Newsmakers: Bush Fellow Pang Yang Believes in ‘Beautiful Change’
Pang Yang developed the Hmong Language for Native Speakers class at Park Center High School five years ago. Since then, she’s become a driving force behind several community projects and organizations. In 2022, she was named a Bush Fellow.
“I think through the Bush fellowship, I’m going to learn a lot about myself, my own identity, language, leadership, and skill,” said Yang. “Together, we can help shape beautiful change naturally.”
As a Bush fellow, Yang plans to travel back to her home country to get to know her roots.
“I came to the U.S. when I was three years old, crossing the Mekong River and nearly drowning with my mom. Fortunately, we were very lucky to survive,” said Yang. “I’ve had seven children in the last 25 years and I’ve not had the time nor the money to go back to visit my homeland and to really get to know who I am. So I feel like part of my identity is missing because I talk about Laos and Thailand, but I don’t know what it is because I haven’t actually been there.”
Yang isn’t afraid of challenges.
“I’ve had a lot of obstacles along the way with Hmong language programming. Through those obstacles, it really helped me to see that these are opportunities that really help me see an impact,” said Yang.
Yang helped found Minnesota Zej Zog, a community organization and coalition of Hmong language educators in Minnesota.
Other local Bush Fellows are Comfort Dondo from Plymouth, who wants to use her story to break the stigma and silence around childhood trauma and childhood sexual abuse in African immigrant communities, and Brooklyn Center mayor Mike Elliott, who wants his city’s transformative approach to public safety to serve as a model for systemic change. Learn more here.