“We’re 70,000 strong. I think they picked the wrong people to mess with.”—Minnesota Hmong protester outside KDWB-FM
St. Louis Park, MN, April 15, 2011 Members of Minnesota’s Hmong community are still waiting. Waiting for a meeting with the executives of Clear Channel, the owners of KDWB. Waiting for a true apology and justice for ethic stereotyping and racist lyrics in a “joke” song the station aired last month.
Tired of waiting, the Hmong protesters tried an end around this morning and using a diversionary tactic they were able to get inside of KDWB’s office. But the end result was still the same. No meeting. No true apology. No justice.
In the video you’ll see how station representatives and building security stopped a “decoy” delegation of protesters at the door of the building. They were refused entrance and were refused requests for a meeting.
Meanwhile the real delegation entered another door and went to the Clear Channel offices.
The delegation of Hmong leaders inside Clear Channel offices was asked to wait for Rob Morris, KDWB’s Program Director. But instead Clear Channel called the property manager, building security, and a St. Louis Park Police officer to the fourth floor of the building and had the delegation removed.
Outside the building, about 200 angry protesters, Hmong American and their friends and supporters had gathered. The resentment about serious racist stereotyping and derogatory on-air comments has been simmering for over a month.
The rally, organized by TakeAction Minnesota’s Hmong Organizing Program and their allies, was held to encourage KDWB to meet and discuss five requests. These include changing Clear Channel and KDWB policy to prohibit offensive anti-ethnic and racist commentary; requiring annual diversity training for employees; requiring community service in the Hmong community; dedicating airtime to discuss the matter and educate listeners about the Hmong; and firing morning show host Steve LaTart (Steve-O).
“They said they wanted to meet with the community,” TakeAction Minnesota Hmong Organizing Program leader Victori Vu told the crowd. “Well, the community is right here!”
The group promised to return.
Hmong Community Protests, Calls for Change Outside KDWB Studio-St. Louis Park Patch
TakeAction Minnesota’s take on the protest
Hmong community video letter to KDWB Radio