In the last few weeks, North Texas Laotian Americans celebrated their New Year at many of the Buddhist temples, from Saginaw, to Irving, to Royse City. For the last 28 years, the Laos American community of North Texas has celebrate their New Year at the Royse City Buddhist Temple (called Wat Lao Rockwall).
By 1990 over 150,00 Laotians had been granted immigrant status in the United States. Primarily many of these families traveled directly to North Texas or found their way to California. Today Laotians are dispersed throughout the states. The latest Texas census attest to 11,500 Laotians living in Saginaw, 1000 in Garland, 800 in Dallas and Richardson area. The greatest challenge faced by the community in the DFW, as described by local Laotians leaders, is reaching higher levels of English proficiency and appropriate health care. Their greatest contribution lies with their insatiable desire for education and betterment demonstrated by the 95% graduation rate among of Laotian students in the DFW area (North Texas Baptist Ministry report).
Local beauty pageants are sponsored by Laotian businesses to sustain Laotian traditions and values, as well as to communicate them to mainstream society. Vanya Boulom, Miss Teen Asian American Texas (2017-2019), has the job of ambassador, not only for the Laotian community, but the Asian community at large. As Miss Teen Asian American Texas she is a role model for other young ladies in her community as the standard of excellence for success in the American melting-pot experience. Her participation at events throughout the metroplex opens the door to understanding and collaboration between the Asian community and the diverse mix of ethnicity within the DFW area.
Read the full story of the people and culture of Laos, in the upcoming Asia World Magazine – 2018 Spring Issue