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Wisc: For Those of Us Who Garden With Hmong

  • Subject: [cg] Wisc: For Those of Us Who Garden With Hmong
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 19:55:43 EST


I though this might be useful for folks who garden with Hmong refugees and 
sometimes forget why they're here....

I shared this with some of my compadres in the Bronx who say this has been 

Adam Honigman
 Clinton Community Garden 

Monday, November 29, 2004 Variety

Under the strawhat... Reflections on life, art, community, gardening
By Jenny Elliott, Co-Manager, Menomonie Open Market

Well, it must be time to change my hat since the full moon this week is 
called "Full Cold Moon" by my ancestors. It is noticeably colder and dryer and 
definitely "fall" is becoming "winter." The bed has more covers piled high and 
fluffy for greater insulation during these nights of too-expensive heating costs 
and the house cats are slithering in under the layers.

It's time to bake a lot so your house is warmed by the oven while you are 
warmed by the exertion.
A little over a week ago, I joined many from the community who celebrated a 
"Thanks Giving" dinner with the Hmong who were welcoming the new families to 
life in America.

So many of us do not know why immigration to the U.S. was made necessary in 
the first place and why we are welcoming new families. When the United States 
became embroiled in the Viet Nam war, our government engaged the people in Laos 
to fight for us in areas that our soldiers could not enter. When our country 
dis-engaged and our soldiers came home, the Hmong warriors still living were 
attacked and driven from their homeland.

Because the original agreement between the U.S. and these fighters was 
supposedly "secret," our country could not come to the defense of people who had 
lost everything. The Hmong have "refugee" status because they cannot return to 
their homeland without great risk of death.

The transition into American culture is difficult when there is little shared 
language and many different social rules. Too often, Hmong people have been 
verbally abused by people who have little understanding of the hurt delivered 
by their words.

We all need to be very aware of how our words affect others. I hear 
youngsters saying things they can only have learned from their elders. Taunting in 
schools leads to actions that are costly and frightening. Even in the halls of 
government, un-civil comments are made.

My heart goes out to all people who have been the recipients of hurtful 
speech and to the families who are now entering our communities.

Words have creative power and our world is made more loving or more hurtful 
by the words we speak. My prayer this day is that all your words may be spoken 
with love and may all the words directed toward you be loving and kind.

Do your work well and be kind.

The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org

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