All posts tagged: Lao Minnesota

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 …

10 (Lao) ways to survive Winter Storm Astro

By the time you’re reading this, you probably made it to work (finally!) and are now stuck at your cube or you’re hibernating near a source of high heat bracing for Winter Storm Astro. From Monday through Tuesday, Mother Nature is expected to dump up to 10 inches of snow in the northern states of Montana and Dakotas through our beloved Minnesota. Imagine being a new Lao Minnesotan from a blistering 100-degree tropics that you’re used to. How do you survive as a Lao during a snowpocalyse? We’ll tell you some simple ways. 1. Candles, candles and more candles. Those who have refugee blood keep it around– we got at least a box of these in every household. Just in case, of course. 2. The shovel is old school, but at least have a few around. Or ask your nice neighbor who has a snowblower to make you a path to your car. You can pay them with a heaping bowl of khao piak. It’s totally fair. 3. Get your snow gear ready. Lao don’t do well in deep feet of snow. Get …