A first generation Hmong-American, Touazeng is originally from Laos where he spent a majority of his childhood growing up in the jungle hiding from the Communists. After gaining a sponsorship from his sister and brother-in-law, he was able to bring his father, mother, younger brother, and his wife to the United States in 1987 as refugees. Currently a broker with a home-based business, he has been heavily involved with the Hmong community since his arrival in Minnesota such as being the Vice President of the Hmong 18 Council. Touazeng is a proud father of four children and grandfather to his newborn granddaughter.
“But high school is really . . . high school, go back to high school is really stereotype. It’s really, I feel it’s . . . I feel they really talk about you. Yeah, they really talk about you. Kids, they fight a few times. I did not fight yet, but many of my group, you know Asian, Vietnamese, Laotian, some of the other Asian people have a lot of fight with Caucasian and Black, like that. So it’s really . . . I do not want to use the word race, racist, like that, but during my time in high school and many of us immigrants don’t speak English well. They make fun, they make face, they talk about you, they call you names, call you chinks, call you all kind of things. They just think that all of us Asians are Chinese. So they call us chinks, they call us names, all kind of things, go back to your country, all kind of things. So it’s really hateful I will say, I don’t want to say racist or hateful, but you can feel like that”
“I was born in 1969. So I was about 6 years old at the time and I still remember that people is . . . like struggling, not sure where they want to go. People just like, moved back and forth, city to city and don’t know what to do. My dad and relatives did not want to flee the country, so we stay. But soon after, they took more and more power, the communist took more power in Laos, and they took some of the leaders away to educational camps. Like lecture them and torture them, like that. My family, my dad and relatives and many other families decided that we have to flee otherwise my dad or some other elders captured to educational camps and they will be tortured or killed. Then my family, my dad and with some other elders and family members took us and fled to the jungle and we hide in the jungle and fight against the communist at the time. And we stayed in the jungle for about 10 years, and I grew up in the jungle actually. So my childhood is pretty much growing up in the jungle, so I don’t really learn anything like education. I don’t have much experience, you know interact with . . . you know my childhood with some other child, or some other people, so I pretty much grew up in the jungle”
“We moved to Minnesota on August, 1987. The reason that we moved here, my sister and my brother in law sponsored us to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, but at that time I was 18 and I want to attend school. And I already 18 so I could not attend high school. So I want to study, I want to be a educated person. So I could not attend school. I attend only adult school. I don’t like it. And then I have family in Minnesota, most of my sisters are in Minnesota here. So I talk to my sister in Minnesota here and they say, “Well if you want to study, you want attend high school then you move to Minnesota here because they allow you to . . . Minnesota here they allow you to study until you are 21 for immigrants like us from other countries”. So I talk to my dad and my mom and then my sister and brother in law that I decide to move to Minnesota so I can get more education. They say, “Yeah, okay. If you want to further or to study English or study in school then you need to go to Minnesota. It’s okay, we’re fine.” Then that’s why I decided to — my family, we decided to move Minnesota on August, 1987 to attend school”