All posts tagged: Leslie Chanthaphasouk

A Community for Us, By Us: Reflections on LAWS 2016

What a weekend. This year’s Lao American Writers Summit (LAWS) was momentous in so many ways. Taking place in San Diego, California from May 27-28, 2016, it was the first time the Summit was held outside of Minnesota, the first Summit to take place in consecutive years, and the largest gathering by far. People came in from all over the U.S. to learn and connect. Although the event was held over a weekend, the Summit officially kicked off festivities on May 12 with the opening of the gallery installation titled “Intersectionalities,” curated by Catzie Vilayphonh and Sayon Syprasoeuth, featuring artwork from various Lao American artists from across the nation. The gallery and the Summit took place in the beautiful Centro Cultural de La Raza, which was the perfect venue for sharing art, making connections, and telling stories. If I were to break down some key observations from this year’s Summit, they would be: There is an ongoing need and desire for a space where Lao Americans can connect and express themselves. I attended the Lao American Writers Summit for the …

U.S. Embassy Vientiane gets its first Lao American diplomat

Forty years after thousands of refugees left Laos to settle in different countries across the world, a new generation of the Lao diaspora is redefining their relationship with their heritage and motherland. LLOTP sat down with Stacey Phengvath, a second generation Lao American who became the first non-military Lao American to serve as a U.S. Foreign Service Specialist at the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane. At her post, Stacey not only represents the U.S. government, but a unique segment of the Lao American experience. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family. My parents fled Laos as refugees in 1975, and I grew up listening to their stories. It’s amazing how their story telling created a motion picture in my mind; while I wasn’t personally there, I could feel the pain they went through years ago. When I was born, my family moved to Danbury, Connecticut and struggled to make ends meet in a subsidized housing community. It was their experiences as refugees and their hardships in America that piqued my interested in entering public service. …