Books, Community Events, Lao Diaspora, Refugee
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SEAD to release book of Southeast Asian-authored narratives

Photo credit to The SEAD Project

The Southeast Asian Diaspora (SEAD) Project is celebrating Minnesota’s first-ever Southeast Asian-authored anthology Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center in St. Paul.  “Planting SEADs: Southeast Asian Diaspora Stories” will feature stories, poetry and artwork from Hmong, Khmer, Lao and Vietnamese Minnesotans, whose narratives reflect the entirety of the refugee experience.

Trauma is often intertwined with our shared backgrounds as Southeast Asians, and the experiences that come along with that can be scattered, disjointed or simply not talked about. Through this collection of 20 stories, art and poetry, we can begin to connect the histories that link our diaspora cultures together.

“More than 100,000 Hmong, Khmer, Lao, and Viet diaspora call Minnesota home,” Chanida Phaendara Potter, executive director of SEAD, said. “Storytelling is necessary to make sense of who we are as a people and the living and breathing memories we share as Southeast Asians. We hope fellow Minnesotans find hope, understanding and see their neighbors in these beautiful stories.”

The book launch and signing will take place from 1-4 p.m. Saturday at the arts center at 788 E. Seventh St. in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a “Raise Our Roots” benefit reception to support SEAD will also take place there later that night from 6:30-9 p.m.

Festivities for the all-day event include a pop-up gallery, cultural performances, Southeast Asian street food and music. The reception will also feature dinner, drinks, a DJ and a keynote speech by playwright and poet Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay.

Tickets to the book launch are free to the public and tickets for the reception are $50 each.

To purchase reception tickets for for more information, RSVP here.

Pre-orders for “Planting SEADS” can also be placed here.


Book Launch (12:30-4 p.m.)

Hosts: Ze Thao & Tigana Van Le

12:30 p.m. Check-in and refreshments
1 p.m. SEADS fest performances

  • Cambodian blessing dance
  • Hãy Yêu Nhau Đi | Trịnh Công Sơn by mk nguyen and The Bác Squad
  • “10,000 Stories: Refugee Jukebox,” a short play by Bryan Thao Worra & Kaysone Syonesa
  • “Come Home,” spoken word poetry by Kevin Yang

1:45 p.m. Lunch
2 p.m. “Planting SEADS,” a film by Josh Dyrud, Oanh Vu and Kat Eng
2:30 p.m. Blessings for storytellers
3-4 p.m. Open gallery and book signing

“Raise Our Roots” Reception (6-9 p.m.)
Hosts: Saroeun Earm and Michelle Tran Maryns

6 p.m. Cocktail mingler
6:30 p.m. Song by Txong Lor
6:35 p.m. Welcome
6:40 p.m. SEAD short film
7 p.m. Dinner and remarks by Chanida Phaengdara Potter
7:10 p.m. Keynote speech by Saymoukda Vongsay
7:30 p.m. Live storytelling game show
7:55 p.m. Poetry by Lar Mundstock
8 p.m. Closing and dance floor opens with DJ Paradoxx

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