With COVID-19 disrupting my normal everyday life, the emergence of racism towards Asians along with the Black Lives uprising over the past couple of months, it has been a battle to find any positivity in the middle of all of this. Despite this, these times have also helped me foster much growth and learning about the power of collectivism and solidarity. It has taught me about the importance of organizing against the racism that threatens our communities, how we can show eachother human decency by taking precautions to protect each other, and how it is crucial to evaluate and challenge one’s own role in upholding racist institutions and ideologies. To embody the changes that have occurred in our social discourse and to inspire social change, I created this piece portraying the collective story of my people, the Hmong people, with the purpose of reminding us of the importance of sticking together in the face of adversity. I wanted to spark meaningful reflections in others about how we as a society can combat the pandemic and rampant racism by standing in solidarity with each other’s communities who are suffering from the effects of the virus and are also facing injustice at the hands of colonialism and White supremacy.
I chose to focus my piece on this theme because I wanted to convey how human beings no matter our differences in race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or gender can persevere through any hardship together. Just like how the Hmong people have overcome much adversity throughout the course of history, together we will overcome the pandemic and racism.
In my drawing, I bring to life the stories of the Hmong people and their journey of leaving their agrarian lifestyle to escape persecution and seek asylum in America, which they now call home.
From soldiers of the Secret War to refugees in America; politicians, Olympic gymnasts, and artists representing us; health care workers on the frontlines and activists supporting Black Lives, the Hmong people in America have come a long way. Only with perseverance, change, and creativity can we continue to reimagine and build a better world.