Angry Reader of the Week: Veronica Thao

Hey, everybody. Here's what's up! It's time to meet the Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is Veronica Thao.

Who are you?

My name is Veronica Thao, but some people known me as Vero, V, Chia. I am first generation Hmong-American woman. I am also a 22 year old college student from University of Wisconsin-Madison, go badgers! I am a sister to my four brothers and one sister-in law, and my parent’s only daughter.

What are you?

I’m a passionate learner, an advocate for social justice, and an aspiring public health professional.

Where are you?

I’m currently in the northeastern region of Thailand participating in a public health program and finishing up my last semester abroad at Khon Kaen University in Khon Kaen, Thailand in December!

Where are you from?

I come from chilly Minnesnowta! Although I was born in Providence, Rhode Island I moved to Minnesota when I was 5. I grew up in Minnesota all my life, and did not leave until I decided to attend college in Madison, Wisconsin. Minnesota is my first home. The twin-cities community has played a significant role in shaping my interests in civic engagement and my passion for health issues specific to refugee populations and populations of color. I refer to Madison as my second home because I personally gained from the college experience, the engaging campus, and the politically active community. Both Minnesota and Wisconsin have provided me with the opportunities to pursue my interests.

What do you do?

As a student researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I am interested in health issues that primarily affect disadvantaged communities of color and refugee communities. I specifically do research on the Hmong-American community, regarding the cultural challenges associated with advance care planning discussions in the Hmong community. The purpose is to gather information about the challenges of having discussions around death and advance care planning, in order to better statewide initiatives and ensure that state-wide programs address issues specific to communities like the Hmong. In all, encouraging families to take part in advance care planning could prevent unwanted aggressive end of life care treatments that may conflict with a patient's religious or cultural beliefs. If all goes as well, I hope to expand my research while in Thailand and work with the Hmong community located in Chiang Mai.

What are you all about?

I’m all about facing challenges, getting out of my comfort zone, and taking on new opportunities. Who doesn’t want to try new things? I’ve been making an active effort to try new things during my time in Thailand: eating bugs, visiting cancer treatment temples, interviewing sex workers, learning how to speak Thai. Ziplining in Chiang Mai will be coming up in two weeks! This is my first time outside the United States, so I figured… might as well do some travelling throughout Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Let the adventures begin!

What makes you angry?

Injustice, racism, oppression, war, ignorance… the list goes on. Although, I’ve come to learn that being angry has worked out for me, it’s forces me to speak out and voice my opinion. As a kid, I never had the courage to stand up for myself. I was kind of quiet. It seems insignificant now, but it was all a part of a learning process. I learned how use community involvement and civic engagement as tools because my family always encouraged my brothers and I to participate in local campaigns. Although I hated door knocking and phone banking then, I now understand how much I gained from being involved in my community.More importantly, I learned how much change can come about if you speak up. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become less tolerant of racism, and make an active effort to engage in opportunities to break down privilege.

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