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.
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: