Wednesday, October 31, 2012

An Open Letter to Our Lao Minnesotan Community

An open letter from Lao Assistance Center Director Sunny Chanthanouvong:

After careful review of the issues and significant review of input from the Lao Minnesotan community and our allies, the staff and board of directors is asking our community to vote according to their conscience in the November elections.

There are many positions that can be taken on important topics such as the voter identification and marriage amendment proposals. The Lao Assistance Center asks that you vote keeping in mind both sides of the arguments and to make your final decision based on what you believe will be best to create a happier Minnesota for all.

Many have made tremendous sacrifices throughout our history to preserve the freedoms of democracy. We should remember those contributions and come together in a way that promotes social equity and true engagement in democracy. We should value the voices and contributions of everyone, celebrating our diversity as strengths to cherish as we weave a vibrant tapestry together.

As one of the recent immigrant and refugee communities to arrive to the shores of the United States, we Lao Minnesotans understand the value of individual liberty and conscience as we rebuild our lives.

We hold as a common value the belief that everyone should be able to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There are many ways to be a family. There are many ways for us to be Lao, and to be American. There are many customs we all bring, and many changes we can all create together as Minnesotans.

We feel it is in the best interests of this nation to celebrate the many different ways people find to celebrate life and the company of others.

We hope that in the coming years, the Minnesota legislature will focus on developing policies that reduce barriers to education, economic growth, and the creation of healthy, diverse communities.

We celebrate the right to vote, and encourage everyone to exercise those rights this year.