When I was growing up, my classmates knew nothing about how and why my family and I ended up in the states. Many couldn’t even point to Cambodia on a map. Little did they know that on the other side of the globe, this tremendous atrocity had taken place taking the lives of almost 2 million people. Why should this story be of importance to Americans? In America, we fuss about our gas prices going up by 10 cents; in many other countries people fuss about not having clean water. As Americans we generally take our rights and freedoms for granted. We forget that these equalities were something we strove and fought for in order to create this nation. Teaching our students about this moment in history will help them understand how important these rights are and hopefully keep them vigilant in the fight to preserve them. It makes me feel great to see today’s youth understand that we live in a global community and that human rights should be shared by all, not just those lucky enough to be living in America.
If you are in the Bay Area, please join us tomorrow at Galileo High School, San Francisco for “Cambodian Genocide Remembrance Day.” I’m honored to be presenting at this event (and hope to see many more like it). It’s free and open to the public. Hope to see you there! (See photo for details)