All posts filed under: Community

Recognizing Trans Day of Remembrance

November 20th is  Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR), and we at Little Laos on the Prairie want to take adequate time to recognize this day. To quote tdor.info, “the Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.” This description underscores just how serious TDOR is. We as Lao Americans need to recognize TDOR because it is an issue that affects real people – people who are typically marginalized and excluded in many areas of society. As an underrepresented group ourselves, we Lao Americans need to advocate, protect, and celebrate other underrepresented groups so that we can guarantee social progress for everyone. Speaking of being underrepresented, it is also important to recognize that Black transwomen are disproportionately facing …

White Parasols and White Supremacy

This is part of a series on racism, imperialism, colonialism and white supremacy and its history and impact on the Lao community.  In the Lao tradition white elephants and white parasols signified supreme power of royal families. These days, Laos doesn’t typically come up in conversations on modern white supremacy despite our occupation by the French during the Indochina era (1887-1954). Might our history consciously and subconsciously affect our approach to  social justice and civic engagement? Many may feel our opinions  and experience are unimportant. Few ask how we will either resist or support the rise of white supremacy, especially the 230,000 of us in the US. Considering there are at least 917 hate groups in the US in 2017 according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, with many operating in states with some of the highest concentrations of Laotian refugees, this should be an issue. Laos has an interesting connection with one of the leaders of white supremacy. In 1971, a young David Duke came to Vientiane in the summer to help his father’s …