All posts filed under: Lao Diaspora

Dreams and Declarations in Diaspora

This week we’re celebrating Independence Day in the United States; when Americans signed the Declaration of Independence and setting in motion a journey of 242 years so far to be a people, a country of its own in the world. They threw off the shackles of monarchy beginning with the now classic preamble: “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” Today, two centuries later, so many take that sentence and what follows for granted, and we rarely consider what it means to us personally, and how and why we benefited from such a bold sentiment. That people could be civil, that they would still be a part of civilized society, but …

She/They

Written by: Janit Von Saechao In pristine-white Portland, I am seen as progressive for being a person with brown skin yet privy to this piece of my identity. What they don’t know is that when I say, “My name is Janit Saechao and my pronouns are she/they.” I mean She, as in We We, the ones assigned women while given no words for otherwise. We, as in all the non-men who have wondered which is the better way to survive– to silence ourselves for centuries of tradition or to speak our truths and risk our lives. They, as in Us They, as in those who came before me. They, as in all my ancestors who listened to Their own hearts and trusted Their own beings. They are my chain smoking Khmu aunties in Laos who puff tobacco through hand rolled cigarettes, laughing on the sides of dusty Luang Prabang roads at the colonizers with cameras who won’t leave Them alone. They are my single Mien femmes in America making more money than all the men …