Thursday, November 27, 2014


My Hmong brothers and sisters, I know
sometimes you feel powerless, don’t know what to do…
like you’re stuck in place with nowhere to go. Then
I want you to remember this word:

Our parents and grandparents were stuck
on the mountains of Laos, subsisting
on daily labors, backbreaking each day in the fields
only to feed the family for the night, day after day
month after month, year after year.

Then the U.S. and Thai governments saw us and said:
Look how strong, how enduring they are,
yet so ignorant of the world. We’ll use them as a sword
to fight our war, as a shield to deflect our enemy’s weapons,
as a wall to halt our enemy’s advance.
We’ll call this Operation Momentum.

So we were recruited, trained to fight and fly,
taught to read and write, and we have been gaining MOMENTUM ever since,
like a rock rolling down a mountain slope,
like a river surging toward the sea.

And here we are, from preliterate mountain tribes-people
to nurses & doctors, teachers & superintendents,
lawyers & legislators, builders & architects, actors & producers,
and yes...poets & writers
in the mere span of fifty year. Talk about

So when you feel stuck, remember
you are MOMENTUM,
you stand for a strong acronym:
M for Hmong
O for Onward
M for Movement
E for Energetic
N for Never (stop)
T for (till you get to the) Top
U for You
and the last
M for Move. you remember what each letter stands for?

Hmong Onward Movement. Energetic! Never (stop) (till you get to the) Top! You, Move!