All posts filed under: Lao Diaspora

Podcast aims to heal Lao community through conversation

Rita Phetmixay wants you to make your mental health a priority. As a self-described politicized healing practitioner, educator, filmmaker and storyteller, Phetmixay aims to create a space for the Lao diaspora to heal through her new podcast, “Healing Out Lao’d.” With this project, Phetmixay said she wants to raise awareness of Lao American stories of intergenerational healing and resilience, provide a place to process grief and destigmatize the idea of asking for help. “I’m hoping that people can finally say, ‘Hey, I’m not weak for asking for support and I’m not weak for being soft or being in my feelings or being sensitive. I’m not weak for seeking therapy or whatever healing avenue works for me,’” Phetmixsay said. ‘”I am strong, I deserve to be healed and I deserve to have access to it.’” Phetmixay was inspired to create the podcast under the mentorship of actress, director and writer Kulap Vilaysack, who also founded Laos Angeles, a community of Lao people in media and entertainment. Phetmixay said she noticed a narrative of trauma surrounded the …

Writer Souvankham Thammavongsa featured in award-winning literary journal

Writer and poet Souvankham Thammavongsa’s work will be featured in an upcoming award-winning literary journal. Thammavonga’s short story, “Worms,” is included in Ploughshares’ winter 2018-19 issue, a collection of stories, poems and essays from writers all around the world. In “Worms,” Thammavongsa unravels the layered relationship between a single mother and teenage daughter, both of whom are Lao refugees residing in a western world. They, and other Lao refugees, pick worms from the ground on a farm for meager wages. Although only eight pages long, “Worms” explores privilege and the ache and injustice of uprooting one’s life for the promise of a better future—only to be met with hardship along the way. Thammavongsa herself was born in a refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand. Her work has appeared in Harper’s, Granta, NOON and Best American Non-Required Reading. She is working on her first collection of stories, called “How to Pronounce Knife,” which is set for a 2020 release date. Thammavongsa currently resides in Toronto, Canada. Other stories in Ploughshares’ winter issue will cover topics ranging …