Meet Stephanie Yang



Why did you join HIP?

Growing up in poor neighborhoods where violence is a norm and the quality of everything sucked, I knew at a young age that I wanted to do something to help make the community a better place. After graduating from UC Berkeley, I moved back home to Sacramento to ambitiously 'make a difference.' Unfortunately, being away for so long, I felt disconnected and had to search for a space to do so. HIP fell into my life at a really good time shortly after. Surrounded by a small group of like-minded individuals, I really felt like we were all on the same mission to improve on the economic inequality and social injustice that plagues our community. They say that anything is possible when you have a small group of people with a common purpose. Through HIP, I believe more than ever that it is truly possible here in Sacramento!

How has being a part of HIP impacted your life?

In a very short amount of time, HIP challenged me mentally, physically, and intellectually. I've had to #stepup, evaluate my own values and beliefs and do things outside of my comfort zone. Every single one of those hurdles made me a more well-rounded person. HIP has given me a second family <3 and that makes my life so much more abundant!

Why should someone join HIP?

If you're looking for a space to work with the community, to be challenged, meet new people, grow and develop, then HIP is for you!

What is your favorite moment from your time in HIP?

My favorite memory with HIP happened during our civic engagement work. Registering Hmong elders to vote and helping them with their ballots has been a very humbling experience for me. Many of these elders have said me, "Me txhais (daughter), my vote does not matter. I am stupid. I know nothing."

It feels magical and heartwarming when these elders mark their ballots for the first time in their lives after you’ve reassured them “that it takes courage and incredible wisdom to raise 12 children; that they know more than they give themselves credit for; and that their vote is just as important as the President’s.”

Registering the community to vote is not just about getting people to participate in the democratic process. To me, it is about validating my community's experience and their right to be in this country. There is something humanizing about this that no one can take away.

Where do you think the Hmong community will be in 5 years? in 20?

The seed of change doesn't grow over night. It takes years of watering and nurturing. In 5 to 20 years, I hope the Hmong community will have improved in socioeconomic status, higher education attainment, community engagement and more representation in positions of power and influence.

When I'm not hustling for HIP, you can find me...

taking long walks on the beach. :) or Kicking it with my family; or at slumber parties with my nieces; or handling my business; or working out/doing outdoorsy activities; or exploring new places with my friends.