Author: littlelaosontheprairie

Review: How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa

Review by Soudary Kittivong-Greenbaum This isn’t for you This is for the lady in the back The kid that’s late to class The dad that’s invisible, dreams cast aside The lost-ambition Grandma, no-purpose Aunty And it’s all for you too. Soudary Kittivong-Greenbaum Written through the eyes of a child (more than once), a grown woman longing for her grown child, a 20-something single factory worker, a woman in her 70s, a husband completely in denial of his wife’s escapades, a teen daughter of a farmworker, each character in Souvankham Thammavongsa’s new title, How to Pronounce Knife is a glimpse into the lives of a Lao refugee or immigrant, literally and figuratively trying to make it in the world. They are in the midst, often of an identity juncture, trying fit in. They are living the mundane, the everyday. But inside their minds, and their hearts, they are trying to find meaning, to figure a place in their world. What it does differently than other works of art centered on the refugee and Lao refugee character …

An Iu Mien Story Pt.1 – #FreeSaelee, The Secret War, and Resettlement

“I would never think that we would have that many supporters,” Naichann Saechao says, referring to the nearly 200,000 signatures collected online to free her nephew Kao from ICE detention.  In fall 2020, the internet was shaken up by the Guardian’s story about an Iu Mien American refugee named Kao Saelee from California. Despite Kao’s service fighting historic wildfires just before finishing his 22 year prison sentence, he was handed over to ICE for deportation to his birth country of Laos. Instead of reuniting with his family who had come to take him home, Kao was taken to an ICE detention facility across the country in Louisiana. Despite calls for a pardon by California Governor Gavin Newsom, Kao is still in ICE detention today. With the massive reaction to Kao Saelee’s story, more people are talking about the plight of young refugees finding their way in America. However, the visibility of these refugee experiences, especially for communities like Iu Mien Americans, remains low. According to Iu Mien Community Services –Iu Mien are a vibrant ethnic …