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MPR News

1992: "We are Hmong," a play for the generations

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Original broadcast date: Nov. 6, 1992

MPR News reporter Chris Roberts talks to the playwright and cast behind "We are Hmong," an original play collaboratively produced in St. Paul in 1992.

The play "explore(s) the generational and cultural tug-of-war that characterizes Hmong family life in America." It was conceived and co-written by playwright Jaime Meyer and a group of more than 30 young Hmong people, whose ages range from elementary school to early 20s.

"This is about losing control of the kids and not understanding why the kids are doing the things they are," said one of the young collaborators.

"We are Hmong" confronts issues that are somewhat taboo in Hmong households: work, relationships, gangs and more.

"The play's most important audience will be members of the Hmong community," Roberts reports.

Hmong in Minnesota

Four decades ago, the first Hmong refugees began arriving in Minnesota. At that time, the number of Hmong could be counted in the dozens.  

Now the Twin Cities metro area is home to 64,000 Hmong people, making it the largest urban population of Hmong in the country. This story is one of many, culled from the MPR News radio archives, as we look back at the history of the Hmong people, both in Southeast Asia and Minnesota.