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home : community : community Monday, November 20, 2017

7/11/2016 3:23:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
National Delegate, Nelsie Yang

Amy Doeun

At 21 Nelsie Yang has not been old enough to vote for long. In fact at the last Presidential election she was not able to vote. However, she felt a calling to politics so that not only could her voice be heard, but also so she could give a voice to her Hmong people. Yang has been selected to be a national delegate to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia this July.

She told Hmong Times, "I didn't even know that such a thing as a delegate even existed. I learned about it through training at Hmong American Vanguard Power Alliance for Justice (HAVPAJ). This nonprofit that trained me on how to caucus, and what a caucus was. I had mentors that helped me. It was a very confusing process for people that are new to the process."

Yang sites this training as the key to her success. "I got picked at the state to be a national delegate. I was the only Hmong delegate for my area. There is another person in my district, Samakab Hussein." Hussein had recently run against Dai Thao when he ran for the city council. "We were both picked in the first round, walked the entire journey. I competed with about 30 other women that really wanted to go." Yang added that she is the youngest Hmong delegate ever.

When asked why she was interested in becoming a delegate she said, "Because the needs of Hmong people and their voices are ignored, that is always how it has been not just for Hmong, but the Asian community as a whole. Diversity talk includes African American and Latinos, and Asians are ignored. I knew if I didn't run I would have no representation. I met a lot of Hmong people who were really working so hard to change the image of Hmong people in politics so that we had a voice in politics. We have more elected officials now and I wanted to be a part of that."

And by being a national delegate she said, "I want to ensure that Hmong people have representation no matter where they are. This victory is very symbolic for all the veterans that fought in the secret war. I want it to be for the community."

She added that she hopes she is not the last Hmong delegate, "I want everyone to pay attention to what is happening in America. They have the ability to make a change. I want the Hmong to really strive to be delegates in the future. There is training. If I hadn't been trained I would not be where I am."

Issues that are important to Nelsie are, "A push for a stop to mass incarceration of minorities, $15 minimum wage, universal healthcare system and rights for the LGBT community."

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