Celebrating Community Resilience During this Season of Remembrance

Nearly five decades ago, Saigon fell and the lives of Southeast Asian families from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam were forever changed as they navigated oceans, highlands, and rivers to survive.

Our elders left the rubble of our fallen homelands. There was uncertainty and there was fear, but what prevailed after the dust settled was hope, resilience, and an unwavering belief in us — their descendants. Together, we remember and honor the unthinkable decisions and the impossible sacrifices that our families made. We also hold those who did not survive the tragedies, and who made the ultimate sacrifice with their life, close to our hearts.

Today and every day, we honor the legacies of those who came before us by fighting for our right to heal, our right to be seen, and our right to family. SEARAC fights for access to affordable health care coverage that is culturally and linguistically appropriate. We fight for better data on SEAA student needs and outcomes as well as ethnic studies on our histories, challenges, and resilience. We fight for the dignity and rights of SEAA refugees with old criminal convictions to stay together with their families.

This special time calls for both mourning for where we have been and recognition for where we are going. This past month, Southeast Asian American (SEAA) communities uplifted our refugee stories during gatherings across the country, including California lawmakers’ commemoration of the Cambodian Genocide Remembrance Week. The April festivities during Lao and Khmer New Year served as reminders of the gift in keeping traditions alive and celebrating in community with one another. And that commemoration continues into May as Hmong communities prepare to recognize their histories in Sacramento, CA, in Minnesota, and in other regions of the country.
In this month of remembrance, we come back to ourselves and remember that it is our heritage to survive. And further, it is in our hearts to love and build community with one another — to fight for and protect each other.
In partnership,