Vietnam War

Courtesy of Steve Thao

A documentary produced in Burma in the late 1990s shows two young Hmong women in traditional dress dancing. They’re encircled by other villagers and everyone is singing a goodbye song to filmmaker Su Thao.

“He went to Burma to find, kind of like the lost Hmong people there. He did a documentary. The whole town came out to welcome him. He had a conversation with the village elders,” says Steve Thao, Su Thao's oldest son. Su died of COVID-19 last month and his funeral is this weekend in Fresno.

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?”