History

History of Laotian American National Alliance, Inc.

1997 National Association for the Education and Advancement of Cambodians, Laotians, and Vietnamese (NAFEA)

9 December 1999: Launch of the Laotian American National Alliance in Berkeley, California

The mission of the organization is to mobilize Laotian Americans by promoting social and economic advancement through civic participation and public policy advocacy. The idea for a Laotian national organization was born at the National Association for the Education and Advancement of Cambodians, Laotians, and Vietnamese (NAFEA) conference in 1997.

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‘The United States of Asian America: A visual landscape of Asian American cultural influence in mainstream America’ by Lisa Yong and Wai-Loong Lim, Hyphen Magazine, Fall 2008. This map has been generously donated by Hyphen Magazine.

After two years of planning, with technical assistance from the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), a strategic plan and selection of an interim board of directors were the precursors to the formal launching of the LANA.

Ms. KaYing Yang, executive director of SEARAC, stated, “LANA will serve as a vehicle to disseminate critical information such as federal policies, funding opportunities, legislative action alerts, urgent community concerns and professional networking. It will also serve as a bridge to build coalitions with other Asian American organizations, as well as other immigrant and civil rights groups.”

There are about 350,000 people of Laotian descent in the U.S. today, but they have no central community. At LANA’s west coast launch, on December 9, in Berkeley, California, Board member Ms. Soudary Kittivong-Greenbaum said, “LANA will help strengthen our communities across the country by providing a core for national empowerment.”

A member of interim Board of Directors, Mr. Khammany Matthavongsy stated, “The task of community building for the people from Laos has just begun. There are many issues that need to be resolved. But if each of us shares a common vision and takes the responsibility of making that vision a reality, we can meet the challenges with confidence and success.”

Mr. Puongpun Sananikone stated: “LANA is the result of the collective awareness and shared vision of a new generation of Laotian-American youth, professionals and sound-minded community leaders, who want to elevate our communities across the United States to new and higher levels of socio-economic progress.”

“LANA is the result of the collective awareness and shared vision of a new generation of Laotian-American youth, professionals and sound-minded community leaders, who want to elevate our communities across the United States to new and higher levels of socio-economic progress.”

Mr. Sananikone went on to say, “To be able to participate productively in, and not be marginalized by the increasingly globalized American economy, Laotian-Americans must find new ways to free themselves from the crippling grip of outdated cold-war issues and mindset, which has divided and paralyzed many Laotian communities in the U.S. and around the world for the past two decades. LANA is an important new building block; a new, non-partisan catalyst to promote cooperation among Laotians of all ethnic origins, and to help redirect their attention and their scarce resources to those priorities that really matter to their future as United States citizens.”

LANA obtained 501 c 3 status on December 2007.