Pom Foundation Benefit a Success

From Krysada Panusith Phounsiri, Lao American writer:

It was a memorable gathering for the Lao community and their friends as we came together for the official launch of the Pom Foundation on November 5th. Lao attended from across the country to affirm a love for the Lao traditional arts and culture, including members of Sahtu Press. Convened at the spacious Metropolitan Banquet Hall in Renton, Washington, the event had been sold out weeks in advance.

Seattle is a place I'd like to return to many times. It is safe to say that the community there understands the importance of working together, supporting its youth towards higher education, and combining cultural preservation with innovation.

The event night had a calm ring to it. You can tell everyone walked into the venue with welcoming vibes and an interest of the night's presentation. It was also apparent that Pom Outama Khampradith's legacy was indeed an anchoring point the entire night. I never met her, but felt her presence in the respect that the many community members had for her. She lived through all the Kinnaly Dancers that night that energy channeled through the music played by the musicians. 

The Pom Foundation will use the donations from the community to continue their goal of preserving, promoting, and educating about Lao culture and arts through various programs including the popular Kinnaly Music and Dance Classes, Lao Cultural Exchange Program, Lao Summer Camp, and FORTE: Summer Camp Talent Show. Washington has close to 11,568 Laotians, making it one of the largest Lao communities in the US. Seattle will be the host city for the Fourth National Lao American Writers Summit in Spring, 2017, thanks to the Pom Foundation.

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The Pom Foundation traces its roots to the Kinnaly traditional music and dance troupe founded in 2002 by the passions and dedication of Pom Khampradith and her first students who later became co-founders. Over the years the group grew and today involves over 60 second-generation Lao American youth who learn, preserve, promote, and share the art of Lao traditional music and dances. 

That evening, live music was provided by Bohan Band, and the food was catered by Tuk Tuk Mobile Feast. Guests had a chance to see performances from the acclaimed Kinnaly Dance Troupe firsthand. In addition, I read poetry from my collection, Dance Among Elephants.

Of course, you can't have a fundraiser dinner without the typical Lao party tendencies. That was definitely present. I had a lot of fun out there. Meeting new people and connecting with core folks for the next Lao American Writers Summit. I believe we all need to have brief chats with how others in the states are doing to push the boundaries of what Lao America can do. It was not a mere opportunity for Nor and I to sell our work to the Seattle Community, it was a way for us to strengthen our bonds with them along with building ideas we can exchange for future projects. 

Looking forward to heading back there next year. Coffee on the left side, Beer Lao on the right.

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