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Exhibit explores Lao refugee experience, idea of home

A traveling exhibit documenting the experiences of multi-ethnic Lao refugees opens this weekend. “Between Two Worlds: Untold Stories of Refugees from Laos,” hosted by the Center for Lao Studies, opens Saturday at Turtle Bay Museum, 844 Sundial Bridge Drive in Redding, California. The exhibit will be open from Oct. 6, 2018 through Jan. 13, 2019. According to the center’s website, the exhibit examines the idea of home and the stages of what home has meant for Lao refugees and multi-ethnic Lao Americans throughout history. It highlights life in four areas: Laos, captivity, refugee camps and America. It will make four more stops throughout California, including Fresno, San Diego, San Francisco and Sacramento. “We have been in the U.S. for at least 40 years and if we don’t gather this information and stories they will forever be lost,” Vinya Saysamouth, project co-director and executive director of CLS, said in the exhibit’s trailer. “It’s a unique story in American history and it’s also universal in many different ways.” The project began in 2009 as an oral history …

From The Streets Below

I’m hit by a wave of irony Walking the streets of Columbia Heights, D.C. There sits a President and administration, Not more than a 15 minute drive from here, Doing everything in their power To target immigrants When the landscape of their own backyard Blossoms, sustained by the life force Of those they deem to persecute. Breathing in deep, I’m hit by the aroma of sizzling Mexican dishes, Burgers no more. My ears perk up By the clicking and popping Of tall benign Africans Shooting the breeze in their native tongue, No longer common The smooth canter Of that oh so American Way of speaking. I steer clear off the path Of young Hispanics on bikes Rushing to get the day’s Paper chasing done. I breathe deep with them, Catching the fresh scent, Of that American pie, The young and the old immigrants, Waiting patiently around the table, To carve out our fair share Of the American dream. ~~ In the poet’s own words: