It was short notice, but Minnesota writers and community members happily got a chance to see the acclaimed Yellow Rage spoken word duo performing as the opening event for Saint Cloud State University's Social Justice Week, sponsored by Asian Students In Action (A.S.I.A.)
Catzie Vilayphonh graciously took time to arrive early so she could see and visit other Lao Americans in Minnesota, including the staff of the Lao Assistance Center and Saymoukda Vongsay. This meeting with Saymoukda Vongsay marked a historic moment for all three of us meeting together face to face as writers.
We had some great conversations about the issues of social justice and the images and continuing stereotypes of Asians in America, and where the Lao American community fits within all of this. There were debates on the merits and unique joys of Lao cooking and the secrets to good chicken wings and tom mak hung.
There were field trips to the Walker Art Center, the Guthrie Theater, the Mall of America and Mickey's in Saint Paul, where we were treated to stories about police snipers and riots during the RNC last year. (Wow, has it really been over a year?)
We also got some great planning in for the Lao Writer's Summit in August, 2010.
Everyone had a wonderful dinner with the students of Saint Cloud State University. Yellow Rage performed to a packed house, and the good news is that they will be coming back to Minnesota in January. Hopefully, it won't be too cold then!