All posts filed under: Lao

RECAP: 2017 Southeast Asian American Studies Conference in Little Cambodia

For many, Lowell might not be the first city that comes to mind when it comes to the Southeast Asian diaspora that began over 40 years ago with the end of the Vietnam War. But this industrial town is home to the second largest Khmer community in the United States as well as many Lao, Hmong, and Vietnamese. And it’s here that hundreds gathered recently for the 2017 Southeast Asian American Studies Conference at the University of Massachussetts Lowell. This was my first visit ever to Lowell in my 26 years as a poet, and it was eye-opening to see what a thriving Khmertown can look like, with well-kept shops, restaurants and community organizations such as the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association rebuilding their lives and preserving their traditions as best they can. This isn’t to say there aren’t challenges. The community has very clear stakes in immigration reform and education reform, as seen in many of the topics that drew the most attention during the conference. Stretching over three days, the conference has been working …

Rising Advocacy: A Conversation with Laotian American National Alliance

It’s been a big summer for Southeast Asian America! Personally, I’m still on a creative high from the Lao American Writers Summit in Seattle back in June, and I am excited to hear about the amazing work that comes from some other Southeast Asian American-focused conferences this season. Namely, I’ve had my eye on the Southeast Asian American Studies Conference in Lowell, Massachusetts and the Laotian American National Alliance (LANA) Conference in Elgin, Illinois. Both of these conferences brought together Southeast Asian Americans who want to move and shake our communities forward. And I was devastated that I wasn’t able to make it to either of them. Lucky for me though, I was able to sit down and chat with LANA’s Executive Board Chair Dara Souvanna Phouma Stieglitz, as she traveled from the Jersey Shore to Elgin, IL for the LANA Conference. Dara is a passionate Lao American community builder, and you can watch me Laotian American National Alliance interview her on the LLOTP site. Thanks to the wonder of email, I was also able …