Herstory

Herstory

The Hmong American Women’s Association (HAWA), Inc. is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1993 by a group of thirteen community women who had a strong passion to advocate, organize and share concerns reflected by women in the larger Hmong community.

Since receiving its official 501(c) 3 status in 1996, HAWA has been the premier advocacy and support entity for Hmong women and their families in Milwaukee. Advocacy and support have included social services support, health education, literacy development, Hmong cultural enrichment programs, tutoring and mentorship for youth, as well as convening safe spaces for Hmong women and girls to build sisterhood.

Since the early 2000s, HAWA expanded their services to include domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy and support services to thousands of Hmong women and their families in Milwaukee, making HAWA among the very few Hmong women-led organizations in the country that dedicates all of their resources to ending gender-based violence within the Hmong community.

In addition, HAWA along with other WI Hmong women gender justice advocates have worked diligently to create gender-based violence terminology specific to the Hmong community. The outcome of the collaborative work has created terminology and collective analysis that have been used national and internationally to appropriately serve Hmong survivors of gender-based violence and implement community education around the issues.

HAWA continues to inspire and foster Hmong women leaders that have made enormous contributions to the Hmong community not only in Milwaukee, but in WI, across the country and around the world.

Early 1990s
How We Started

Hmong women and other community women organize for a space for Hmong women to build leadership and community

1996
Making It Official
HAWA is formed as an official non-profit

Paj Ntaub Circle is the first program provided
1997
Growth

HAWA incorporates leadership, development, and cultural enrichment programs for Hmong women and girls

Mid 2000s
Domestic Violence Services

HAWA includes culturally-specific services for Hmong survivors of domestic violence

2012
Sexual Assault Services

HAWA becomes the FIRST Hmong, culturally-specific program to receive sexual assault grant in the state of WI

2017
LGBTQ

HAWA becomes the FIRST culturally-specific program in Milwaukee to provide support services for Southeast Asian Queer and Trans folks

2018
Civic Engagement & Community

HAWA began civic engagement and community organizing work

2020
Welcoming Leana

HAWA welcomes first openly Hmong Queer-fem director to lead HAWA’s outreach initiatives, Leana Yang

2021
New Permanent Building

HAWA purchases a permanent building to continue its advocacy and organizing work

HMONG AMERICAN WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION, INC.

The Hmong American Women’s Association (HAWA), Inc. is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1993 by a group of thirteen community women who had a strong passion to advocate, organize and share concerns reflected by women in the larger Hmong community.

24‑Hour Hmong Family Strengthening Helpline: 1‑877‑740‑4292

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