Hmong Americans meet with Siskiyou officials for first town hall

Siskiyou County – Hmong Americans and Siskiyou County officials met with other county residents at the first Hmong town hall.

The purpose was to educate residents about Hmong culture, and in turn, educate Hmong Americans about laws and ordinances.

“The purpose of the meeting is to disseminate information to Hmong american community and others present to learn more about the Hmong culture, language, history and introduce key county and state officials,” Sheriff Jon Lopey said.

Some residents expressed concern about marijuana being grown illegally. The hope is that through conversations like these, everyone will be on the same page.

“So, we’re hoping tonight, through our other speakers and that when you live here you follow by the rules and that’s what we’re hoping this get together will accomplish,” Siskiyou County resident, Susan Wallace said.

Peter Thao was able to share part of his culture, and explain to residents common Hmong customs. He hopes this town hall brings understanding to the residents and the Hmong people alike.

“I have to be educated to serve a culture and a religion, so once I know this culture and this religion, a lot of things where it may not make sense to me it does make sense to that particular culture. So, it’s just a matter of teaching and educating one another,” Hmong community activist, Peter Thao said.

The sheriff agrees. He says he wants the Hmongs to feel welcome and heard, and that’s why the agency is even working to bring a Hmong American to the police force.

“He’ll be fully qualified to be a peace officer and our goal is to do just that. He’s also fluent in the Hmong language, and we’re hoping to bring him on board to help with community relations,” Sheriff Lopey said.

The sheriff is hoping to have at least one town hall every few months.

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