“To be Hmong means that you speak the language, observe the customs and roles, live in patrilineal groups, and identify yourself as Hmong,” claims Lue Vang from the book Hmong and American by Mary Louise Buley-Meissner. Cultural retention is the key to the continued existence of the Hmong identity, the knowledge of self, family, and community.
This project is about Hmong Americans who are trying to rebuild their lives in Washington Park Milwaukee. This project is a continuing research that uses digital technology to provide short documentaries of the life stories of the Hmong residents of Washington Park Neighborhood in the City of Milwaukee. The project starts to render the complex and diverse voices of the Hmong alongside poetry and spoken word examples of the Hmong experience. Through the stories and written pieces, the research begins to paint a mural of what being a Hmong American is.
The research aims to bring out the cultural landscapes of the Hmong, acting as a connective thread to tie the Hmong journey in Washington Park and weave these stories into the fabrics of America, illustrating the life, citizenship, and richness in diversity in the inner city. The results of this research will influence and inform city policies, neighborhood narratives and architectural and planning processes.