All posts tagged: Lao Minnesotan

The Chinese Lao American with a Southern Laos Soul

If you grew up with the Lao community in the heart of Minneapolis, the cozy and heavily stocked aisles of New Orient Market was a familiar scene. During the beginning of the resettlement period, many Lao Minnesotans would file in to get their hard-to-find Southeast Asian goods from the store, which also became a common gathering hot spot along Eat Street (Nicollet Ave). The market opened as the first Lao-owned grocery store in Minnesota back in 1982, by  Xay Ratsamy’s late father. Since then, it’s been a family affair, but Xay is yearning to return to the simple life of his countryside roots in Southern Laos. Among the giant sacks of rice, which became temporary arm chairs for our conversation, Xay looked back on his childhood in Laos and the first few years of resettling in the Midwest. How did you get to Minnesota? Tell me about your family’s journey from Laos. My family wanted to escape because we were scared and it was such an uncertain time. We came to America in 1980. I …

The 20-minute survey that every Lao Minnesotan family should be a part of

Here’s a slap-in-your-face fact: less than 59% of Lao students are proficient in reading and math in Minnesota. This should startle you about our youth and the future of the Lao Minnesotan community. It’s not news that Minnesota has one of the biggest achievement gaps in the nation. By 2018, it’s estimated that 70% of jobs in Minnesota will require at least some college level education. Will the Lao Minnesotan’s growing young population be ready? That’s what the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans (CAPM) in partnership with Wilder Research hopes to figure out in its latest survey on early childhood education. According to the last 2010 Census, our home state has a growing Asian population of over 202,135; a 51% increase since 2000. Although the majority are Southeast Asians, “from income to employment, educational attainment, homeownership, English language proficiency, and health, the Hmong, Laotian, Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Karen ethnic groups fall far behind the Chinese, Asian Indian, Filipino, and Korean groups in Minnesota” (CAPM). There have been numerous national surveys that have excluded the Lao and without enough research …