Update on the Hmong Community in the Twin Cities and Beyond

Hybrid Service (In person and on Zoom)

Presenter: Txongpao Lee

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the metro area of the Twin Cities, had the largest Hmong population in the country with 40,707 people. Some arrived as refugees at the end of the American- sponsored war in Vietnam, others as family members of those already settled in this country. A growing percentage is American born. Many  have succeeded in business, the professions and politics, yet serious challenges to achieving the American dream continue to face many of them. Those challenges, and strategies to deal with them will be explored in this presentation. We will learn about the role that the Hmong Cultural Center plays in the Hmong community, and share ideas on how individuals and organized groups can help in successfully meeting those challenges. 

It took nine years for Txongpao Lee to make his way from Laos to Minnesota.  Since then he has been the executive director of the Hmong Cultural Center in St. Paul for 20 years. He has led the center’s Hmong 101 program in which he has shared with thousands of Minnesotans the culture, history and contributions Hmong Americans make to the United States. Txongpao also serves as a cultural resource for social workers, teachers, lawyers, criminal justice officials and health care professionals who are working with Hmong clients. Since the mid 1990’s Txongpao Lee has helped the Hmong and other immigrants earn their US citizenship.  In 2021 when the cultural center’s store front museum was vandalized with racist graffiti the Twin Cities community responded with more than $30,000 in museum support as a result of Txongpao Lee’s courageous leadership.