By Grace Ulch

MADISON (WKOW) — Members of Madison’s Hmong community came together to celebrate the Hmong New Year Saturday. Madison College hosted their first major Hmong event, as these cultural nights have typically been hosted and funded by the Asian American Student Association (AASA). 

“In the past, we’ve done a little bit of smaller, mainly for our friends and families and our students,” Masaya Xiong, community engagement coordinator, said. “And so, this is a wonderful opportunity for us to really reinvest. We are investing in our Hmong community.”

Xiong’s goal was to use the larger pool of resources hosting this event through the college and create an educational and interactive event for Madisonians who aren’t Hmong.

“We’re sharing the best features of our culture for the rest of the community,” Xiong said. “Bring out the color and bring out the music, bring out the food, the things that bring people together.”

In order to invest in the local Hmong community, Xiong invited local Hmong-owned businesses, Madison neighbors and alumni like Alina Vang.

“You have to come experience it yourself,” Vang said. “Talk to anybody. Hmong people, they love it when other races come and wear our traditional clothes. It’s just a way of appreciation.”

Vang was amazed at the difference of this year’s celebration from when she was in school and events like this were put on using funds from the AASA.

“This is so shocking to come back to Madison College,” Vang said. “There’s vendors everywhere, there’s so many people. Usually, we’re like really impressed with just like 100 people showing up.”

“We’re just reminding ourselves of who we are where we come from and where we are today,” Xiong said. 

Xiong says she’s determined to continue investing the Hmong community in Madison to keep the culture alive and thriving. Her goal is to create more diverse relationships in Madison to learn about other cultures and teach people about her own.

Read the original article at WKOW.

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