One reason I love North Carolina is for the great people who have been here for generations and those that have just come to call our state home in recent years and decades.   After the Khmer Rouge terrorized the people of Cambodia and “orchestrated a genocide” in the 1970s many Cambodian people came to North Carolina.  They have started small businesses across the state, sent their children to college to become doctors, teachers, nonprofit professionals, dentists, programmers, bankers and more.  And now they are starting to raise their grandchildren – the first generation of their family to be born in the U.S.

They spent the early years of their children’s lives in refugee camps in Thailand, such as  Thailand’s Khao I Dang camp which according to the UNCHR, now that it has been reopened as an education center, will “offer[] lessons in life-saving coordination during the Cambodian exodus and responsibility-sharing to help rebuild refugees’ lives.”

Despite their hope for a better Cambodia, they are worried to see the state of politics in their home country.  Worried for family that still lives there, worried that terrible atrocities will be repeated.  Protests were organized yesterday, June 10, 2016, across the U.S.  Here is video of a D.C. protest in front of U.S. Capitol.

Cambodian Prime Minister “‘Hun Sen and his surrogates are telling American citizens that if they exercise their right to protest on US soil there will be attacks against the political opposition in Cambodia,’ said Brad Adams, Asia director. ‘The US government should say publicly that it won’t allow a leader with a proven record of violence to chill speech in the US.’”  Learn more at Human Rights Watch here.