Celebrating 40 years of Southeast Asian Minnesotans

On July 30th, the Washington D.C.-based Southeast Asian Resource Action Center will convene a special community reception at the McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota. Part of the national 40 and Forward campaign, the reception will take place from 5:30-8:00 PM and will reflect on forty years of the Southeast Asian American journey. For Minnesotans, this is a year that has led to significant soul searching as they consider the next directions to take. For the Lao community, for example, there are nearly enough Lao to form a city the size of Crystal, but only a handful of organizations in Minnesota who can meet the needs of the most vulnerable members of their community. As dialogues continue on issues of health care reform, immigration reform, and education reform, it is a time to consider where the Lao voice will fit in, especially as the 2016 election season approaches. Continue Reading

Of Voice and Vermin: Talking with Writer Tim Wick

One of the things that has always impressed me about Minnesota is its vibrant literary community and its ability to make space for so many unique and distinctive voices. One of my favorites is writer Tim Wick, who is the artistic director of Fearless Comedy Productions. Over the years, Tim has produced several successful shows at the Minnesota Fringe festival including “The Complete Works of William Shatner (abridged)” and “Story Time Time Bomb.” He has written comedy sketches for CONvergence and is a podcaster and blogger. You can find many examples of his writing at petsnakereggie.com. One thing that I particularly respect about Tim’s work is his philosophy of theater production. “You shouldn’t be producing theatre if you are afraid to take risks,” he says. “By taking risks, we grow as artists. Continue Reading

Legacies, leadership and the Lao literary arts

Next year, the Immigration History Research Center is partnering with the Lao American Writers Summit to host a symposium marking 40 years of Lao in the United States. Saengmany Ratsabout framed the event by noting ‘Lao refugees have been resettling in the United States since 1975, following a civil war complicated by U.S. intervention in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.” Continue Reading

Laopocalypse Now: Fear, poetry, and the end of the world

This Wednesday, October 22nd will be the 170th anniversary of “The End of the World,” as predicted by the adherents of Millerism in the 1830s. William Miller had predicted the Second Coming of Christ on October 22nd, 1844, That day came and went, and left a good number of people disillusioned. Some returned to their old congregations, others became Quakers or Shakers. In more recent years, the late Harold Camping predicted October 21st, 2011 was going to be the day to end all days. Continue Reading