PRESS RELEASE: COMMUNITY RALLY TO DEMAND TRANSPARENCY &ACCOUNTABILITY, RELIGIOUS RIGHTS, VOTING RIGHTS, AND FAIR ELECTION FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF WAT LAO BUDDHAVONG TEMPLE.

WHAT: LGHA is announcing the community rally to demand transparency & accountability, religious rights, voting rights, and fair election from the Board of Directors and Officers of Wat Lao Buddhavong temple.

WHERE: Across from Wat Lao Buddhavong temple, 3043 Catlett Road, Catlett, VA 20119.

WHEN: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Saturday July 3rd and Sunday July 4th, 2021.

On Saturday July 3rd and Sunday July 4th, at 11:00 AM, the LGHA and a group of organizers, along with the Lao community members across the U.S. will join together across from Wat Lao Buddhavong temple, for a rally to demand transparency, accountability, religious rights, voting rights, and fair elections.

WHY: For many years, the Washington DC Lao community members have requested transparency about financial and bank records from the WLB Board of Directors, to no avail.  There have been numerous recriminations of misuse of temple funds by the current Board of Directors, mismanagement, embezzlement, neglect of the temple property, oppression of worshippers, and a lack of transparency. The Board of Directors took out multiple loans in the amount of $1.2M and tried to conceal that from its members.  The community has demanded for an audit of WLB books since 2009. The board has failed to perform an audit despite making promises to the community that they will conduct an audit.  The community’s right to elect WLB Board of Directors was removed from the bylaws in 2006 without approval of members and the general assembly as required by law.

Members have a right to expect transparency, honesty, and openness. Unfortunately, community members have instead been bullied and intimidated in many ways, including barring them from their place of worship with no-trespass orders.  Many of the no-trespass order recipients have their loved ones’ remains in the stupas at the temple, which prevented them from visitation.  Seven members were sued by the WLB’s Board of Directors for speaking out about financial impropriety and requesting an open and fair election for a new Board of Directors, these lawsuits were subsequently dropped due to its frivolous nature.

This rally is part of our continuing campaign to fight against corruption and impunity to win the Wat Lao Buddhavong back into the hands of the Lao community.  With our rally, we endeavor to shine a light on these corruptions. In light of these reproaches, the LGHA and the Lao communities in the region and across the country and around the world, are organizing a solidarity rally on this date.  We have supporters from the Lao communities from the following states: Arizona, Washington, Oregon, California, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Missouri, Georgia, Texas, Nevada and Minnesota as well as from Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, Thailand, Singapore and Argentina.

Please join us as we campaign to fight against corruption and return the temple back to the Lao Buddhist community.

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