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Lao Community, Get Out and Vote!

This weekend a group of dedicated individuals took the time to volunteer at the Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota (LACM) to encourage Lao Americans to get out and vote. Within just a couple days the election will take place and every vote will count. LACM wanted to make sure Lao Americans were informed of their rights to get out and vote this Tuesday.

Sunny Chanthanouvong, LACM’s executive director, understood the importance of this year’s vote and released the following announcement earlier in the week:

After careful review of the issues and significant review of input
from the Lao Minnesotan community and our allies, the staff and board
of directors is asking our community to vote according to their
conscience in the November elections.

There are many positions that can be taken on important topics such as
the voter identification and marriage amendment proposals. The Lao
Assistance Center asks that you vote keeping in mind both sides of the
arguments and to make your final decision based on what you believe
will be best to create a happier Minnesota for all.

Many have made tremendous sacrifices throughout our history to
preserve the freedoms of democracy. We should remember those
contributions and come together in a way that promotes social equity
and true engagement in democracy. We should value the voices and
contributions of everyone, celebrating our diversity as strengths to
cherish as we weave a vibrant tapestry together.

As one of the recent immigrant and refugee communities to arrive to
the shores of the United States, we Lao Minnesotans understand the
value of individual liberty and conscience as we rebuild our lives.

We hold as a common value the belief that everyone should be able to
enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There are many ways
to be a family. There are many ways for us to be Lao, and to be
American. There are many customs we all bring, and many changes
we can all create together as Minnesotans.

We feel it is in the best interests of this nation to celebrate the many
different ways people find to celebrate life and the company of others.

We hope that in the coming years, the Minnesota legislature will focus
on developing policies that reduce barriers to education, economic growth,
and the creation of healthy, diverse communities.

We celebrate the right to vote, and encourage everyone to exercise
those rights this year.

As Mr. Chanthanouvong mentioned, many issues are up for vote this election year. Without taking a stance on any one issue, LACM instead urges the Lao community to vote according to their interests. These interests, I hope, should align with the bigger issues of equity and equality, ones that are grounded in social justice and civil rights to benefit all people regardless of sexual orientation, gender, race, class, religious belief, and ability.

Get out and vote this Nov. 6!

~DANNY

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