Hmong American journalist Chenue Her is celebrating AAPI Heritage Month by dedicating his and his four siblings’ accomplishments to their immigrant parents.
Chenue Her, who became the first Hmong male newscaster in the U.S. when he joined “Good Morning Iowa” in Des Moines, Iowa, honored his mom Yia and his dad Seng in a Twitter thread following his younger sister’s graduation from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
“They came to America as refugees from a war-torn country, surviving a genocide,” he said of his parents. “They had 5 kids and more than anything, wanted to give their kids something they wish they had: an education.”
Her’s parents immigrated to the U.S. after living in Thailand refugee camps in the early 1980s. He tells NextShark that he grew up in a strict household where education was a high priority, so he felt relieved that he could run to his siblings and vent.
“Now that we’re all adults, it’s nice to have them understand me and share the same values,” Her says of his mom and dad. “They’re my best friends and I do everything with them. My parents taught us two things, if nothing else: love each other and work hard.”
Yia and Seng did not get a chance to pursue higher education, but Her recalls his parents working hard for decades to open doors for him and his siblings.
“They wanted to help set us up to be ready to face anything and that meant with the education and the mentality that we were good enough and we were qualified regardless of our race and ethnicity,” Her say. “When my youngest sister finally graduated, my parents were emotional. I think they were relieved because their life dream was accomplished but also because they knew we’d be OK.”
The journalist remembers his parents sacrificing a lot and working day and night, sometimes on weekends, just to be able to send their children to school. During his years at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul, Her’s parents chose to pay for his college over their mortgage.
“For years, they did what they had to to make sure we never worried and just kept going to school,” he says. “I don’t have kids so I don’t know what it’s like to love your own children to that extent but if I did, I’d imagine it’s what my parents showed.”