Txongpao Lee, Executive Director of Hmong Cultural Center In St. Paul Is A 2022 Facing Race Award Recipient From The Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundation

By Mark Pfeifer



Txongpao Lee has been the executive director of the Hmong Cultural Center on University Avenue in St. Paul for 20 years. In that time, 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.

An advocate and teacher for immigrant and refugee clients, since the mid-1990s, Txongpao has also helped thousands of Hmong and other immigrants and refugees earn their U.S. Citizenship. In 2021, the Cultural Center’s storefront museum was vandalized with racist White Supremacist graffiti, an incident receiving broad media coverage. As a result of Txongpao’s courageous leadership, the Twin Cities community responded to this disturbing vandalism incident with more than $30,000 in museum support.

In addition to Txongpao Lee, other 2022 recipients of the foundation’s Facing Race Awards include Classie Dudley, the president of the Duluth NAACP and executive director of Community Action Duluth; Angela Hooks, founder and executive director of Black on Black Development and Entertainment, Inc., a St. Paul-based nonprofit and Lulete Mola, co-founder and president of the MN Black Collective Foundation, formerly the Philanthropic Collective to Combat Anti-Blackness and Realize Racial Justice.

The recipients of the award, now in its 16th year, will receive $7,500 grants from the Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundation to support any nonprofit of their choice and be honored on an awards program broadcast at 7:00 p.m. October 23 on TPT, Twin Cities PBS.

Txongpao has designated his $7,500 award go to support the Hmong Cultural Center storefront museum in St. Paul. To learn more about the Hmong Cultural Center visit www.hmongcc.org.

Images courtesy of the Hmong Cultural Center

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