Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lao Americans and Census 2010

The Lao American community is doing a lot to reach out and get community members to fill out the Census 2010. A new video has been posted on youtube:

If you get a form, fill it out!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Youth and Social Change is a great resource for people who are interested in getting engaged with the community on issues of social change. If you know Lao American youth who'd like to get experience in community service, let us know!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What's on your mind?

The Lao Assistance Center is developing our strategic directions for the next decade with your input. In the coming months ahead we will be holding community gatherings across the state to hear from you about how you want our community to move forward. You can call, write or drop by in person, or even let us know on the blog! Your voice counts!

Get Up to Speed with High Speed!

Lao community members and others are encouraged to attend a special event hosted by the Minnesota Digital Justice Coalition (Main Street Project, Minnesota Center for Neighborhood Organizing, Twin Cities Community Voicemail, and the People Escaping Poverty Project) on Monday, February 15th from 12pm-2pm at the Brian Coyle Center. The center is located at 420 15th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55454.

The special guest is Mark Ritchie, Minnesota Secretary of State.

Free food provided by La Loma Restaurant, but the purpose of the meeting is to increase awareness of our community needs and our relationship to the internet.

Our housing, our education, our lives and our movement today depend heavily on the internet. This dependency puts those with access at an advantage and communities historically excluded at a disadvantage to participate fully in our communities. At this educational forum, we'll talk about the importance of the internet in our everyday lives and discuss how the struggles we face offline, relate to our struggles online. This is being held as part of the Media Action Grassroots Network's National Day of Action.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Refugee Nation coming to Twin Cities 2010

On February 9th, the Lao Assistance Center received $5,000 from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council to bring the acclaimed play Refugee Nation to the Twin Cities in October, 2010. The play will be held at Intermedia Arts with Pangea Theater and TeAda Productions.
TeAda Production's Refugee Nation is an interdisciplinary/multi-media collaboration exploring the impact of war, refugees, global politics and U.S. citizenship. It has performed across the United States, but this will be the first time it has ever been presented in Minnesota.

The actors collected oral histories and use ensemble performances to reveal the connections between the history of the U.S. and Laos. The play brings voice to a growing part of the Asian American diaspora excluded from mainstream and Asian American textbooks and art.

Presenting their very personal reconstructed memories, Refugee Nation seeks to create a performance to create dialogue within and outside of the Laotian community to promote restorative justice.

"We wanted to bring Refugee Nation to the Twin Cities for one month to have these talented actors work with our community members to bring our voices and stories to the stage," said Lao Assistance Center
Executive Director Sunny Chanthanouvong. Throughout the month, other exciting workshops and events are planned to help the state celebrate and remember the contributions of refugees.

The lead actor and writer is the acclaimed Ova Saopeng. Minnesota audiences may be familiar with Saopeng's work with the MN Children’s Theater and the Disney film series the Pirates of the Caribbean. Saopeng established the performing group,TeAda  productions Inc., as a new avenue for the public to learn and understand the culture and traditions that link back to the Laotian community and his homeland.

TeAda Productions is a company dedicated to providing innovative theatrical experiences that educate audiences about multi-cultural issues. Saopeng also wrote and created "Welcome to LSL, Lao as A Second Language.”

The Lao story has been rarely told or heard, often due to language barriers and a lack of expressive opportunities.

"We've wanted to bring Refugee Nation to the Twin Cities for a long time, and 2010 seems like a perfect year to finally make it happen," says Sunny Chanthanouvong. "We hope to get everyone involved this October."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Being Proactive in Lao American Activism

.If you're just getting started in Lao American activism, what can you do? Here are just a few ideas:

Volunteer with your local community organization. There are still many organizations out there who can use volunteers who can use help to reach out to the community, particularly elders and youth. If you have skills you'd like to share, this is a great first step in becoming a Lao American activist. You can make a difference in the lives of other Lao Americans just by donating a few hours per month to an organization near you.

Develop political awareness! Follow the local politics and become aware of the legislation in your state that could help, or hurt, the lives of Lao Americans. Contact your representatives and tell them which issues matter to you. Volunteer on the campaigns for politicians who take a progressive stand on the rights of refugees and immigrants.

Write an opinion piece or a letter to the editor for your local newspaper about an issue that matters to you!
Plan (or participate in) an Asian Pacific American Heritage Month event in May!

Hold a workshop in your community, or host a screening of a Lao documentary to raise awareness – and money – to help Lao communities around the world.

Become a mentor! Today’s Lao American youth are the next generation of Lao American activists. Strengthen that generation by being a positive role model for youth, whether it be through tutoring, coaching a sports team, or signing up with a program like Big Brother or Big Sister.

Become a contributor for Lao American magazines! They are always looking for new voices to add to our community. E-mail for more information.

Start your own blog! That’s what we did!