All posts tagged: Lao Minnesotan

Up for seconds: Refuge of the InvisibLao at Brookdale Public Library – April 3-May 31

April is here. 40 years of Lao Diaspora journeys fill the limited pages and portraits in snippets of fragmented memories. Shoutout to our fellow Southeast Asians holding down their own commemoration events across the nation. My hands are raw from fresh paper cuts scrambling to share collected stories of my people. Full conversations with passerbys. “Oh, I grew up during the Vietnam War” “Did you know about Laos too?” “Um. Where?” I’m exhausted. Let the exhibit speak. Sneak peek: If you missed the first run of “Refuge of the InvisibLao” exhibit, catch the ‘limited’ version of the exhibit.  Share your thoughts and reflections. Opening reception with stories and refreshments Friday, April 3rd from 2:00-5:00pm. Exhibit runs through May 31st, 2015 at Brookdale Public Library located on 6125 Shingle Creek Parkway, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430. See you there. -Chanida Phaengdara Potter,

The original visionaries of Lao Minnesota: Phouninh and Khoutong Vixayvong

For the Lao in Minnesota, heritage preservation was robust and vital in building community roots in the late 80s through early 90s. Lao PTA and Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota had programs focused on Lao language, culture and arts; and even a Lao Summer School for youth. One of the many well-known leaders during the resettlement period was Phouninh Vixayvong, a retired educator with a fierce teaching style. She’s also a long-time social services veteran at Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota, where she still assists elders navigating the public system one minute and debating with Lao men in the lobby about the latest community issue the next minute. She is one of many maes to the Lao community, teaching the first wave of Lao refugee immigrants for 15 years and founding the first ever Lao Women’s Association in the state, addressing teen pregnancy and breast cancer awareness. As a former student of the youth summer camp and a close colleague, I consider Mae Phouninh to be a humble feminist trailblazer in her own right. I sat down with the Vixayvongs in their …