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Author Topic: Hmong leader from Madison honored in D.C. for work against domestic violence  (Read 5262 times)

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Toumeng

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Photo by TRUE THAO
Kabzuag Vaj speaks at the Capitol during a rally in the spring. On Thursday, she will be recognized at the White House for her work against domestic violence.


SAMARA KALK DERBY | [email protected] | 608-252-6439
Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2011 5:00 am


A local Hmong leader is being recognized at the White House on Thursday in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Kabzuag (pronounced Kaj-u-wa) Vaj is co-founder and co-executive director of Freedom Inc., a Madison nonprofit organization that works with poor and low-income communities of color focusing on the root causes of violence against women and children.

"It's kind of surreal because we don't know too many people who get this type of award," said Vaj, 37, Wednesday by phone as she arrived in Washington, D.C.

Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, will join Lynn Rosenthal, White House adviser on domestic violence, in hosting 14 leaders who are dedicating their professional lives to ending domestic violence on a local level.
At the event, part of Obama's Champions of Change program, participants will share their personal stories and discuss lessons they've learned.

Vaj was born in Laos and arrived in Madison in 1981 as a refugee with her mother and siblings. None of them spoke English.

She started doing domestic violence work in the Hmong community in 2000 with the Milwaukee-based Hmong American Women's Association Inc., but she was located in Madison. When the organization lost state funding, she started her own group.

Freedom Inc. was incorporated in 2003, but it is not a typical domestic violence services organization, Vaj said.
In order to eliminate violence, an organization needs to go beyond providing services, she said.

"There should be a more holistic approach looking at different forms of oppression that contribute to violence against women and children," she said.

Freedom Inc. provides a niche where women of color can come for services and also build leadership abilities, Vaj said.
True Thao, youth program coordinator for Freedom Inc., who has worked with Vaj for 10 years, calls her a mentor and credits Vaj for helping her turn her life around.

"She's an incredible woman. Her vision, the work she does, her energy," Thao said.

Read more: http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/article_f1de5996-fabc-11e0-bcb9-001cc4c002e0.html#ixzz1bN41ZK3F



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supadupac

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in hmong women beater movies, they make those hmong guys really hit the girls or soemthing, it feels so real



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Offline Believe_N_Me

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While I commend women like Kazoua Vang, I just don't see how her approach really changes anything other than to give a place for battered women to escape temporarily. She used the term "holistic" but what sort of initiatives has Freedom Inc. taken to ensure that such battered women aren't raising sons who in turn grow up just to be as abusive and jilted as the fathers who abandoned them? Until these women's shelters (anti-Domestic Violence Centers) start to open a serious dialogue with men (perhaps by setting up a program for men who are good role models) to be involved, the cycle just repeats itself. I won't go into a long commentary about how and why boys become violent and abusive in this thread but just wanted to give something for people to think about.



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Offline Believe_N_Me

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She's doing something...ca n't save the world in one lifetime.

I won't divulge too much and I won't even name her specifically, however...

She is not the first nor the last of these Hmong types who head up a Hmong organization, lose its funding then try to champion the very same type of program in mainstream to keep themselves busy. I not only come across too many of them but know many of them personally. At some point you just gotta wonder if these people will ever get a real job or start a real business instead of masking their own inability to work 9-5 behind what I call non-profit pop-ups. Don't be fooled. They know where all the pockets of money are stored and they will dream up of a need for it. Like I said, I won't get too much into specifics but if you only knew.  8)



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