Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

Laos

Monica Velez

Vicki Cham stands at the front of a large multi-purpose room at Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries, or FIRM. Half a dozen students sit in two rows close to the whiteboard taking notes.

 

Cham, an instructor for citizenship classes, shuffles through her packet of 100 citizenship questions and then goes around the room calling on each person.  

 

"Why does the flag have fifty stars?" Cham asks. “What are the two major political parties in the United States?”

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Forty years ago the Hmong people began seeking refuge in the United States after the CIA recruited a guerrilla army of Hmong people to fight the North Vietnamese in Laos in what’s known as the Secret War. Before coming to the US they spent years in refugee camps in Thailand. Thousands of those refugees made it to America where their lives changed forever. FM89’s Ezra David Romero speaks with a Hmong family who made the journey and has no desire to return to their homeland.