Nov 05, 2014

Hmong: New Governor for Cultural Organization

Next Saturday, 8 November 2014, the Hmong people will vote for a new Governor for the Hmong 18 Council – a nonprofit organization promoting and defending Hmong culture. 

Below is an article published by Wausaudailyherald;

WAUSAU — The election of governor and other political offices isn't the only vote on the minds of tens of thousands Hmong people living in Wisconsin.

On Saturday [8 November], the 50,000 or so Hmong people residing in the state will have a chance to pick the president of the Hmong 18 Council, a nonprofit organization that advocates for and promotes Hmong cultural programs.

Three candidates are running for the office: Blia Yao Lo of Waunakee; Nao Vai Yang of Milwaukee; and Xou Khang of Wisconsin Rapids. The new president will serve a four-year term that will run from Jan. 1, 2015, to Dec. 31, 2019.

The organization also holds sway over issues such as marriages, the treatment of women and the preservation of cultural mores that have been part of Hmong life for generations.

"The Hmong have unique cultural practices such as: weddings, funerals, New Year celebrations, ceremonial rituals, etc., that require community support. That support ensures uniformity and improvement so the Hmong culture can be a part of the mainstream community and not separate from it. Hmong society normally consists of 18 clans, and this organization is mostly represented by the 18 clans of the Hmong here in Wisconsin," according to a council news release about the election. "Each clan is entitled to two representatives, one man and one woman elected by each of the 18 clans."

Mao Khang of Wausau, who works as an advocate of victims of domestic and sexual abuse at The Women's Community, is running as vice president with Blia Yao Lo. She said the president and other leaders of the Hmong 18 Council can "change the lives of Hmong people" because the clan system often becomes part of domestic disputes and how cultural marriages are arranged.

Voting in the election, Khang said, is a way that individual Hmong people can make their voice heard.

"We want to hear what the community wants," Khang said.

The Sheboygan Press contributed.

About the vote

Polling places in Hmong centers of population will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday [8 November]. In Wausau, the vote will be held at the Hmong American Center, 1109 Sixth St. In order to vote, a person must be Hmong (with at least one parent being Hmong), must 18 years old or older, must live in Wisconsin, and must have identification, including a drivers license, registration for school, utility bill, birth certificate, etc.