Legacies of War

Legacies of War

Legacies of War (Legacies) is the leading U.S. based educational and advocacy organization dedicated to increasing awareness about the American Secret War in Laos and U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. Our primary objective is to secure funding for the removal of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, while

Legacies of War

Legacies of War Labels Legacies of War (Legacies) 1 of 4 ADVOCACY CAMBODIAN HMONG LAOTIAN OTHER SOUTHEAST ASIAN VIETNAMESE Legacies of War (Legacies) image 1 image 2 image 3 image 4 Organization Name: Legacies of War (Legacies) About the Organization: Legacies of War (Legacies) is the leading U.S. based educational and advocacy organization dedicated to increasing awareness about the American Secret War in Laos and U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. Our primary objective is to secure funding for the removal of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, while also advocating for survivor assistance and mine risk education. We take a holistic approach to our community engagement efforts, combining multiple disciplines, including history, politics, food, art, fashion, and cultural heritage. Our aim is not only to educate and mobilize individuals on the issue of UXO in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, but also to encourage the diaspora in the U.S. to embrace and preserve their shared history of war and refuge. By transforming our experiences of shame and pain into narratives of resilience, cultural pride, and healing, we strive to empower these individuals and promote a deeper sense of community and belonging.

About the Organization:

Legacies of War Labels Legacies of War (Legacies) 1 of 4 ADVOCACY CAMBODIAN HMONG LAOTIAN OTHER SOUTHEAST ASIAN VIETNAMESE Legacies of War (Legacies) image 1 image 2 image 3 image 4 Organization Name: Legacies of War (Legacies) About the Organization: Legacies of War (Legacies) is the leading U.S. based educational and advocacy organization dedicated to increasing awareness about the American Secret War in Laos and U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. Our primary objective is to secure funding for the removal of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, while also advocating for survivor assistance and mine risk education. We take a holistic approach to our community engagement efforts, combining multiple disciplines, including history, politics, food, art, fashion, and cultural heritage. Our aim is not only to educate and mobilize individuals on the issue of UXO in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, but also to encourage the diaspora in the U.S. to embrace and preserve their shared history of war and refuge. By transforming our experiences of shame and pain into narratives of resilience, cultural pride, and healing, we strive to empower these individuals and promote a deeper sense of community and belonging.

organizational budget

$100,000 - $500,000

existence for

16-20 YEARS

The Issue:

Between 1975 and 1995, over three million people fled Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Tragically, many perished at sea. Of the 2.5 million refugees who eventually resettled across the globe, over one million found a new home in the U.S. Throughout all levels of education, we have observed a significant gap in the curriculum regarding the history of the Vietnam War era, particularly the Secret War that the U.S. waged on Laos - a neutral country. Legacies is driven by three core pillars: History, Healing, and Hope. To achieve the latter two pillars, Healing and Hope, it is essential to ensure that the first pillar, History, is comprehensively addressed. Due to decades of disinformation and erasure of history, Southeast Asian Americans remain a vital American community that has been left out of the American consciousness even though many of the families fleeing war and conflict had no choice.

Our goal is to uplift these communities and permanently preserve and protect the unique contributions, experiences, cultures, and languages which have not been recognized. Refugee families, survivors, and voices of the diaspora will never be forgotten through our preservation of history: Legacies Library, Thip Khao Talk Podcast, and the interactive Khao Niew’s Classroom. Unfortunately, systemic racism still plagues our society and the lack of awareness has contributed to flawed policies and legislation. The term ‘Asian American’ is inadequate because there remains a large gap between Southeast Asians and the rest of the AAPI community. We are standing in the gap to address and improve this great need through education, advocacy, and community engagement.

The Solution:

We hold the U.S. government accountable for its violent actions in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia by preserving history that is at risk of extinction. We aim to be a source of an expansive, accessible, and completely free digitized collection housing primary source documents that will preserve the endangered history of The American Secret War in Laos and war legacies in Cambodia and Vietnam for universities, educators, policy makers, members of the Southeast Asian diaspora, and veterans—to foster learning, healing, and hope for a bomb-free future. In response to this challenge, we created Legacies Library (LL), the only corner of the internet where people can find a list of resources about The American Secret War in Laos. It is a collection of books, films, articles, and oral histories vetted by Legacies that tells the story of the American bombing of Laos (1964-1973) and its neighbors in Vietnam and Cambodia. LL offers original programming including film screenings and author interviews that tell the living story of the “American Secret War” in Laos–ensuring it’s no longer a footnote in American history. Our work to preserve this history has been recognized by CNN and NBC. Our bandwidth is extremely limited due to this effort being primarily volunteer-led. We are seeking funding to launch the professional preservation and digitization of primary documents from The American Secret War with a prioritization of “The Originals.” “The Originals” are illustrations and narratives that were collected between December 1970 and May 1971 in the Vientiane refugee camps, where victims of the U.S. bombings fled. They represent the thousands of civilians who endured an air war campaign perpetuated in secrecy. Drawn primarily in pencil, pen, crayons and markers, they are raw and stark, reflecting the crude events that shaped their reality. The authenticity of “The Originals” emphasizes the illustrators not as artists or writers, but ordinary villagers who bore witness to a devastating event.

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