Pang Yang

Pang Yang, born “by a waterfall” on escape route to Thailand, currently living in Elk Grove, California.

Video Timeline

Note: To listen to a specific clip, move the slider on the video to the designated clip time listed below.

00:00 – Introduction

00:44 – Clip 1
Pang explains she was “born by a waterfall” as her parents were escaping from Laos to Thailand.

01:40 – Clip 2
Recalls earliest immigration memory: a housing project in Rock Island, Illinois.

02:08 – Clip 3
Tells of her uncle arriving in U.S. first. Uncle came with General Vang Pao. Uncle arranged for her parents to immigrate from Thailand. Lutheran Church sponsored her family.

02:55 – Clip 4
Recounts brief time living in housing project, playing with other children even though she had no understanding of English.

03:42 – Clip 5
Describes preschool experiences, including falling asleep on bus on the way home, missing her stop, and her mother unable to question bus driver or call school, due to language barrier.

06:24 – Clip 6
Recalls her family moving to Long Beach, California, with her uncle. They lived there only about a year and then moved to Clovis, California, near Fresno – and large Hmong population.

07:01 – Clip 7
Shares memory of apartment life, where her parents could connect with other Hmong families.

08:23 – Clip 8
Discusses the language barrier between her father and the schools which led to her needing to act as the translator. Father understood the need for his children to get an education because life was different here. Women needed to be independent.

10:27 – Clip 9
Father allowed children to straddle cultures and religions (Christian/Shamanism) – always encouraging education.

13:04 – Clip 10
Family moves from Clovis to Visalia, California, to open a Hmong grocery store. This is Pang’s first experience meeting Mien families.

14:55 – Clip 11
Recalls her school experiences, including her favorite 5th grade teacher and being pulled out of class and as a 6th grader being used to help a 2nd grader.

17:33 – Clip 12
Discusses the idea of “American Culture” mixing with traditional Hmong Culture.

18:54 – Clip 13
Reflects on her family’s educational paths.

20:09 – Clip 14
Shares her memories of her own college experiences and entering into bilingual education. She discusses how she transitioned from entering the field of businesses to entering the field of education and how she prepared her kids to code switch between school and home.

25:59 – Clip 15
Discusses how teachers should approach working with EL students based on her own experiences.

27:31 – Clip 16
Reflects on how she addresses the secret war with her kids.

28:50 – Clip 17
Shares why she thinks it is important to teach about the Secret War in Laos and what life is like for the Hmong still living in Laos.

29:41 – Clip 18
Explains why her mother married her father after her 1st husband died. In their culture, the mother would remarry a younger male sibling to keep the kids within the family circle. Pang also describes her half sister’s experiences in Laos and the politics involved in immigration to the U.S. versus being a refugee.

33:35 – Clip 19
Recalls her mother’s experiences growing up in Laos and marrying as a teenager.  She also reflects on how her mom feels about her half sister being separated from the family.

35:55 – Clip 20
Discusses the Fresno Hmong community, and how her own children are losing part of their culture/history.

37:12 – Clip 21
Shares some of the stories her parents told her about fleeing from the communist troops, including the use of opium to keep babies quiet and why she won’t share some those stories with her children.

40:19 – Clip 22
Explains how her children view their family as American, and don’t realize the hardships her family faced.

42:17 – Clip 23
Reflects on her dad learning English and adjusting to American society.

42:56 – Clip 24
Recalls visiting her parents on family vacations, and how her parents are doing in present day.

43:57 – Clip 25
Discusses the differences in gender identity within the Hmong culture and discusses the restrictions she would have if she were to move back in with her parents.

47:00 – Clip 26
Explains what it was like for family members who married young and her opinion on the topic.

49:45 – Clip 27
Shares how she feels about going back to Laos and why she wouldn’t feel safe.

50:53 – Credits

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