SACRAMENTO, Calif. —
A new podcast based in Sacramento is exploring Hmong identity, life and culture. “Hmong•𝘪𝘴𝘩” launched in early July and is co-hosted by Pachia Lucy Vang, owner of Culture through Cloth, and Shoun Thao, director of HOPE (Hmong Organizing for Progress and Empowerment) Center in North Sacramento.
Friendship and a “shared love” for the Hmong community played a key role in making this podcast possible.
"We just ended up having these really great conversations about travel and culture and current issues that are impacting the community so we thought it would be a great idea (to start a podcast),” Vang said.
The podcast is produced by Hmong American Media, a platform for stories, news, and entertainment that reflect the Hmong American experience. It is sponsored by Culture through Cloth and HOPE Center.
The team includes co-hosts as well as executive producer, Doua Ge Yang, and videographer, Sky bee Vu. The four friends hope the podcast can elevate Hmong voices, stories and issues.
“We have this really vast history and culture,” Vang said. “When you start learning about this, then you start kind of questioning what it means to be Hmong, you think at some point, you figured it out but now there's more to be to be explored and to understand.”
Sacramento has become a hub for many Hmong people — it is the third largest Hmong population in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center’s analysis of the 2017-2019 American Community Survey.
However, the creators of the podcast have struggled with belonging in any one place.
“Growing up here in Sacramento, being Hmong, you just felt like such an outlier within different spaces outside of the Hmong community,” Vang said.
Yang believes this feeling stems in part from Hmong people not having a country to call their own.
“I think it took a while for the Hmong community to really integrate into society,” Thao said. “I think that coming from our background, we don’t have a country, we feel marginalized. Even within the API (Asian Pacific Islander) community, we feel marginalized.”
They want to help their community learn more about themselves as Hmong people and to feel empowered by their background.
The team says they plan to cover topics like culture, history, current issues and events that coincide with what it means to be Hmong-ish.
“We don't want to limit ourselves,” Vang said. “We just want to cover all things Hmong that relate back to how we're doing as a people, how it impacts us and how it connects us throughout the diaspora as well."
Although this podcast is created for the Hmong community, Thao believes their conversations will resonate with the larger Sacramento community.
“We wanted to tell a story from our perspective (which is) relatable to other communities as well because we did grow up in Sacramento...South Sacramento, Meadowview, Pocket, Detroit, (Strawberry) Manors, (and) Del Paso Heights,” Thao said.
They hope the podcast will have a lasting impact on the Hmong diaspora.
“As long as we have somewhere where we can preserve our culture and stories, I think that’s all that matters,” Yang said.
Hmong•𝘪𝘴𝘩 releases episodes every other week on Facebook, YouTube, Spotify and Apple. You can listen to the first episode HERE.