Four women pray in Wat Lao Rattanaram, a Buddhist temple that serves the Laotian community in Richmond. (Photo credit: Cecilia Lei)

Around the Way: Laotian activist reflects on community and the future of civic engagement

on December 1, 2017

In 1975, Torm Nompraseurt was one of the first Laotian refugees to arrive in Richmond. He came with a strong sense to help others. It’s a quality he inherited from his village and family, and something he believes is a core value of Laotian culture.

More than 20 years later, Nompraseurt remains motivated. As a community organizer with the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), a nonprofit dedicated to environmental, social and economic justice, Nompraseurt recruits and trains new Laotian leaders in the community to participate in civic engagement.

At 62, with retirement fast-approaching, he is hopeful that younger Laotian Americans will continue the work he’s helped start and develop their own expertise and tools for community organizing.

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Richmond Confidential is an online news service produced by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism for, and about, the people of Richmond, California. Our goal is to produce professional and engaging journalism that is useful for the citizens of the city.

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