias may have contributed to the attack.

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:

According to Sao [Lue Vang], Elberg started harassing, yelling, and accusing Sao for being on his property. Although Sao’s english speaking abilities are limited, he was able to understand what Elberg was saying. He politely apologized to Elberg for the misunderstanding. To which Elberg replied, “I don’t care”. The confrontation escalated.

Fearing that Elberg would harm him, Sao radioed his hunting party and proceeded to walk away from Elberg. Sao is 5’3, 117 lbs. Elberg appeared to be in his early 40’s, over 6 feet tall and weigh around 180 lbs. (The Leader Telegram newspaper later confirmed that Elberg had military background).

Suddenly, from behind, Elberg struck Sao with enough force to knock him onto the ground. Elberg wrestled Sao for his walkie talkie while Sao continued to cry out for help.

While on the ground and helpless, Sao was kicked and struck several more times in the stomach and body. Elberg then grabbed Sao’s rifle and struck him with it, causing lacerations and bleeding to his left hand. Sao pleaded for his life and continued to yell for help. Elberg put his hands over Sao’s mouth, causing him to gasp for air. Shortly after, Sao was unable to breathe and became unconscious.

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).

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Hmong Story 40 Project is seeking your help to tell Hmong stories!

July 28, 2014

hmong-story-40

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:

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