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home : community : community Wednesday, May 22, 2019

7/7/2017 3:44:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
Women In Politics - Dr. Pa Der Vang

By Amy Doeun

Dr. Pa Der Vang
Across the country everyday people are getting involved in politics. The importance of voting and having our voices heard has been highlighted on the local and national level. Hmong people have a long history of being involved in local politics, women often lead the way as they organize and work to support candidates that speak to their needs.

As we prepare for another election cycle, the momentum to support candidates who speak for the people is growing.

Dr. Pa Der Vang is one woman who is taking up the torch this election cycle to get the word out and vote. Vang told Hmong Times, "I believe that we must empower all communities to participate in the political process. One way to keep people powerless is to prevent them from holding office so that they never get to participate in making decisions that affect their community."

Vang is an associate professor of social work at St. Catherine University and the University of St. Thomas. Her teaches upcoming social workers to help identify needs in the community and help those in need access resources.

Much of her support and political activism currently is on behalf of mayoral candidate Dai Thao. Vang said, "I support Dai Thao because I am invested in empowering all communities. Dai Thao has shown a record of working for the people, especially those who have been historically oppressed." She cited his work on the police review board, and work for establishing family leave for employees of St. Paul as signs of his work for the community. For those unable to afford to have larger items properly disposed of Thao arranged garbage drop off days.

"These types of activities benefit women and their families, the economically oppressed, and those who have traditionally experienced inequality within the legal system. I am invested in social justice which to me is the idea that all people within a society have equal access to all resources available to all members within that society regardless of who they are."

Sadly this type of social justice is often not the reality. "We have seen examples of members of society who have been excluded from accessing resources simply because of who they are. For example, gays were prevented from participating in marriage, women were prevented from voting or owning property. Hate crimes target people because of their race and the list goes on."

There has been an increase in hate crimes and work to hinder social justice the past several years. All the more reason to get involved now Vang believes.

St. Paul, MN



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