Jessica Pearce Rotondi
Board of Directors
“My uncle was on a covert bombing mission over Laos on March 29, 1972 when his plane was shot down by a Russian surface-to-air missile. For 36 years, my family fought the U.S. government for answers about their missing son—and American involvement in Laos.
In 2013, I traveled to Sepon, the village my uncle was bombing the night he disappeared. I’ll never forget the sight of a child’s Superman pajamas hanging on a laundry line in Sepon. This symbol of American heroism was stretched over a crater left by U.S. bombs. I spent a decade interviewing refugees, veterans, and former CIA agents about their experiences during the Secret War to write What We Inherit. My mission as a journalist and board member is to ensure that the next generation doesn’t carry the burden of this terrible “secret.” It is only through confronting the past that Americans can be true allies to the people of Laos in their fight for a safer future.”
Jessica Pearce Rotondi is a journalist and the author of a book about her family’s involvement in the U.S. bombing of Laos: What We Inherit: A Secret War and a Family’s Search for Answers. Her work has been published by The History Channel, Reader’s Digest, Vogue, Salon, Atlas Obscura, The Huffington Post, and Refinery29. Previously, she was a senior editor at The Huffington Post and a staff member at the PEN American Center, the world’s oldest literary human rights organization. Her first job in New York City was at St. Martin’s Press, where she had a “room of her own” in the Flatiron Building to fill with books. She grew up in New England and is a graduate of Brown University. Connect with Jessica on Twitter and Instagram @JessicaRotondi or visit JessicaPearceRotondi.com.