The mission of Legacies of War is to raise awareness about the history of the Vietnam War-era bombing in Laos and advocate for the clearance of unexploded bombs, to provide space for healing the wounds of war, and to create greater hope for a future of peace.
The organization uses art, culture, education, community organizing and dialogue to bring people together and create healing and transformation out of the wreckage of war.
Legacies is not a direct service or aid organization. We educate and mobilize the Laotian American and broader U.S. public to help us advocate for increased U.S. funding for clearance, education awareness and victim assistance in Laos. With this strategy, we leverage our small budget for the greatest impact.
In 2017 and beyond, Legacies will strive to keep the issue of UXO in Laos on the radar of policymakers and expand awareness and support through media and grassroots organizing. Legacies of War has set out the following goals in four strategic areas:
- Policy and Advocacy – Sustain and expand congressional support and long-term funding for UXO activities across changes in leadership on the Hill and in the White House
- Community Engagement – Educate and mobilize communities with high populations of Lao diaspora to support ongoing advocacy efforts
- Communication Initiatives – Provide a consistent hub for Lao UXO data and information, including the new U.S. funding commitment to media, policy makers, and other stakeholders
- Organizational Development and Capacity Building – Fulfill Legacies’ long-term goals with adequate funding and staffing capacity
Each of these components is critical for the success of our work as they are all interdependent and intertwined with our mission.goalz
Legacies of War is guided by four central goals:
- Raise awareness in the U.S. and broader international community about Laos and the legacies of the Vietnam War-era bombing.
- Advocate for increased U.S. and international support for the clearance of UXO in Laos and greater assistance to bombing survivors.
- Engage communities in the U.S. in discussions of peace and security issues by using the lessons learned from the war in Laos to stimulate dialogue.
- Strengthen the capacity of Laotian-Americans to advocate on issues of concern to their communities.
How We Achieve Our Goals:
Raise awareness about Laos and the legacies of the Vietnam War-era bombing:
- National Traveling Exhibition of archival and current images, art and video, that tells the story of the horrors of the Vietnam-era bombing in Laos and resulting dangers of unexploded cluster bombs today.
- School Curriculum that teaches about the war in Southeast Asia through history, writing and art lessons.
- Refugee Nation, live performance of theatre, dance and poetry based on oral histories collected from Laotian community members.
Advocate for increased U.S. and international support for the clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Laos:
- Advocacy Campaign to increase U.S. and international support for the ban on cluster munitions and the clearance of UXO in Laos and for victims’ economic well-being.
- Study Trip to Laos, supported by the Ford Foundation, to research UXO clearance, education efforts, and victim assistance.
- Research & Briefing Papers, including chapter in upcoming book, U.S. War Crimes in Indochina: History, Responsibility and the American Future (Common Courage Press 2009).
Engage communities in discussions of peace and security issues:
- Panel Discussions that bring together bombing survivors, war veterans and peace activists from the Laotian-American and broader communities.
- Film Screenings of award-winning films, such as Bombies, Bomb Harvest, The Betrayal: Nerakhoun.
- Oral Histories from Laotian-Americans, veterans and other Southeast Asians collected by students participating in the Legacies of War curriculum.
Strengthen the capacity of Laotian-Americans to advocate on issues of concern: