Good At Life

Love Takes Action podcast episode eight transcript

Episode 8 Transcript

[00:00] ELLEN 1: Our lives are defined by key moments - sometimes expected, sometimes unexpected. This podcast explores the stories of extraordinary moments in our everyday lives, the joys and celebrations as well as the challenges and surprises. These stories provide opportunities to share ideas and takeaways to learn from to witness moments where love becomes a living, breathing action that showcases strength, resilience, beauty, and humanity.

I am your host Ellen Adair, and welcome to Love Takes Action brought to you by New York Life, helping people act on their love and successfully navigate life's biggest choices since 1845.

Today, we’re talking with an immigrant farming family about Self-Determination and controlling their economic future in order to build a better life here in America.

[01:05] PAKOU + JANSSEN:

…  My family and many other Hmong families were barely making it…

… I didn’t want my life to be farming. I thought success was having a job with air conditioning in the summertime.

…we saw value in farming and that’s what connected us to come back to farming.

…So in many ways Janssen, and Asha, and I are just living this American story.

[01:25]  ELLEN 2:  And we’ll speak with a lawyer who has worked in private practice and within the public sector on legal issues facing countless farmers across the country.

[01:35] SUSAN:

…I think it’s important that we listen to each other's stories. That's when you stop seeing someone as an “other” and you hear who they are.

… they just pour love into their crops and what they are doing…

… and all of that stays in our community. It really generates more than a dollar in community impact.

[01:54] ELLEN 3:  

Today, we have the pleasure to begin with 3 generations of Hang’s, a Hmong farming family from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

In 2012, the matriarch of the Hang family, Phoua, and other elders in their community decided it was time to take more control of their lives and begin to invest directly into their future. Her two adult children, Pakou & Janssen, helped the farmers form HAFA, an acronym for the Hmong American Farmers Association.

Throughout the episode we’ll speak with Phoua, Pakou, Janssen and their 11-year-old niece, Asha.

Let’s begin with Pakou, Janssen’s sister and the former Executive Director of HAFA.

Pakou, how important is farming in the Hmong community?

[02:26] PAKOU:  Wow, it's not even that it's important, it's that it's synonymous.  It's at the center of Hmong life.

For example, Hmong rituals, Hmong holidays, our Hmong New Year is aligned with the agricultural calendar. So, we kick off our new year, we celebrate our new year at the end of harvest.

[02:47] ELLEN 4:  Can you tell me a little about the Hmong American Farmers Association, or HAFA?

[02:50] PAKOU: HAFA is a nonprofit that’s based in St. Paul, Minnesota. And the mission of the organization is to really build the capacity of Hmong farmers, and to help Hmong farmers and their families build community wealth.

So, for a long time in Minnesota, Hmong farmers are really at the forefront of the local foods movement. They are the majority of farmers at the local farmer's market in St. Paul and Minneapolis. And they really are the ones that are providing the fresh mix of vegetables to you know, folks in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

But even though they were the driving force for this local foods movement, many of them are not making as much money as other Minnesotan vegetable growers are making.

And so, in 2012 Hmong farmers got together and they formed the Hmong American Farmers Association as a membership-based organization to really get a chance to build the community wealth that they saw around them, but they didn't have access to.

[03:50] ELLEN 5:   From the beginning, HAFA was really self-directed, wasn't it?

[04:03] PAKOU:  Yes, Ellen, I remember the, the moments so clearly. So, we had gathered a number of Hmong farmers together, and they were going to be presenting to some socially responsible investors about their challenges farming in an urban setting. And it was a wonderful meeting and the Hmong farmers really felt like they were seen for the first time and that their labor was recognized and, and was exalted.

And after all the investors left, we were debriefing with many of these farmers and we, this question came up, you know, ‘What can we do really to support Hmong farmers?’

And I remember so distinctly this older Hmong grandma, she stood up and her, her, she had this hat that was kind of like, you know, crooked and she stood up and she said, “We have to stop waiting for someone to come and save us. We can save ourselves.”

You know, we call this concept, self-determination, right? They had a sense of like, what is right or wrong, and that I can be the steward of my own destiny.

And that was the birth moment for HAFA and I always remember that because it is about building capacity. It is about building wealth. It is about lifting the narrative among farmers, but at the end of the day, it's about people claiming themselves and their self-worth.

[05:20] JANSSEN:  If I may add another thing too, Ellen?

[05:23]  ELLEN 6:  Of course, yes please go ahead Janssen,

[05:27] JANSSEN:  One of the biggest things that what all of our farmers, Hmong farmers, saw each other, was that coming to a place together, right? Of like-minded, share value individuals here, and that when we want to create system change, that individually one person does not have the capacity or the power to do so.

And so, we really want to create this change, that we need to come together. And we do it as Pakou had mentioned, coming together with that force, the same kind of force to create that change.

[05:59] ELLEN 7:  Our listeners might like to know that Pakou was the former Executive Director and Janssen is the current Executive Director of HAFA. Next, I’d like to ask your mom, PHOUA, as an elder in the community who was at the center of the meeting in 2012, what was on your mind at the time?

[06:11] PHOUA:  {Answers in Hmong…fade out into English overdub}

OVERDUB:  My purpose in joining with others to form HAFA was partly because I loved farming, and because I knew we needed an organized entity to support and motivate Hmong farmers. Long after I am gone, I hope HAFA will continue to be a haven for my children, my grandchildren and other young Hmong advocates who care about our community. I hope they will teach others what I know to be true: that farming can feed your body and your spirit today, tomorrow and beyond.

[06:52] ELLEN 8: With the creation of HAFA in 2012, there was this opportunity for the farmers to get more independence in their lives, what were the challenges facing them at that time?

[07:10] PAKOU:  Hmong farmers were facing a lot of challenges in this moment in agriculture. One of the most important challenge is that they didn't have access to land. And I'm not just talking about any type of land, but I'm talking specifically about farmland that was close to their markets, which was close to the Twin Cities. Because if you imagine if you're someone who's selling to the farmers market, you're going to be traveling to that farm or to that garden or that land multiple times a day. So, you can't be driving an hour out. So, it had to be farmland that was close to Twin Cities. And it also had to be farmland that you could have long term access to.

Number Two: they didn't have access to other markets, besides the farmers markets. And so, the farmers market is wonderful because you know, Ellen you were just alluding to the vibrancy, the customers, the community there, but truthfully at the farmer you take your produce to the farmers market, and if it's raining, you have no control over who comes, right?

You take all the things that you've grown, you bring to the farmers market, there's no guarantee that it's gonna sell at the price point you want or that it's all going to go. And so, Hmong farmers wanted other types of markets, whether it's a Farm to School market, maybe Farm to Hospital, maybe even a CSA, a community supported agriculture, also known as the CSA.


Number Three: they didn't have access to capital or credit. And this is really important because, you know, I can be a wonderful farmer. I can have access to the land, you know, for long term. I can have a really vibrant market. But, if I don't have access to additional capital to maybe buy that land or buy a tractor that will help me make my operation much more efficient, then I'm going to be stuck there. I'm going to be bounded by how much I can grow, how much money I can make, because I don't have access to additional funds to invest to grow my business.


And the Number Four and Number Five: Hmong farmers didn't have access to any type of training or any type of research that was being done in the local, you know, universities. And so when you don't have access to, let's say trainings, because most of those trainings, at that time, were all done in English, and again, Hmong people, we come from an oral tradition, right?

So, folks didn't necessarily speak or read English.

They didn't know ways to improve their growing techniques, right? Because they didn't have the training they may not have known, even though they were organic, they didn't know how to get certified organic.

And then our land grant universities have such a rich tradition of doing research and agriculture, right? Maybe there's a new variety of potatoes they’re going to grow. Maybe they're going to investigate certain pests, that's really, you know, decimating raspberries.

But, if you are again, a poor, non-English speaking, mixed vegetable producer, how do you access that research to bring that technique back to you?

And because of these five things; Not having access to land. Not having access to markets, and not having access to capital and credit  and not having access to training or research.

Hmong farmers were only earning about 60 cents to every dollar that the mainstream Minnesotan, white, vegetable grower was making.

And that really stumped their growth and it really limited the type of wealth they could build over the years.

I also wanted to add, Ellen, that when we started HAFA, we knew that the challenges confronting Hmong farmers were not singular. They were generational. They were communal. They were dynamic.

And so, one person can't go against these forces. We knew that we had to bound up our power. We had to unite our power that would be equal to the forces that were creating some of these challenges for Hmong farmers. And that's why when we started HAFA we were so intentional about having it be a membership based organization, because we wanted people to see each other and not only just see each other, but see the power of the unit.  The power of the community.

[11:01] ELLEN 9:  Yeah, of course! Earlier you mentioned the CSA model as a way to expand your markets. My understanding is that with a CSA, I'd buy shares in a farm before the growing season, and then those funds would help the farmer with expenses, seeds, labor, so on, and then I would get a portion of the harvest as the season goes on. How has this CSA model worked for HAFA?

[11:25] JANSSEN:  What HAFA has always invested in is, how do we grow our farmers, right, so that they will have a financially sustainable farm business operation?

And that community support agriculture was a way to go, besides the farmers market system. So, the concept of the community support agriculture was more to provide security, financial stability for Hmong farmers.

Now, at HAFA what we've done is that we have created, we call this Workplace CSA program. Where we collaborate with a number of partner organizations and the City of Minneapolis and their employees, with the park and rec center, with city halls. And we started promoting that, right?

And so, people started signing up like, ‘Yes, we want to support local farmers. We want to support immigrant minority farmers.’ And as a result of that that kind of also led to, you know, other collaboration with you know, MN Health Fairview and our Veggie RX program where it specifically targeted low income, food insecure families who had been diagnosed with chronic illnesses, whether that's like cardiovascular, obesity, diabetes here.

And in that collaboration partnership with M Health Fairview, was a way to also use food as medicine to address these health concerns as well. And you know, within that first year, that, in  our partnership with M Health Fairview, you know, the, the biometrics and everything came back and they were stunning. At the beginning, they did an assessment, at beginning of the program and at the end of the program, and what they found out that a number of their patients who were diagnosed with diabetes, their A1C, which is the marker for diabetes, significantly dropped because of healthy food consumption.

So, that was amazing. So, it wasn't just about, ‘Oh, having access to fresh healthy food, and consuming healthy food’ but, then again, it was a source of medicine, but at the same time, it was also a source of social connectedness.

[13:28] PAKOU: And Ellen, I think this is really important to note what Janssen just said because you know, in this country, healthy food, fresh food is actually more expensive than fast food, unhealthy food. You know, we have to unpack that.  That's like a whole thesis.

But I think that Veggie RX program what Janssen alluded to, about the change in in folks A1C,  is a real testimony to the fact that fresh food it, you know, it's like, poor people don't have access to the things that they need. And yet we've continued to penalize them, right?  Low-income people. Food insecure people.

And what HAFA was doing in the Veggie RX program, was not only saying, "Hey, you're going to have access to this food, but we're also going to build your social connectedness to your, to your doctor, to the people who work at the clinic, so that when you come in, pick up that CSA share, that Veggie RX share every week, you're not going to be afraid about your clinic anymore.

You're going to build a trustworthy bond with your doctor so, that maybe you have something that you're embarrassed about now, that you trust that doctor or that nurse, you're going to share with them, and maybe that, that can lead to preventative care that can lead to more holistic care.”

So, it was about access to food, which is a human right, but it was also access to, you know, social capital and the social determinants of health. So, that people can have really holistic, healthy care.

[14:31] ELLEN 10:  Yeah! I know the American Heart Association has just awarded HAFA because of the work of the Veggie RX program and the incredible results in your local Minneapolis-St. Paul community.

[15:10] JANSSEN:  HAFA, the Hmong American Farmer Association, we are so thankful for the American Heart Association and their support and the belief in the mission of HAFA and also on the work of Hmong farmers.

 So, as a result of the American Heart Association and their support, that HAFA was able to implement their very first federally recognized food safety training for Hmong farmers.

And why you say this, is that as a result of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which the Federal regulations require that every single producer must comply and must have this training.

When these food safety practice trainings and curriculum came out, they're only conducted in two languages, either English or Spanish, Hmong farmers were at a complete disadvantage. And so, as a result of American Heart Association that kind of really, led and helped us create the very first bicultural, bilingual, Hmong produce safety training course.

It wasn't just in Minnesota, that actually had a ripple effect all across the United States where not only do we train Hmong farmers in Minnesota, we trained Hmong farmers in Missouri, we trained Hmong farmers in California, and now over 50 Hmong farmers have this certification that is federally recognized.

It's not just the work of HAFA, this transformation. But it's work and support of American Heart Association that made this transformational as well.

[16:37] ELLEN 11:  That’s so incredible.

[16:46] PAKOU:  So Ellen, you might not even know this, but we actually started farming because our parents wanted to send us to Catholic schools, but it was too expensive. We couldn't afford it.

And so, we started first growing cucumbers and selling the cucumbers to Gedney Pickles, that's headquartered in Minnesota.

And then afterwards, we found out “Oh, you could grow vegetables and sell them at the Farmers Market!” And that's what we did. And that was supposed to be our pathway to, you know, to a better life. You know, if you didn't win the lottery, the second plan was to get a good education.

And for me, I think about this a lot, because I used to hate farming, like, it was such a chore to go to the garden or the farm and then nowadays,  Asha, all my mom and my dad's grandchildren, Landen, Mason, Ian, Chufu, Cha Cha, they love to go to the farm. They're like, “No, no, I want to go!” And we're like, “It's 40 degrees outside. It's so cold.” “No, I want to go! I want to go!”

And in one generation to have such a different emotion or different attachment to the farm, for me, I think it's a real success. That it’s not a place of a chore, not the place of shame and lack of access. Now, it becomes a place of community. Becomes a place of like, lifting myself up. It becomes a place of like, how I’m, I'm having fun and lightness.

And I think that, that is really the testimony to my mom and my dad's perseverance and the gift that they gave their children.

 ELLEN 12:  Asha, you’ve been so patient while the adults do all the talking. As an 11-year-old who is part of the next generation, what do you like to do at the farm?

[15:10] ASHA:  Well, I enjoy not just being on the farm, but I enjoy running around it and like, washing different plants.

Once everything’s, like, picked already, I can go around like grab my own tomatoes and like, cucumbers to bring home. I really like cucumbers with paprika and salt.

 ELLEN 13:  And I know you’re very involved in the summers at the Farmer’s Market, what’s that like?

 ASHA:  I think it's really, kind of fun, in my experience, because I like to talk to people and give them different recipes.

For a simple snack I really like to eat is kale chips.  Where you just like take the leaf part off the kale and you add, like, olive oil and salt on top and then you mix it together and then you put it in the oven for a little bit and you take out, it's really good and crunchy.

ELLEN 14:  Yes, I love kale chips. I do the same thing with green beans. I call them green been fries. Janssen how do you feel Asha's relationship with farming compares to your own childhood?

JANSSEN:  We hated farming. It was so onerous and laborious. We'd be under  the scorching sun picking cucumbers and it was, like, prickly all over your arms, you know? Or digging, digging potato then you're all dirty, your face is all dirty.

And so, our seven siblings, you know at times, we would sit there and we would unionize, and we're boycotted, like, “No, we're not going to go to the field today mom and dad.” We hated it. “It's not fair. Our friends are taking these vacations, going up north, taking trips, and we're stuck here, summer in and summer out here.” So, we always vowed to each other okay, you know what we're going to study really hard and never looked back.

PAKOU:  I remember in college, I wanted to be an investment banker. I wanted that because growing up we were so poor, and I hated farming. And I didn't want my life to be farming. I thought success was having a job with air conditioning in the summertime.

And I was really lucky. I had a wonderful job in social responsible investments. I met amazing people and yet, my mom and my dad would always talk about, they didn't use the word social justice, but if we were at the farmers market and if you saw someone and they couldn't afford something, so often my mom my dad would just say, “Hey, take these tomatoes. It's okay grandma, just take them home,” right?

Or we would be at the Farmers Market and we would have maybe another Hmong farmer who was having difficulties communicating with the customer and my mom and my dad would say, “Go over there and help that Auntie.”

And so my parents modeled what it meant to be “in community,” not just to be a part of a community but as a verb, how to be “in community” And so I wanted to be an investment banker and yet I, there was something that was missing, that part that “in community” part, and at the end of the day, that’s, that was the string that pulled me back, um, to come back to Twin Cities to to do the work that I'm doing right now that's really rooted in building power for the most disenfranchised and marginalized about us.

Who would have thought that you know, we did farming to get an education and Catholic schools, but those teachings about not only humility, but the teachings about, you know, being the good Samaritan and loving each other, that was really the foundation they were setting.

And, I would just say that at the end of day, that's the wealth that matters.

ELLEN 15:  Absolutely, that’s really such a gift your parents gave you?

PAKOU:  The funny thing is that our story is actually not that different from a lot of other Norwegian or Swedish, you know, or German family folks whose Grandma and Grandpa, Nana, they had a family farm. That it was the grandparents were like, “No, get an education,’ and then the kids would get an education. And they moved away from the family farm. And so, in many ways, Janssen and I and Asha, we’re just living this American story, just with a different ethnicity.

[10:59] JANSSEN:  But the biggest thing is that we also came back and why we came back, is that we saw value in farming. And that's what connected us to come back to farming. And that that value, as my parents always said, “That is hard work." Right? “And that same hard work that you apply to farming, you can apply to any career and be successful.”

And that is a value that, you know, this generation or the younger generation are seeing differently because they didn't have, they weren't forced to be in the field, right?

They have the options like “Oh, do I want to go to the farm? Do I wanna go to the farmers market? Oh, it's so fun just being interacting with a number of customers. Or so great to see these snap peas grow and now I have to harvest. Or, you know, Oh, this is how kale grow, wow? This is what kale chip looks like. Oh, I'm now picking kale. And now I'm turning to kale chips,” right?

ELLEN 16:  Phoua, what is it like to see the way your children have taken the gifts you gave them and passed them along to the so many  other people.

PHOUA: {Answers in Hmong…fade out into English overdub}

I am so proud of my children, who used my struggles as an impetus to create HAFA, an organization that benefits not just me, but so many other Hmong farmers. They [my children] are my true legacy.

PAKOU:  Ellen, can I add something to that? Because all of our life we've always been interpreting for our parents. And so the word that Janssen I speak, there, we’re just the mouthpiece. The real ideas, the real, the real values that, that's my mom and my dad.

JANSSEN: What our parents have invested so much into us, it’s also an opportunity that we need to reinvest back into our community. Because it's not just our story. It's not just the Hang family story, but it's the Hmong farming story.

ELLEN 17:  Janssen, Pakou, Phoua & Asha, thank you for joining us and sharing your family’s incredible story with us.

"Next, we’re so grateful to have Susan Stokes with us. She’s a partner at the law firm of Lind, Jensen, Sullivan & Peterson in Minneapolis, and has worked with farmers, including many Hmong American farmers in Minnesot

She has dealt with wide-array issues affecting farmers in private practice, at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and as Executive Director of Farmers' Legal Action Group.  She has been working closely with HAFA on various legal issues."

Susan, welcome. Thank you for being here.

SUSAN:  Ellen, thank you for inviting me. It's such a pleasure to be here to talk about Hmong American Farmers Association and farming in general. It's one of my favorite topics to talk about.

 ELLEN: The Hmong farmers have done an incredible job with their stewardship, haven't they? Not just financially, obviously, but culturally and socially.

SUSAN: That's exactly right. So, if you, if you consider a farmer who's renting a piece of land from year to year, they're not going to make investments in the soil. They're not going to plant perennials that are going to help build the soil quality. They’re not going to invest in conservation practices.

Where when you look at what HAFA has done over the past 10 years, they engaged in really innovative partnerships with the University of Minnesota, with the Department of Natural Resources, and they're investing in their soil and their land with their practices and what they're planting. And that has benefits for the soil. It has benefits for the water and then it also helps their markets because they're able to grow these perennials that are harder to come by and they can bring a better price. So, it's a win-win if you can provide that kind of secure access to farmland.

ELLEN:  That kind of win-win is what any business, any venture, is always looking for.

SUSAN: Absolutely, and in agriculture you can really make a big impact that way. We have some innovative programs here in Minnesota with regard to water quality, and how to make sure that our groundwater is, is kept clean. And HAFA is such a good steward of their resources.

They’re, they are adjacent to the Vermillion River and so they've worked with the DNR here in Minnesota to help make that an aquatic management area. And you know, that's good for everybody. It's good for the land. It's good for the farmers. It's good for the neighbors. It's good for the fish.

ELLEN: I love what you said, that “It’s good for the neighbors.” It’s also a kind of bridge building between people who have different cultural backgrounds or ethnic heritage, to be able to see the other people not as an “other,” but as part of an “us.” Seeing an “other” is just about a lack of knowledge. “Us” is the only truth.

 SUSAN: Absolutely and I think it's important that we listen to each other's stories. That's when you stop seeing someone as an “other” and you hear who they are.

And so, when I sat in this mediation and I heard the stories of my clients and how they crossed the Mekong River for instance, and I don't know why it took me so long to have this dawned on me but, every Hmong person who fled the war had to cross the Mekong River.

And so that neighbor with the loaded shotgun who was mad because his deer weren't coming on his lawn anymore. Well, how could you fail to see how extraordinary these people were when they started talking about how they came here and why they came here and who they are and what they're doing.

And so, HAFA’s so good at telling that story. They bring people on their farm.

They bring hundreds of people on their farm every year maybe 1000s.

And, and they tell the story of, of who they are and what they're doing.

And you can't fail to stop seeing someone as an “other” when you meet their children and their grandchildren and at the farmers market when you engage in a conversation with this young person like Asha. She's absolutely delightful and charming and bright, as you said. She’s just the best that you can imagine in a young person and she's there excited about selling cucumbers. She loves to go to the farm and pick cucumbers.

This is how, these are not “others” anymore. These are people who are, they welcome you into their family, in their community, and in their showing up.

And now it's just that the Hmong American farmers at the Farmers Market are fixtures now here and people so love to go to the Minneapolis and St. Paul Farmers Market on the weekends.  And more than half of the vendors are Hmong farmers and it's just a part of our culture now and it's just, it's all that colorful produce and the feeling of community that happens there. It’s, it’s really a beautiful thing. And I think most people are grateful that they're here and that they're bringing this richness to our community.

ELLEN: Richness, exactly. It’s not just about the food, which is, of course, critically important to our health and our being, but it’s also about the way in which they’re feeding the fabric of the community itself.

SUSAN: They are literally feeding us. And, and, and reflecting in those markets, they reflect sort of the best of us, right, because everyone there is feeling a part of something and it's reflected there and they show up and they're part of that.

And it is hard work. Oh my gosh, the, you know, the labor that's required to grow vegetables and harvest them and clean them and bring them to market and be there so early in the morning and stay till two in the afternoon and be pleasant and it's so much work. 

And I’ve not been a farmer myself but, I whenever I have the chance, I go to a farm that's my favorite part of my job and I just have such an appreciation for, for just seeing what they do and how they do it with so much love. They just pour love into their, into their crops and what they're doing.

ELLEN:  Yeah. We’ve really come to understand that local farmers do make our lives better. Are there things that we can do to help? Like joining a CSA?

SUSAN:  You mentioned CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, and that is a wonderful way to connect directly with your farmer. And that not just connects you to the farmer and builds that relationship, it cuts out the middleman so they're getting, you know, 100% of the dollars that you're that you're paying.  When you go buy things at the grocery store, you know, the farmers getting pennies on the dollar for, for what’s bought there.

So, you know, direct purchasing from your farm is becoming more and more common. There are websites.  There are, Minnesota has a Minnesota growing directory that connects you to farmers who sell everything. You can buy honey directly from farmers and beef and, and vegetables and eggs and, and that is just, that's part of feeding your local community.

And so, you know, they feed us and we can feed them back by keeping that money local and then it has a multiplier effect. That dollar that stays in our community really, you know, generates more than $1 in community impact.

ELLEN: But HAFA has also risen to national prominence, too. Their reach and their influence, as leaders, has really grown beyond Minnesota.

 SUSAN:  Well, that's right. I mean, what HAFA has built is fairly unique because they have not just helped the Hmong farmers that they're working with, they built this very vibrant and visible community asset and they've empowered the farmers that they work with. They’ve increased the assets and the wealth of the farmers they're working with. And that has just rippled through the community.

And they have become a model nationwide, to the point where their Executive Director

Janssen Hang was invited to sit on this advisory committee for the United States Department of Agriculture, advising the department on equity issues.

And it's quite an honor for him to be asked and he's going to be a great contributor on that. There has been in the past a long-standing history of discrimination against farmers of color and this USDA is trying to address that and they're trying to make sure that they can be more responsive to the diverse group of farmers that are farming in our country.

He will bring a great perspective to that Advisory Committee based on all the work that he's done and his perspective and his experience in his community.

ELLEN:  Yeah, I’m sure that Janssen and HAFA will continue to make an even larger impact going forward.

ELLEN:  And thank you for joining us on this episode and throughout this first season of Love Takes Action. If you like what you heard today, or during any of the other episodes this season we invite you to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform–you can add your comments, and share the link with your friends and family. It’s a chance to celebrate the voices of our inspiring guests and their stories. You can also follow us on Twitter, Instagram or visit our website at


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