NGEC just wrapped up our final 2009 peer learning call with the OFP cohort and our special guest speaker, Kabzuag Vaj of Freedom Incorporated. The OFP participants asked great questions and heard engaging examples of Freedom Inc’s work around what cultural change means for them and what kinds of decisions and strategies have shaped who they are as a social justice organization.
About Freedom Inc : Freedom, Inc.’s mission is to inspire and educate individuals through leadership development and community organizing that will bring about social, political, cultural, and economic change to low-income communities. Their projects include advocacy & services for victims of domestic violence, as well as weekly youth groups where girls and boys learn about & discuss leadership, healthy relationships, academic & community issues, and anti-oppression principles & tactics.
Freedom Inc was founded in 2000 by a group of young Southeast Asian girls in Wisconsin who came together to talk about community issues. As stories were shared, they realized that many forms of oppression were taking place within and amongst their community, which consists of low-income Hmong and other Southeast Asians. They reflected on the violence within many of their own families, & realized that those incidences related to larger systemic issues of poverty, racial profiling, immigration, & other forms of violence that continually impact their community.
Freedom Inc: http://www.myspace.com/freedomincorporated
Kabzuag Vaj is a long-time advocate for Hmong women, girls, and families. She is a co-founder and current Executive Director of Freedom Inc. As part of her position, she also works on program development and advocacy for families experiencing domestic violence. Formerly, she worked at the Hmong American Women Association. More recently, she has been part of a team of Hmong women activist/advocates working to address root causes of abusive international marriages. Kabzuag has participated in several groups including INCITE! Radical Women of Color Working to End Violence, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Advisory Board of Creative Intervention-San Francisco and the Madison Equal Opportunity Commission. She earned a B.A. in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Kabzuag has studied and lived in Thailand. A Hmong refugee, she and her family have been active community members in Madison for more than 25 years.