Angry Reader of the Week: PaKou Her

All right, folks. You know what time it is. 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 PaKou Her.

Who are you?

I'm a second generation Asian American of Hmong descent; daughter of refugees; youngest child of 5; orphan; adoptee; spouse; mother; wayward singer; culinary snob/poser.

What are you?

Currently I'm Campaign Director at 18MillionRising. Been here since April 2013. Before that, I had an organizing stint at MoveOn.org. And prior to that, I spent nearly a decade and a half doing antiracism organizing, the bulk of which was with a group called Crossroads Antiracism Organizing & Training where I was director of the leadership development and training program.

Where are you?

Right now I'm rocking hard in Kansas City, MO. And by rocking hard, I mean sitting on the floor next to kid #2 while she watches some inane cartoon on television. (Seriously, who writes this crap?)

Where are you from?

I'm a Midwesterner through and through -- born in Wisconsin and raised largely in both Wisco and Minnesota. My parents were the first Hmong resettled in WI after the Secret War, forging a path for thousands more Hmong people in the 20 years after their arrival in 1975. I've had innumerable fantasies of moving to a place where more people look like me, but the truth is my Midwestern heart is bound to the middle of the country. And frankly, the movement needs People of Color repping in places like Missouri, Ohio, Iowa, and the Dakotas. So at this point my family and I are pretty much sticking to the I-35/Mississippi River corridor.

What do you do?

I organize. I fight for a world that is better, healthier, fairer, and more joyful for all who are in it. I struggle to help create equity and parity for marginalized people, especially People of Color living in a white-dominated country. I fill my days with 24-hour news, only occasionally reading stuff that doesn't have to do with politics and public policy. Whenever possible, I sneak away for adult-only evenings with my spouse; cheer loudly for my 5-year old daughter who races BMX bikes; listen to my 3-year old girl sing funny nonsensical songs; and get my ass to boot camp at my local YMCA.

What are you all about?

Working hard to make room for voices that are not otherwise heard or listened to in mainstream discourse. Elevating the realities and life experiences of AAPI folks -- culturally, socially, and politically. Helping People of Color disrupt white supremacy by challenging internalized oppression and changing our own behaviors. Getting real with myself about my own weaknesses and derailing self-stories -- which, by the way, is damn hard to do.

What makes you angry?

Shit talking. I mean, seriously -- who likes a shit talker anyways? Also: liberal racism; People of Color marginalizing one another; ill informed people who want to talk about politics, regardless of their platform; myths about the perpetual foreigner and model minority; colonialism, militarism, and blind nationalism; self-righteous people who take themselves way too seriously. And I also get really angry when I have to share the road with terrible drivers -- reckless, slow, or otherwise. (Thankfully, having children has curbed my usage of industrial language while driving. A little.)

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