Dr. Vang PobZeb
Dr. Vang Pobzeb was a Hmong American dedicated to Hmong rights and recognitions. He was born in Laos on July 12, 1957 and died of a heart attack in Saint Paul, Minnesota on August 23, 2005. He received his Ph.D at the University of Denver. He was recognized post-humously on September 22, 2005 by the Wisconsin Senate for his work in bridging the Hmong community.
Vang Pobzeb was responsible for the United Nations’s recognition of Hmong as the proper term for the Hmong people. Additionally, he testified on numerous occasions on the Hmong genocide in Laos. Vang Pobzeb also published numerous papers related to contemporary Hmong issues. His work was among the earliest Hmong scholarly publishings in the United States.
Vang Pobzeb founded the Hmong American United Students Association in Eau Claire, Wisconsin in April 1981. In September 1986, he was appointed to form and chair the Hmong Council Education Committee.
2005 SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 37
September 22, 2005 − Introduced by Senators BROWN and ZIEN, cosponsored by Representatives KREIBICH, MOULTON, WOOD and MUSSER. Referred to Committee on Senate Organization.
Relating to: recognizing and celebrating the life of Dr. Vang Pobzeb. Whereas, Dr. Vang Pobzeb was born in Laos on July 12, 1957, and died in St.Paul, Minnesota on August 23, 2005, of a heart attack at the age of 48; and
Whereas, Dr. Pobzeb lived a life of sacrifice, working tireless hours to help immigrants in Wisconsin to retain benefits and pursue a better life; and Whereas, Dr. Pobzeb was characterized by friends as compassionate and selfless, often working 16 hour days to respond to every call and letter requestinghelp; and Whereas, Dr. Pobzeb was among the first in the Hmong community to achieve academic excellence in the United States by earning his Ph.D. from the University of Denver in Political Science; and
Whereas, working with public and private groups, Dr. Pobzeb advanced the cause of human rights and stood up for those who did not have the means or opportunity to defend themselves; and
Whereas, in addition to issues surrounding the Hmong community, Dr. Pobzeb was often called upon by other various human rights organizations to advocate on their behalf; and
Whereas, Dr. Pobzeb established the Lao Human Rights Council, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in 1987, to promote human rights of Lao and Hmong people; and
Whereas, Dr. Pobzeb worked as Director for the Lao Human Rights Council, serving to educate and inform members of the U.S. government, United Nations, state governments, and international human rights organizations to oppose forced repatriation of Laos refugees and globally advocate for the protection of political prisoners in Thailand and Laos; and
Whereas, through the Lao Human Rights Council, Dr. Pobzeb cooperated and worked with other international human rights organizations to promote civil rights, peace, and freedom for Lao and Hmong people; and
Whereas, Dr. Pobzeb believed in democracy and freedom for all people, which is why the acts of genocide and chemical and biological warfare going on inside Laos inspired him to lead the Hmong community and urge political leaders to give aid to political refugees and demand responsibility for the murdering of innocent civilians in Communist Laos; and
Whereas, often serving as the voice of the Hmong people in the United Nations, Dr. Pobzeb attended several international conferences, including the 23rd Session in Geneva, Switzerland in 2005; and
Whereas, one of his greatest accomplishments was when, in 1994, he officially registered the name “Hmong” into the book of the United Nations, whereas prior to that Hmong were officially known as “Mao”; and
Whereas, through his work, Dr. Pobzeb had several correspondences with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, federal representatives and senators, ambassadors, state and local representatives, as well as several other highly influential political leaders, to advocate on behalf of the Hmong people; and
Whereas, Dr. Pobzeb often said his purpose was to “promote and defend the human rights of Lao and Hmong people in Laos and the Lao and Hmong refugees in Southeast Asia and around the world,” and he achieved this purpose, positively affecting thousands across the globe; and
Whereas, he was a leader to a group that had little representation in the United States, and helped put a local, state, national, and international spotlight on an issue that was not receiving the attention it deserved; and
Whereas, Dr. Pobzeb was more than a political leader to the people who knew him, to the countless individuals and families he helped, and to the overall cause of bringing peace and freedom to Lao and Hmong people, he was a hero; and
Whereas, his life was cut short, but he lived his 48 years to the fullest, making a tremendous impact on Hmong rights, spending his time educating anyone who would listen on the horrifying circumstances in Laos and his determination to stand up for freedom; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the senate, the assembly concurring, That the members of the Wisconsin legislature honor Dr. Vang Pobzeb for his dedication to the Hmong community and his dream of peace and freedom for all people; and, be it further
Resolved, That the senate chief clerk shall provide copies of this joint resolution to his wife, Nou Moua.