The Hmong mother of another victim of alleged police brutality has voiced her support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
On July 22, 2006, 19-year-old Fong Lee was shot
and killed by Officer Jason Andersen of the Minneapolis police, MPR News
Based on the police version of the story, Andersen and his partner chased Fong Lee on foot after they saw someone hand him a gun. Andersen said he fired at Lee after he raised his arm as if to shoot. According to Lee’s family, the Baikal pistol found next to him was planted by police.
An all-White jury would later exonerate Andersen, ruling that he did not use excessive force when he fired eight bullets through Lee’s body that night.
Andersen was even awarded the Medal of Valor, the department’s second-highest honor, for his “heroic actions to bravely engage the suspect with little regard for his own safety.”
Fong Lee’s mother, Youa Vang Lee, is reminded of her son’s fate in the recent killing of George Floyd.
Floyd died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for over eight minutes during an arrest.
Youa Vang Lee, who still bears the pain of losing her son at the hands of law enforcement, gave an emotional speech in Hmong, encouraging the Hmong community to stand with the Black community on the case of George Floyd.
Here’s the speech in full as translated by Twitter user @angvaj in a series of tweets so Mrs. Lee’s message may reach more people:
“In this lifetime, there’s nothing that could hurt more. He is in my heart everyday. I am Fong Lee’s mom and I want to say this to us Hmong people.
I have heard many say, ‘black people are bad to us, why must we stand with them?’ Let’s not think this way. The good are good and the bad are bad. Even those who are bad are young and just haven’t learned to think of others.
We’re very few, but when we come together we are many. We show up for them when they need us and they show up for us when we need them. Here’s what I saw with Fong: black people were with us the whole time, morning or night.
Whenever we needed something, they were there, even up until 1 in the morning. We, as Hmong people, must join hands. There aren’t many of us. This has brought us so much pain, nothing can compare to it.
So let’s join hands with them. Not to mention our children, we don’t want to see this happen to them. We don’t want any one of us to ever meet that same fate.”
Floyd’s death on May 25 has sparked local protests in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area of Minnesota, which later spread across the country and some parts of the world.
From the beginning of the protests to the morning of June 2, over 5,600 people had been arrested in the U.S., according to the Associated Press