Hmask Up – Savanna Thao

This piece is called, “Hmask Up,” and with this piece, I wanted to touch upon the fact that many Hmong New Year events everywhere have been canceled (or made virtual) throughout the pandemic as a safety precaution to protect our communities and to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus. For many families, small businesses, and community members, Hmong New Year is often THAT annual event to look forward to, with dressing up in traditional Hmong clothing, taking memorable photos, eating delicious (and nostalgic) food, witnessing skilled entertainment and sports, and so on. But most importantly, it can also be a helpful time and opportunity for many Hmong folks to finally pause, reflect, and feel even more proud and closer to their people, culture, heritage, and identity—something that the “everyday, bustling American life” sometimes can’t provide. So as this pandemic goes on, we must keep moving forward, doing what is best for not only the Hmong community but for all of us. By continuing to take care of ourselves and each other—[H]masking up, social distancing, getting vaccinated, etc.—I hope we can one day find ourselves in a safe enough environment to celebrate and attend Hmong New Year in person once again.