May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month – and we’re celebrating Asian voices in Milwaukee. One of those is Nyob Zoo TV, a news outlet dedicated to keeping the Hmong community informed.
General Manager Dawn Yang says the outlet was founded in 2017 after census data showed Wisconsin, and Milwaukee County in particular, had a huge Hmong population.
“Nyob Zoo Milwaukee TV brings impactful, successful positive stories to empower and inspire our community,” Yang says.
Yan says one of the things her team is most proud of is the release of the film "Save Me." Its inclusion in the Minority Health Film Festival in 2019 raised awareness of mental health, depression and suicide.
“Majority of the time in our community, there is no safe space to have that type of conversation,” Yang says.
Aside from inspiring and empowering, Yang says Nyob Zoo tries to keep its audience informed in a timely manner. When the pandemic started, Nyob Zoo partnered with other community agencies to produce informative videos.
“To send out important information about COVID-19 and what safety precautions everyone can practice or share to help during the pandemic,” Yang says.
When vaccines became readily available, Yang says the team created more videos in the Hmong language.
“To also help dispel myths and misinformation, so that we’re really proud of.”
Nyob Zoo’s work has been so impactful, the Wisconsin Public Health Association gave it the “Excellence in Public Health Media Award.”
“This is definitely going to motivate us to keep working to produce quality programming for our community,” Yang says.
But she hopes Nyob Zoo can also be an opportunity for people to learn more about the Hmong community.
“The only way we can help each other combat things such as the rise in racism is to learn about each other,” says Yang.
She says people need to be more introspective and try to change their own implicit biases. Be open to learning more about your neighbors.
“I think that once people have a better understanding of each other, we’ll find out that we have more similarities than differences.”