The debate over gun control continues in the United States, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December. More than 24 years ago, a similar incident devastated the Cambodian-American community in Stockton, California. The Cleveland Elementary School shooting shocked the nation, helping produce some of the gun laws that are now being debated today. It has not been forgotten. The city of Stockton, east of San Francisco, is a quiet place, where time seems to stand still. There is a quaint downtown that looks much the same as it did in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the 1980s and 1990s, it became a refuge for many Cambodians fleeing the war. A place to raise their children in peace. (Cheang Sophinarath, Stockton, CA)
Overseas supporters of the Cambodia National Rescue Party are organizing to push for the opposition's success in the July parliamentary polls in Cambodia. A major fundraiser will be held March 23 by the US-based National Rescue Foundation, with other supporters overseas to follow suit. VOA Khmer's Men Kimseng recently spoke with activist Touch Vibol to discuss the aims of the foundation and the concept of political fundraising, which is not well known in Cambodia.
After she resettled in the US 30 years ago, Sok Sovannarorth was surprised to see how differently women were treated here compared to her own country. Where in Cambodia many women are expected to stay home, Sok Sovannarorth finds herself in America balancing her profession and her family. She recently described these challenges to VOA Khmer's Men Kimseng.
Community organizers in Long Beach held a campaign last week in part to push for “wellness centers” in all of the city’s schools. A study by Khmer Girls in Action, a local advocacy group for young Cambodian-American women, found high rates of illiteracy, pregnancy and drop-outs, which they say can be mitigated by having wellness centers at schools. VOA Khmer's Cheang Sophinarath reports.
Too much foreign aid is used in Cambodia as a substitute for local revenue, making it hard for people to hold their government accountable, a US-based analyst says. Sophal Ear, author of “Aid Dependence in Cambodia,” tells VOA Khmer's Im Sothearith that when people don’t pay enough taxes, they don’t own part of the democratic process.
Long Beach, Calif., has been selected as one of 14 cities in California to receiving funding and other assistance from the California Endowment to build healthier communities, including schools. The city stands to gain tens of millions of dollars in the coming years. But first they have to ask themselves, what does a healthy school look like? A group of Cambodian-American university students met at a local Long Beach restaurant over the Christmas holiday to share their experiences, so that when they enter the professional world, they’ll have a Cambodian network. Meetings for how to create healthy communities, and build better schools, are ongoing. There are working groups for better neighborhoods, schools and air quality. The next meeting for the schools working group is on Jan. 14. More information can be found at www.bhclongbeach.org. (Cheang Sophinarath, Long Beach)