Jamie Xiong-Vang is the eldest of 12 children in a poor Hmong American family. She faced struggles many second generation Hmong Americans encountered growing up: living in poverty, being made fun for being the poor Hmong kid at school, not truly understanding what the Secret War was and what it meant for our people. Despite this reality, she decided in third grade she wanted to be a lawyer and indulged in her love of books. She married her husband in 9th grade and had her two elder children while still in high school. She was faced with the responsibilities of being a mother, wife, daughter-in-law, and student, and at one point believed her new roles required her to let go of her goals, but she decided to just work harder and sacrifice more.
Jamie graduated from Edison High School in Fresno, California in 1999 and applied to Fresno City College and California State University, Fresno, but she also sent an application to UCLA just to see if she could have gotten in. When the UCLA acceptance letter arrived she was ecstatic, but concerned such a drastic move would put too much a strain on her marriage. She discussed with her husband about the idea of moving away for her undergraduate studies and they both decided her attending UCLA would in the best interest of their family. Jamie completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA and Law Degree at Whittier School of Law. She has been practicing law in the Fresno area since 2006.
Jamie worked for a period of time for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and helped countless numbers of immigrants through U.S. Customs and onto their flight towards their final relocation destinations. She saw various refugee groups of varying ethnicities come through the IOM, and noticed how most of these refugees each carried a suitcase or two of their life’s belongings. The Hmong immigrants she helped, her own people, however, were so poor they carried a mere few rainbow-colored plastic bags of clothes per family of 6-12+ people. This impassioned her to work harder to serve her people. Jamie also used this experience to motivate her to do as much as she could to be a champion and beacon for the Hmong community, a guiding light that all accomplishments are possible with hard work and determination.
Being a woman, young, and Hmong American have all presented various challenges and obstacles to her career as a lawyer. She has noticed clientele dismissing her knowledge and experience because of age, ethnicity, and gender. Jamie has even had experiences with Hmong American clientele who appear to value her Juris Doctorate degree less than they did her male counterparts just because she was a woman. Regardless of this, she aims to always be truthful and treat everyone with respect and dignity. Jamie “believes that the universe returns to me what I send out, so I know that if I treat people fairly in this way, the universe will make sure that I do well, personally and in my business.” Jamie recently opened up her own practice, the Law office of Jamie Xiong-Vang, where she runs a general practice, focusing on Criminal, Immigration, Bankruptcy, and Personal Injury cases.
Photography Youa Vang