Who I Am
by Shoua Xiong from Lincoln High School
Published in the 2007-2008 WITS Anthology I Once Was Young and Strong (Available for purchase)
Who am I? I’ll try my best to tell you
I am young and intelligent.
I have my own talents and my own language.
I am different. No two people are the same. I am unique:
We come from the tall mountains of Thailand and Laos.
“Kuv yog Hmoob.” I am Hmong (Mong).
Commanded by General Vang Pao, we fought as a secret army.
Side by side we fought bravely with the Americans
against the Vietnamese Communists.
We were promised
that if the Americans won, the Hmong would win with them. If the Americans lost,
they would be responsible for the Hmong tribes. The contract was that the Hmong
would be able to rebuild their country or immigrate to the U.S. after the war and
they’d live peacefully.
Many of us died, risking our lives for the Americans.
Risking our lives to fight beside the Americans.
Suddenly, they abandoned, ignored, betrayed us.
Leaving us back to square one
Torched by the Vietnamese Communist.
The fears and tears in our eyes.
Hiding in the jungle. Waiting for help.
Thirty years later, finally, we arrived in the United States.
Not knowing a word of English, we suffered from exclusion.
Sacrificing our culture to adapt in.
I am different.
No two people are the same. I am unique:
I am HMONG.
Incite: Queer Writers Read
September 6, 2017
A new curated reading series for Queer writers hosted by Kate Carroll…
Francis Ford Coppola in conversation with Melena Ryzik of The New York Times
October 2, 2017
Tickets start at $15, available at Portland5.com. Francis Ford Coppola is an…
2017/2018 Portland Arts & Lectures
October 12, 2017
The 33rd season of Portland Arts & Lectures features some of the…
Bookmark: A Benefit for Literary Arts
October 25, 2017
Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for our cocktail hour with dinner…
Joe Biden: American Promise Tour
November 30, 2017
Literary Arts will host Joe Biden on Thursday, November 30 in celebration…
The Moth Mainstage
December 11, 2017
The Moth returns to Portland on Monday, December 11. This extraordinary performance…