Vision process for Cambodian Cultural Center of Long Beach approved by City Council • Long Beach Post News


A unanimous council vote approved a request by City Councilor Suely Saro for the city to begin a feasibility and visioning process for a potential center that could showcase the culture, art and history of the Cambodian people of the region. city.

Saro, who became the city’s first Cambodian elected to city council last year, said building a center would allow the next generation of Cambodians and the general public to experience the art and culture of the people. khmer.

“It would make the dreams of so many Cambodians living in Long Beach come true,” Saro said. Long Beach has one of the largest populations of Cambodians in the country following the genocide that took place in Cambodia from the late 1970s. The projected number of Cambodians living in the city has fluctuated over the years, some estimates reaching 50,000.

A member of the Cambodian community spoke out in favor of the vote, saying it could help preserve the rich history of their ancestors, much of which was lost when the Khmer Rouge ruled the country from 1975 to 1979.

“The center will be essential in enabling us to move from the absence of history and self to known history and self-knowledge,” said Daniel Ung, who spoke on behalf of Cambodia Town Thrives, an organization focused on the future development of Cambodia Town.

The idea of ​​a cultural center was celebrated by Cambodian residents who told council it would give them the opportunity not to be defined as survivors of a genocide that displaced them, but rather by their culture and their story.

Charles Song, a community activist, said the genocide had left an emotional mark on members of his community and that the proposed center could offer a chance to heal.

Saro’s request noted that a consultant to help engage the public for the vision process could cost more than $ 50,000 and to develop it, the council may need to reallocate money intended for other needs of the vision. city ​​or take funds from city reserves. No estimate of what the center might ultimately cost has been given.

In March, the council voted to start a similar process for a Latino cultural quarter. The city’s efforts to create an African-American cultural center are more advanced. This visualization process took about eight months, although the organizers are still looking for a permanent home for it. There is no deadline for the return of a feasibility report to the municipal council.

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