Tou Lee was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on December 30, 2000. He is about to begin his second year of high school. We asked him about his experience of growing up as an ethnic minority. Lee responded that he always had a wide array of friends, "I usually hangout with a wide variety of races." His tale of growing up in Milwaukee is quite different from the hardships experienced by his parents Phua and Chao.
Part of the reason Lee's father, Chao, became a pastor was because his father was one too. In Lao culture, careers are usually passed down through the family. As a first generation American Lee feels that he can decide what career he chooses to pursue. At the moment, he plans to be a pastor like his dad, because "he can't really see himself doing anything else." However, he is keeping his options open.
Living in large cities that have high crime rates can prove to be nerve wracking. Lee said that sometimes he hears gunshots at night and hears stories of people being killed. He would like to see the surrounding community improve. He knows that his father chose to live in this neighborhood because he wanted to contribute to the community, make it safer, and enhance the quality of life here.
Tou Lee, Interviewed by the BLC Field School, June 2016