My Inspiration: You can take on the world

My dearest daughter,

I love our talks even though you’re only 7 years old. As we laid in bed, we talked about your friends. I asked if you told your best friends at school about your Hmong name, Nouchi. You told me you did once and the kid laughed at you so you don’t anymore.

You didn’t know this, but my heart broke. I realized in that moment how much I had taken for granted what we had Minnesota before we moved to Boston – a big Hmong community.

So I said to you, “be proud that you’re Hmong because you’re unique – a diamond in the rough. Many before you have fought for us. So if they laugh at you, say ‘It’s okay. My Hmong name means ‘Sunshine’ and I shine bright like a diamond.’” You smiled up at me and nodded.

I walked away knowing that words alone will not be enough for you to know how many Hmong lives made today possible for us; how many fearless Hmong women have fought for us to be here. So I decided that it’s only through my actions that I can teach and guide you.  

In that moment, Hmong Women Take on the World was born. My greatest hope for you, and every daughter, is that you’ll grow to appreciate who you are. Through the stories of other Hmong women and girls, I hope you‘ll find it within you to be proud and celebrate who you are. Yes, you can trust the power of your own voice to take on the world.

Love always & forever,

Elizabeth Yang