Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Loft Literary Center Executive Director Jocelyn Hale makes her transition

A big, fond farewell to Jocelyn Hale as she makes a transition from Executive Director of The Loft Literary Center this month. It marks a wonderful end of an era for so many of us in Minnesota and across the country, and I look forward to seeing the next directions everyone takes.

I had the honor and privilege of serving with her on the board of the Loft, and I was always deeply impressed by her leadership skills and her sense of inclusion.

From the perspective of the Lao American artists community, her tenure provided us the critical and vital support for many of our events, readings and workshops. She was pivotal in creating an exceptional and welcoming space for our community both informally and formally. So often, we were able to take younger and older Lao artists and community builders there and open their eyes to the possible.

It was during her time that we were able to convene the first National Lao American Writers Summit, an event which led directly to the later creation of Lao American publishers and journals such as Sahtu Press, Inc. and Little Laos on the Prairie, as well as Laos In The House, the presentation of the Refugee Nation: Legacies of War Twin Cities exhibits, and even the award-winning Lao apocalyptic play "Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals."

Thanks to her support, a significant part of our collective journey of cultural reconstruction and the Lao American renaissance was made possibly, and our heritage is now deeply entwined with that of the Loft.

I hope we remember all that she has done, and what she dared to dream and reach for, celebrating that legacy with joy. She made a difference.

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