I hope this message finds you safe and well.
This campaign page is dedicated to supporting our small businesses in Cambodia Town, Long Beach that are facing unprecedented challenges. Not only have our local businesses suffered because of the Covid-19 pandemic, now some are also losing property as a result of looting and vandalism. This fund is not just for Cambodian businesses, but for any business in the Cambodia Town district affected by the looting and vandalism. I know you may be thinking that their insurance will cover the damages, but this isn’t the case. While basic liability insurance is required for all businesses, looting and pandemic are not covered in most of these plans. These are extraordinary times, and our local businesses need our help.
As you know, our community has already begun to rally in response to the global pandemic. Over the last couple of months, we've been coordinating food drives and delivering vital PPE supplies to nurses and medications for our seniors. A few weeks ago, I walked the street with Monorom Neth, the Executive Director of MidTown BID and Frederick Sor, the Economic Development for United Cambodian Community. Wearing masks, we walked from block to block, store to store, talking to business owners, listening to their comments and feedback. Many are struggling, some have closed – permanently, but most are happy to know that they have gotten the green light to reopen soon. And then, it happened….
The public execution of Mr. George Floyd is heartbreaking and devastating for our whole country. We send our deepest condolences to his family and stand by the Black community in their desire for a country in which all people are safe from violence and discrimination.
The protesting is necessary! From Rodney King, to Trayvon Martin, to Eric Garner, and all of the names now ingrained in our history, the tragedy, the injustice, go on and on. I understand why Kaepernick knelt. I am in solidarity with our Black friends, neighbors, and family. I was there protesting in downtown Long Beach because Black Lives Matter, #BlackLivesMatter.
The protesting was peaceful. However, some have taken advantage of this tragedy, coming from out of town just wanting to loot, burn, and cause damage. And they did.
Cambodia Town is our home. It is home to the largest concentration of Khmer outside of Southeast Asia. Like many of you, I was born in Cambodia, but I grew up in Long Beach. I love the community, the diversity, the culture, the food, the people. In 2007, the Long Beach City Council unanimously approved the concept of Cambodia Town, a one mile long business corridor along Anaheim street between Atlantic and Junipero avenues in the Eastside of Long Beach, California. Then made it official in 2009. In 2011, the street signs went up. I am a proud sponsor of one of those fourteen signs.
Many Cambodians, including myself are refugees who survived the Killing Fields and came to America with nothing but flip-flops, some clothes that we got at the refugee camp, and maybe a pot and pan. In the early 80's, Anaheim street was a ghost town, until Cambodians started to open businesses. I have seen this community built from the ground up. Now Anaheim street is one of the busiest intersections in Long Beach. Customers come from the local community, from out of town, and even from out of the country just to visit. We have a community center, a parade, and a film festival! We are Cambodian Americans and very proud of it.
A couple days ago, after the destruction, I went back to the same streets, walking the same blocks, going to those same stores that were ready to reopen just weeks ago, only now to assess the damages done by the looters. I talked with the owner and employee, listened to their stories and watched them cry. I had to do something. They were hesitant at first, but I insure them that the service and supplies are free. Me and some friends helped clean up the shattered glasses, repair broken security gates, and help board up windows. At other location different group were helping out as well. It just to show that we love our community. We are exhausted, but we will not be defeated.
I created this campaign as an individual community member because our town’s locally owned and operated businesses urgently need our help right now. The money from this fundraising is for cleaning; replacing windows; repairing or getting new security gates; painting walls; installing new doors, cabinets, chairs, tables etc... whatever they need to safely reopen. I will give the money directly to the businesses that are in dire need of our support.
Keep in mind that each business needs tens of thousands of dollars to recover, so our local businesses need all the help we can give them. Remember, many of these businesses has been giving to the community, they helped sponsored parade, sarong party, culture shows and film festival, now it's time for us to help them back. They're not asking for much, just enough to get back on their feet, back to business. This is for that friendly neighborhood shop where the owners know you by your first name, the store with 10-year-old kid working the cash register because their parents run the place, that corner market now owned by immigrants and refugees who came here with nothing. This is for the hangs, the shops, the markets, and the bodegas. I will responsibly allocate the funds accordingly. #WeLoveCambodiaTown
This campaign will end TUESDAY, JULY 7TH, 2020.
Donate what you can. If you can't donate, no problem; you can still help by simply sharing this.
If you like to donate directly, you can reach me at:
Thank you in advance. Stay safe, stay strong, and take care.
- praCh Ly
Interview with Voice Of America about this fundraising:
New VIDEO. Filmed on June 11, 2020:
- Serei Prak
- R Coxen