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Va Xiong



Va was born in Phanat Nikhom refugee camp in Chonburi, Thailand in 1994. The next year his family came to the United States. He has seven brothers and two sisters. In 2014, he was a sophomore at the University of Minnesota. As a youth, he had an active social life, participated in school sports, spent time with his family, and regularly celebrated Hmong New Year.




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“My Story” by Va Xiong

This is me. Currently a sophomore attending the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. I am Hmong American and here is my story… Every year I celebrate the Hmong New Year, wearing traditional clothing, eating great food, and spending the day at the River Centre. As a young adult I also attend parties and dances at schools, and outside of school. I try to look my best. In high school I participated in many things, I went to prom, with a rented suit and everything that came along with prom. I participated in talent shows showing off my singing skills and guitar skills. At home, my family would participate in many things, for example playing in makeshift obstacle courses. I also participated in track and field. I actually was in the field more than on the track. I threw the discus.
Here is me at a much younger age, in 8th grade I started gaining a lot of interest in music, I learned how to play the guitar and the piano. I also picked up on a little break dancing as well. Going back few years this is me, I don’t remember taking these photos but I always remember my parents telling me, “Sawm ko Ncab Ncab,” or “Stand up Straight.” Here is me with my mom, at a very young age, one of the few photos of me, actually. I have a secret that some of my Hmong peers won’t believe. Unlike many of my Hmong peers I was not born here in the US. Here is a photo of me at 20 days old. Me and my mom, back in Phanat Nikhon, Thailand, refugee camp. On the back it says my name and it states that I was 20 days old; I can’t make out what it says in Lao. A year later, my family came to the United States. This is my story.