The Bryan Thao Worra Fund

For: Bryan Thao Worra
Organizer: The BTW Champions
The Bryan Thao Worra Fund (Bryan Thao Worra)
$10,089
of $9,000 goal.
Raised by 165 donors
100% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

Award-winning Lao American poet, Bryan Thao Worra, is currently moving between public libraries, coffee shops, homes and other temporary spaces. Last year, he struggled with minimal writing gigs that put his total income well under the poverty line, as his health conditions continue to be problematic. Bryan’s hope in his next chapter is to travel across the states to continue his work researching, writing, and documenting. He’ll need space, time, and the means to get around and allow him to do what he does best: creating and writing. As his friends, we're raising funds to help him get back to being Bryan. We need funds for a used car and to assist with living expenses that will help get him through the rest of this year. Help us help him and continue to do what he most passionate about. For himself and our community. 


BRYAN’S CURRENT NEEDS

$7,000 - Used car for sustainable transportation

$1,000 - Car maintenance, insurance and gas

$1,000 - Expenses for food, healthcare and personal needs 

*If you are unable to donate funds, we welcome any in-kind donations that you’re able to contribute. 100% of funds goes directly to Bryan Thao Worra's PayPal account.*


BRYAN’S BIO

Bryan Thao Worra is an internationally-acclaimed award-winning Lao American writer, poet and community trailblazer. He is a dedicated advocate for social justice through the arts. He holds over 20 awards for his work including an NEA Fellowship in Literature and was a Cultural Olympian representing Laos during the 2012 London Summer Games. The author of 6 books,his work appears internationally including Australia, Canada, Scotland, Germany, France, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Korea, and Pakistan. Learn more about his work on his daily blog: http://thaoworra.blogspot.com, which features Asian American science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

BRYAN’S IMPACT

  • 20+ awards
  • Published 6 books
  • Published 1,000+ blog posts
  • Featured in more than 10 publications, media articles and more
  • Founded the National Lao Writers Summit which has reached Minneapolis, San Diego and Seattle; bringing together more than hundreds of creatives together to convene and discuss the present and future of Lao America.
  • Secured more than $100,000 grants for community-based organizations, artists and social changemakers to continue their mission.

WORDS BY BRYAN

In my work as a writer, I’ve always been an advocate for the speculative arts in refugee communities. My roots are in Vientiane, Laos and the diaspora following the Laotian Civil War. The clandestine nature of our conflict, often referred to as The Secret War, influences my writing, particularly the various ways different cultures try to shape or obliterate inconvenient elements of our shared story. The techniques of both poetry and science fiction resonate with me as key methods to address this.” -Bryan Thao Worra on Little Laos on the Prairie.

OUR THANK YOU

We know how much Bryan means to you. As a thank you for lifting him up, our team of creatives is offering the below thank you gifts for the indicated $ levels. For your contribution, it’s your choice if you would like a gift or not. Items are limited supply. Since the team is volunteer-based, all costs associated with shipping + handling must be covered by recipient. For questions or if you choose to have a gift, please send us a message to check on availability and details.

Updated as of 1/13/17 at 7:00AM CST

  • $500 - Portrait painted by award-winning artist Mali Kouanchao (4 available)
  • $150 - Digital portrait of you/friend/loved one illustrated by acclaimed graphic designer Mike Davis (3 available)
  • $100 - 1-Hour Photo Session by Krysada Binly Phounsiri (Note: CA only, 3 available)
  • $75 - “Dragon” Art Print by LA-based artist Sayon Syprasoeuth(4 available, 20x30” size)
  • $40 - Batik and Faux Fur Infinity Scarf By Buatique (20 available)
  • $20 - Batik Apron by Buatique (25 available)

We know very little people who have not been impacted by the presence and inspiration of Bryan work. Bryan would tell a room full of young writers that, “I write because there are others in this world who aren’t able to.” And “sometimes a cup of coffee gets you a cup of coffee,” he often jokes. Few friends are like the legendary Bryan Thao Worra. He knows the art of wordsmithing that holds weight, meaning and a pathway to our hearts and minds. He's transformative and shifts worlds to better places than it once were through his poetry alone. He opens up doors to our consciousness to what’s possible-- social change through the arts and imagination. His generous ability to advocate and blaze pathways for the arts and fellow underrepresented Asian American communities is unmatched. He has inspired hundreds who’ve come to know him as a writer, mentor and above all else, a damn good friend. This year is Bryan's 10th anniversary of his first book and it’s overdue time that he is deserving of our community’s help to lift him back up as much as he has lifted us.

In gratitude, 
The BTW Champions

Chanida Phaengdara Potter, Mali Kouanchao, Mike Davis, Channapha Khamvongsa, Nor Sanavongsay, Saymoukda Vongsay, Catzie Vilayphonh, Sayon Syprasoeuth, Krysada Panusith Phounsiri, Sunny Chanthanouvong

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on January 19, 2017

UpdateImage

Posted on January 19, 2017

UPDATE FROM BRYAN:

It's no secret this has been one of the most difficult months of my
life, with a year that began with a deep uncertainty where I was going
to sleep and what was going to happen next. Today, after a seven-day
campaign led by many of my friends, we met and exceeded our goal of
$9,000 to help get me back on my feet. I appreciate all of you who are
continuing to donate funds and other forms of support to the campaign,
because every little bit helps. There's still a long way to go for me
in the coming year ahead as I take the next steps in trying to find
someplace to rebuild. I particularly appreciate all of you who have
offered me a place to stay when I'm in your area, and I'll be keeping
everyone informed as plans and opportunities emerge.

I'm thankful that I can now comfortable search for a suitable vehicle
for the upcoming phase. Knowing that I have the sufficient funds gives
me approximately six weeks to do a careful and thorough search, rather
than scrambling in a panic. I'm presently in the process of
decluttering and streamlining my possessions down to the essentials
until things pick up again, and I'm getting some critical paperwork
and standing health issues examined and addressed finally.  I couldn't
have done this without you.

I am happy to report there are some exceptional and positive
opportunities ahead in the coming year for me now. I recently
completed a project for the Smithsonian for an upcoming festival
anticipated in August, and have accepted an invitation to be a
featured reader at the Southeast Asian American Studies Conference in
Lowell, Massachusetts. This will be the very first time I've presented
in Massachusetts, and it will be few days before I mark the 10th
anniversary of my first full-length book of poetry, On The Other Side
Of The Eye. This Spring, I look forward to rejoining my fellow Lao
American artists and community builders in Seattle for the National
Lao American Writers Summit. It's been three years since I was last in
Seattle, and this gathering is meaningful to me for many reasons.  The
details are still being negotiated and finalized, but it looks like I
will have an opportunity to work with the community in the California
Central Valley on a humanities project.

When I get stressed out, I write. And so I am happy to report that
I've been able to put together a new poetry manuscript of
approximately 90 pages that I'll probably edit down considerably.
Additionally, I've been able to prepare over 100 posts for my blog
already for 2017 profiling some of the amazing poets, artists and key
figures in the science fiction poetry community and the Asian American
literary community, and some posts on the importance of imagination in
refugee resettlement. I think you'll really enjoy them. I was finally
able to get a working laptop vs. the one I had that was being
literally held together by masking tape and Elmer's Glue until
recently. I also had a good used lens for my camera donated recently.
What excites me about that in particular is that I'm now able to
record new videos which has not been possible realistically for me
since 2009, or 8 years. So, in addition to reading some of my newer
poems, I'm looking forward to interviewing many of the exciting and
interesting thinkers and artists I come across in the journey ahead,
and sharing that with you as I go. I'm also happy to report that many
of my mentees are making considerable and touching strides in their
creative work. I'm proud of them, and I look forward to them sharing
their art and their stories with you in the very near future.

I'll close this for now, but I look forward to having many more
positive things to report, soon.

Khop jai lai, hak phaeng,

B.

Posted on January 19, 2017

UpdateImage

Posted on January 19, 2017

Simply speechless. We are amazed and inspired by your generosity. Our sincere thank you to community of friends and strangers alike for believing in and lifting Bryan back up. We know how much he means to you because in less than one week, Bryan has already reached his goal at over $9,000. We know this will ensure that Bryan can continue his journey as a writer in safe shelter-- and we're grateful to you. 

"Get back to writing, you!" was Bryan's notorious line to emerging writers and young mentees. Bryan held on to decades of only giving more then he was receiving and his dedication to our respective communities will not end here. We started The Bryan Thao Worra Fund to not only nudge him to do the same, but to be remind him to continue his legacy that he's built.

Bryan is beyond humbled by everyone's outpouring support. He's currently checking out car listings, pushing for more writing gigs, and working on his master 'next steps' plan. We'll work with him and trust his promise to us to use these funds to catapult and sustain his future work. 

In the meantime, keep sharing Bryan's words and work and contributing to his legacy. 

Don't forget that our team of volunteer creatives is offering thank you gifts to our donors for their contributions. It's your choice if you would like a gift or not. Just let us know-- we're happy to do so! More updates to come soon!

With deepest gratitude,
The BTW Champions


Posted on January 17, 2017

Posted on January 17, 2017

Thank you, thank you, thank you.As the saying goes: Never underestimate the power of good in friends and strangers in all the right places. We haven't reached a week yet and we're already close to meeting Bryan's goal but we need to keep ensuring he'll find the right car that is good and reliable for him. Let's keep pushing forward!

An open letter from one of Bryan's mentees, Saymoukda: 

Dear Friends,

Any writer worth their words will tell you this, “Get you a mentor that will condition you to believe that you can accomplish anything if given the opportunity by your own determination.” Ten years ago I got me one of those mentors. You may have heard of him: multi-award-winning literary Olympian, writer, and incubator of today’s Laotian American literary ecosystem that goes by Bryan Thao Worra aka Worra Da Literary Destroya.

Keep reading. I’m about to melt your heart, I promise.

An emerging poet twelve years ago, I was fresh-faced and delusionally optimistic (to his amusement). Although I was trained in English Literature at the state University, I was clueless to the Real World of Writers. It was hard-core. Bryan held my hand, ushered me through obstacles like rejection letters from publishers, and taught me how to negotiate the unwritten in my poems. I was nurtured creatively and professionally. As my mentor, Bryan gave me the opportunity to co-chair the very first Lao American Writers Summit - the largest gathering of Laotian American writers in Minnesota. It was the first time someone entrusted me to meet a leadership role. As he did that spring of 2010, he has relentlessly, boundlessly continued to share tools for my empowerment as a woman, a writer, and cultural producer. Most importantly, my mentor instilled in me, the passion to see the magic in others.

Right now, my mentor needs me - needs all of us, to support him relentlessly, boundlessly. He wasn’t only a mentor to me, but a mentor to MANY. Dozens officially and probably hundreds unintentionally. He can’t help it. He’s a 5’10” ball of encouragement. Need a letter of support for that scholarship? Bryan’s got you. Want to start up a small press? Bryan’s got you. Desperate for a pair of trained eyes to edit your manuscript? Holla at Bryan. It makes you wonder if he sleeps. He does. He’s only human.

Bryan is in a transitional time of his life where the desire for MOVEMENT creatively and the necessity of MOVEMENT physically are intersecting. Creatively, Bryan continues to do his thing. However, his ability to continue as an artist, as a community organizer, and as a mentor to all of us, is hinged on whether or not Bryan has shelter and reliable transportation. On behalf of Bryan’s dozens of mentees and friends, I’m urging you to help financially.

Your financial contribution will do the most to lessen Bryan’s financial and safety worries from January through June. Please donate what you are able to. Our ask is urgent. Bryan’s ask is urgent. Our answer back must be: We got you.

On behalf of the Bryan’s friends, family, and community...

Respectfully,

Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay

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