Term: July 2018 to January 2022
Bryan Thao Worra is the Lao Minnesotan Poet Laureate
, serving the Asian Pacific community as a writer, poet, and community activist. He brings to the Board his perspective working with refugee resettlement in the nation’s capital, and more than 20 years of applied experience with the Lao and Southeast Asian community in the Twin Cities, including distinctive engagement with the arts, small business, academia, and the non-profit sector at local, national, and international levels.
Born in Vientiane, Laos, Mr. Thao Worra is the first Lao American to be accepted as a professional member of the Horror Writer Association and the Science Fiction Poetry Association. His focus is in speculative poetry, engaging communities to envision a future they see themselves in, and to identify non-traditional viewpoints of their histories to have a more complete dialogue on who we have been, who we are today, and who we might become. “Having been in the U.S. since 1973, I’ve had a vantage point that leads me to believe we must always seek ways to navigate difficult and uncomfortable tensions between our traditions and our opportunities, and that issues in refugee resettlement won’t be effective merely by trying to get refugees to ‘adapt’ to American approaches but rather, by trying to find common ground for improved progress. We both have much to learn from the other if we’re both to have a future.”
Mr. Thao Worra has been with the Council’s Board of Directors since 2018.
About the Lao Minnesotan community:
The Lao Minnesotan community is estimated at 12,939 strong, representing the 8th largest Asian Pacific community in Minnesota. The Lao community came to Minnesota through the refugee resettlement process, as a result of the Southeast Asian conflict. Beginning in the 1980s, the first Lao refugees began arriving in Minnesota from camps in Thailand. Minnesota is home to the 3rd largest Lao population in the United States. Of those who speak a native language other than English at home, 39% are considered limited English proficient.