Hmong Innovating Politics Forms Fresno & Sacramento Organizing Network
To start 2018, Hmong Innovating Politics is thrilled and proud to announce that we are teaming up with local organizers to expand our civic empowerment and integrated voter engagement work to Fresno, California.
Led by Fresno resident Mai Thao, HIP will grow its efforts to empower disenfranchised communities and elevate voices in support of social and economic justice. Mai previously served as Political Community Organizer for SEIU Local 521 and played a critical role in several local campaigns. Her organizing and voter engagement experience will help residents in Fresno grow its political power and elevate issues impacting low-income communities to the forefront.
As Mai Thao describes, “being born and raised in Fresno, I didn’t think too much about the disparities my family faced. Growing up in neighborhoods with gang violence, relying on food stamps, eating vegetables grown in our own backyard and going to the swap meet to buy basic essentials were experiences a lot of people from Fresno can resonate with. It wasn’t until I left Fresno to go to undergrad did I realize how disenfranchised and disadvantaged families in our neighborhoods were. After graduating from Cal, I came back to Fresno fueled by the belief that in order to change the circumstances of our community, we needed to do everything we could to tear down the institutional and political barriers that reinforce (and benefit from) the existing disparities. In order for individuals and entire communities to reach their full potential, I knew we had to start building power.”
The challenges that communities in Fresno and Sacramento face are unique and localized to their specific neighborhoods. However, the ingredients necessary to build power and advance a progressive vision for ALL OF CALIFORNIA will always include grassroots organizing and increasing civic engagement. We are electrified to have Mai on board because we now have a chance to grow progressive political power in the two largest Hmong communities in California.
HIP Hires New Organizer in Sacramento
In addition to expanding our organizing efforts to Fresno, we are proud to announce the hiring of Mai Vang (no relation to Mai Yang Vang), our newest community organizer in the Sacramento office. Mai graduated from UC Berkeley (Go Bears!) and returned to her hometown of Stockton, CA. As the community organizer, Mai will help drive our ongoing direct voter contact and canvassing efforts in South Sacramento and begin to expand our youth engagement work in the greater Sacramento region. Mai’s dedication and passion for community organizing and empowering young people will help take HIP’s work in Sacramento to the next level.