Uncover the Story of the Tai Dam Community in ‘Refugees Welcome’

Watch “Refugees Welcome” on ChimeTV powered by GoldenTV today, May 8, at 8 p.m. PT.

In the late 1970s, hundreds of thousands of Southeast Asian refugees fled their homes due to political chaos and were forced to relocate oceans away from their motherlands. Many immigrants wrote to United States officials in hopes of gaining sponsorships and a place to live. The Tai Dam, an ethnic minority group from northwest Vietnam, China, Laos and Thailand, were no exception. After writing to numerous officials and politicians around the U.S., the 1,500-person community found themselves in Iowa after the state governor Robert D. Ray defied criticism and welcomed them to the midwestern state. 

This heartwarming story is covered in the documentary “Refugees Welcome,” which airs tonight on ChimeTV powered by GoldenTV. The film highlights the Tai Dam community’s efforts to keep their culture alive in their new environment. It also follows Gov. Ray’s commitment to make space for the Tai Dam people despite naysayers in his own community. 

Narrated by journalist Laura Ling, the program highlights how one act of kindness set off a series of events that would affect generations to come. Ling, who also produced the documentary, became especially interested in the plight and history of Tai Dam. 

“As a proud Asian-American, I was intrigued and inspired by the story of the Tai Dam ethnic minority that settled in Iowa in 1975 thanks to the bold actions of Governor Robert Ray,” Ling said in an exclusive comment to Character Media. “We wanted to highlight the vibrant culture and resilience of this Southeast Asian community.” 

The documentary makes a great effort to not only tell the history of Tai Dam’s arrival in the U.S. but to also present how the community has grown in the past decades. “There’s also a special love story explored in the documentary between the granddaughter of a Tai Dam refugee and her college sweetheart that’s sure to warm the hearts of viewers,” Ling added cheekily.

With Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in full swing, “Refugees Welcome” is the perfect way to learn more about just one API diaspora group that now calls the U.S. home. Make sure to catch the documentary which streams today, May 8, on the Very Local App and at 8 p.m. PT on ChimeTV powered by GoldenTV.

And no worries if you miss tonight’s premiere — the program will air multiple times throughout the month, find the additional airings down below!

  • May 11 at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT 
  • May 19 at 11 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. PT
  • May 26 at 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT