ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — She’s Maryland’s first Asian American first lady and during a time when members of the Asian American community were under attack, First Lady Yumi Hogan used her position to spread a message of hope while denouncing hate.

First Lady Yumi Hogan came to America more than forty years ago, but life wasn’t easy for her. She was a single mom who worked several jobs in pursuit of a better life for her girls.

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Many years ago when she was at an art gallery, a man approached her. That man was Larry Hogan.

“He was a simple man, not a governor that time, simple real estate man,” said First Lady Yumi. “He gave to me a business card. So I was a single mom, I didn’t think about any man, dating.”

Yumi Hogan didn’t call Larry Hogan after he initially gave her his business card but they ran into each other about a year later and Yumi Hogan said she was very vocal about her priorities in life. She emphasized that she would not date a man if he did not accept her children.

“If you don’t accept my daughters I cannot date,” she said. “I do because I protect my daughters. So he said I do, then we started dating,” she added.

The couple married in 2004 and about a decade later Larry Hogan became governor.

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Political watchers said she’s a well-liked figure in Maryland. When the pandemic hit and Asian Americans were being attacked and blamed for the lockdowns, the governor revealed that their own daughters were afraid to travel.

The first lady was among dignitaries who went to Korean Way in Ellicott City to reassure business owners who were scared.

“We have to love each other. I think it’s very important,” First Lady Yumi said. “We hear their stories, so that’s not right. We [are] all together, love each other.”

The first lady has used her platform to teach people to cook Asian cuisine at home via Yumi Cooks on Youtube. And after the governor survived cancer, First Lady Yumi Hogan started an art therapy program for kids with cancer.

After raising her daughters, the first lady who’s loved art since she was a child, went back to school in her 40s. Her artwork has been displayed around the world.

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“I tell people don’t give up. Never too late, always do if you have a dream? Doesn’t matter what challenges you face, always dreams come true,” she said.

Ava-joye Burnett