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2019 Lao New Year festivities across America

Photo by Snap Pilots Sok di pi mai! One of the best times of the year is upon us. From gathering with friends and family to receiving blessings at the wat, let’s ring in the new year with good spirits. Below is a collection of Lao New Year events and festivities we could find — with some hopefully near you. It is by no means a complete list so if we missed any, please share! Arizona April 13-14 (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) Wat Lao Thammaram 9501 N. 16th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85021 Arkansas April 27-29 Wat Lao Santitham 4625 Armour St., Fort Smith, AR 72904 May 3-5 Wat Lao Buddharam 3317 N 23rd St., Fort Smith, AR 72904 California April 6 (6 p.m. – 1 a.m.) LNY celebration at La Sierra Community Center 5325 Engle Rd., Carmichael, CA 95608 April 6 (7 p.m.-midnight) –  April 7 (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) California Center for the Arts, Escondido 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, CA 92025 April 13 (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) Downtown Merced April 13 (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) …

Podcast aims to heal Lao community through conversation

Rita Phetmixay wants you to make your mental health a priority. As a self-described politicized healing practitioner, educator, filmmaker and storyteller, Phetmixay aims to create a space for the Lao diaspora to heal through her new podcast, “Healing Out Lao’d.” With this project, Phetmixay said she wants to raise awareness of Lao American stories of intergenerational healing and resilience, provide a place to process grief and destigmatize the idea of asking for help. “I’m hoping that people can finally say, ‘Hey, I’m not weak for asking for support and I’m not weak for being soft or being in my feelings or being sensitive. I’m not weak for seeking therapy or whatever healing avenue works for me,’” Phetmixsay said. ‘”I am strong, I deserve to be healed and I deserve to have access to it.’” Phetmixay was inspired to create the podcast under the mentorship of actress, director and writer Kulap Vilaysack, who also founded Laos Angeles, a community of Lao people in media and entertainment. Phetmixay said she noticed a narrative of trauma surrounded the …