October 11, 2008

Lowell-Massachussets, a Cambodian American city

A full text story (in French and Khmer) about the history of Lowell and how the Cambodian-American community has settled there was published online at this link: http://ka-set.info/actualites/cultures-et-societe/cambodge-etats-unis-lowell-americain-massahusetts-immigres-080910.html

Lowell holds the second largest Cambodian American community in the United States after Long Beach, California. The first Cambodian immigrants in Lowell were refugees who arrived in the early 80's. By 1990, they were 10 000, today they are 30 000 representing about 30% of the whole population of the city.

With its economical, social or cultural activities, its restaurants, its presence in the school system and on the local community medias, with its dancers and artists, and with the first-ever Cambodian American elected to a city council, the Cambodian American community of Lowell has definitely "shaped" the city in a way no other community has done before.

In the "Acres", the traditionnal immigrant neighborhood of Lowell, where most Cambodian Americans are living.

At Lowell Community Charter Public School, Vera Thong Tith, a Cambodian language teacher who has lived in the United States for 28 years, teaches 8th graders on their first day back at school after the Summer break.

Rithy Uong was the first Cambodian American elected as City Councillor in the United States. He served as a Council Member of Lowell from 2000 to 2005. He currently occupies the position of Guidance Counselor at Lowell High School.

Cambodian American Peter Veth (center), 21, and his friends have a break during the rehearsal of the Angkor Dance Troupe of Lowell.

Mrs. Rachana Khiev (left) from Minnesota and Sophea Chamroeun (right) from Lynn, Massachussets are rehearsing one of the last battles of the Reamker, the Cambodian version of the Ramayana, at the Angkor Dance Troupe of Lowell. Both of them are Masters of Cambodian Dance, trained at the Royal Fine Arts University of Phnom Penh, before they emigrated to the United States.

Cambodian native Ang Pheng presents “Chivoet Thmey” (“New Life”), a TV program for the Cambodian community of Lowell, inside the studio of Lowell Telecommunications Corporation.

Cambodian native Eang Chhay, 76 years old, is reading a text about morality, education and good manners of living on “Voice of Cambodian Children”, a weekly program broadcasted on WUML 91.5 FM, Lowell.

Cambodian native Yari Livan, 54 years old, is sculptor and visual arts professor in a school of Lowell. In his garden he proudly shows a plaster copy head of Javayarman VII, the most famous King from the Angkor period.

. . See more stories about the Cambodian Americans in the archives of this blog! ..

South East 2008 Water Festival of Lowell

A full text story (in French and Khmer) about the 2008 Water Festival of Lowell has been published online at this link: http://ka-set.info/actualites/cultures-et-societe/cambodge-etats-unis-lowell-fete-eaux-080917.html

Organized in August since 1997 on the banks of the River Merricmack in Lowell, the South East Asian Water Festival gathers now more than 50 000 people coming from all over the United States and Canada.

2 boats imported from Laos allowed five teams to compete.

On the stage, Lao, Thai and Cambodian pop bands and singers... classical and traditionnal dances as well.

This year, after a couple of sweeps and arrests by the American Immigration Services in Lowell, the organisation "Deported Diaspora" raised awareness at the Water Festival among the Cambodian American community on the issue of deportation.

At the booth of "Deported Diaspora", 600 signatures of support were recieved.

After the music and the dances, the final touch of the event with the election of Miss Water Festival 2008.

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See more stories about the Cambodian Americans in the archives of this blog! ..

Metta Health Center of Lowell

Dorcas Grigg-Saito, happy CEO of Lowell Community Health Center, in front of Metta, a center dedicated to South East Asian people in Lowell, Massachussets.

A text story (in French and Khmer) talking about the Metta Health Center of Lowell has been published online at this link: http://ka-set.info/actualites/cultures-et-societe/cambodge-massachusetts-lowell-communaute-association-cmaa-metta-080925.html

The Metta Health Center was created in 2000 to answer the specific needs of South East Asian patients, majority of them being from Cambodian origin. At Metta, 90% of the staff is from Cambodia or Laos. All signs are translated from English into these two Asian languages. Khmer and Lao art pieces are displayed on many walls of the center. If needed, a traduction service is provided. For those who don't have high incomes, or no income at all or no insurance, state and federal mecanisms are available to support and make sure that they can recieve the best treatment or health services possible even if they can't afford it.

Cambodian native Chhan Touch D’Avanzo - a survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime – a Family Nurse Practitioner at the Metta Health Center will soon graduate with a Phd in Nursing, the first ever Cambodian American to reach that level in the United States.

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See more stories about the Cambodian Americans in the archives of this blog! ..