Both lost family members at the fingers of Minneapolis law enforcement: Vang in 06\ when an official fatally shot the girl 19-year-old son, Fong Lee; the Floyds, just last 7 days when a white officer used his knee to pin number George Floyd down for almost 9 minutes after taking him into guardianship.
That shared tremendous grief has pushed Vang, a refugee from Laos who immigrated to America in 1988, to endure in solidarity with the black community to guard proper rights for Floyd — and encourage Oriental Americans, who’ve been split in support of movements like Dark Lives Matter, to the actual same.
“I want the family to know that I’ll grieve with them, I empathize with them, and I’m sending them love, ” Vang, 60, said in her native Hmong language, as the lady sobbed while talking through an interpreter.
Youa Vang’ son Fong Lee was murdered by Minneapolis law enforcement in 2006. Politeness Lee Family
Regarding Vang, video of a handcuffed Floyd lying on a lawn, asking for air and for his mother as the officer remained on Floyd’s neck, summoned a raft of memories of her own son’s death almost 14 years ago.
During a foot chase, Lee was shot eight times by Minneapolis Officer Jason Andersen, who claimed Lee was armed and had motioned to shoot him, The Pioneer Press reported.
Police said a gun was found next to Lee’s body, but his family questioned whether cops had planted it, saying they believed the teen was unarmed, according to MPR News.
Andersen, who was later fired by the Minneapolis Police Department, was exonerated in 2009 by a jury in a federal wrongful death lawsuit brought by Lee’s family. Lee’s mother and her supporters were angered by the decision.
“She came to this country escaping a war-torn country, ” said Tou Ger Xiong, a community activist who advocated for Lee’s family and who translated for Vang during her interview with NBC Asian America.
“She came with the hopes of residing in a democracy where people are treated equally under the law. And to come here and also to have that kind of injustice is simply devastating. ”
Xiong recalled other minority groups — among them blacks and Latinos — marching together with Hmong Americans to demand justice for Lee in 2006.
“They were some of our loudest supporters and they fought the hardest for us, ” Xiong said. “Now it is our turn to step up and be a voice for their community because their community is intertwined with ours. ”