All posts filed under: News & Updates

I’m donating my birthday to Little Laos on the Prairie

Dear Readers,   On May 28th, I’ll be another year older (hopefully wiser) and my pastime hobby of blogging on Little Laos on the Prairie is now officially under The SEAD Project (Southeast Asian Diaspora), which turns the big 3 as a legally-recognized organization. Little Laos on the Prairie is 7 years old this year already. Much has happened, shifted and progressed in that short amount of time, especially in our social-political landscape, but our work is just getting started as demands from the diaspora for better and more streamlined access to meaningful culture, community, and connections continue.   This birthday, I’m asking for your gift to jumpstart our efforts by donating to The SEAD Project for Little Laos on the Prairie.   At The SEAD Project, we’re imagining community development differently. A diaspora movement owned and led by us, for us. We’re building a more accessible bridge to spaces powered by what we already know and have: our cultural assets. We do this through streamlined language sessions, pop-up workshops, and engaging service-learning opportunities within our …

Lao American Writers Summit and making a case for the arts

Seven years ago Catzie Vilayphonh, Bryan Thao Worra and I co-founded the Lao American Writers Summit. Lead by Bryan we were able to raise funds and support from foundations, state agencies, individuals, and businesses. LAWS could not have happened without that initial support. In order to understand the significance of LAWS, you have to first understand the circumstances of Laotian communities. We came here as refugees. Survivors of the Secret War in Laos – a proxy conflict of the Vietnam War. Anti-communist Laotians fought on the side of the CIA. Thousands of Laotians were sent to re-education/labor camps, the lucky ones only saw their friends executed. My father, uncles, and grandfather escaped labor camps. After the fall of Long Chieng, an exodus of Laotians fled Laos, sought safety at refugee camps in neighboring countries. Since the late 70s, there are approximately 240,000 Laotian Americans nationally with roughly 12,000 calling Minnesota home. Unlike many of our APIA artist communities, Laotian artists more or less work in isolation as they are likely the only Laotian artist in …