It’s already been four years ago since LLOTP was born. Time flies when you’re being Laod. We were just a wee little blog with barely 10 followers, pumping out almost daily posts after a 9-5 job on what we felt like was the world to us: defining our own words. Our joys and struggles as Lao, Minnesotan, and American were at the heart of what made our pages flow. Let’s take a look back and a look forward…
- 1,000+ and growing followers on the website, Facebook and Twitter.
- Our readership base are diaspora and expat communities living in United States, Canada, Laos, Thailand, Australia, and more
- Our first 40th commemoration event and first national Lao diaspora photo essay “Refuge of the InvisibLao” was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota in January and at Brookdale Public Library to over 7,000 people
- Our first presentation on the state of Lao diaspora experiences in Minnesota, US, and returnees to Laos was at the 1st Annual Lao Writers Summit & Symposium
- We were invited to many 40th commemoration events and conferences this year to share our stories, our platform, and speak about LLOTP
- We’ve been covered in the media– Twin Cities Daily Planet, Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, Asian American Press, Minnesota Public Radio, OC Weekly, and Voice of America
- Introducing new columnists for health & well-being, Lao food, and arts & culture
- Donations are tax-deductible! LLOTP is now a program under The SEAD Project, a 501c3 nonprofit organization
- Provide articles in Lao and key diaspora languages such as French and Spanish
- Reach more stories across diasporaic movements in Laos, France, Australia
- Build an easier and efficient talent pipeline for emerging Lao diaspora writers
- Present interactive ways on the Lao diaspora movement and the art of storytelling in our own words
- Merge into comprehensive and efficient ways to share stories onto LLOTP
- Partner with other bLaoggers, organizations, and related storytelling initiatives
This year was a moving year for LLOTP. I didn’t expect that our stories would reach to the other side of the world and relate to a deeper level in our collective experiences as a people. I hope you’ll join us in this #BeLaod movement. To #BeLaod is to challenge ourselves about what it means to negotiate and process our culturally-rich experiences, in our own authentic voices. The only way our voices will be deemed visible is to erase the historical invisibility we’ve been shuffled under.
A year after LLOTP started, my daughter Coraline was born. She is being raised in a vibrant Lao renaissance movement. My hope is that LLOTP becomes the driving force for the Coralines of the world to learn and choose to love and nurture. This is why knowledge sharing, cultural production and sharing our stories matter today. We made this possible. Thanks for being with us on this ride. Help us do more. Support our stories here.
Cheers to many more years together, Laod readers!
-Chanida Phaengdara Potter, firstname.lastname@example.org