Senator Ricardo Lara Honors Resilience of Cambodian Americans 42 Years After Murder of Millions

April 17, 2017

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 36 to recognize the contributions and resilience of California’s Cambodian American community. SCR 36 proclaims Cambodian Genocide Remembrance Week from April 17 to April 23.

Cambodian Americans from across California journeyed to Sacramento for the vote, including many from Long Beach, which hosted the first Cambodian Genocide Remembrance Day in 2015.

"Long Beach is home to the nation's largest Cambodian population, and it is important to me that the Cambodian Genocide is recognized each year to honor the lives lost,” said Sen. Lara. “The resilience of survivors and their families is a true testament to the human spirit. I'm proud this national event started in California, where we believe immigrants and refugees make us stronger."

SCR 36 marks the 42nd anniversary of the start of one of the bloodiest genocides of the 20th century. Nearly 2 million Cambodians were executed, tortured, starved, and subjected to inhumane conditions and disease by Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979.

The massacre sparked the migration of 140,000 refugees to the United States, where many settled in California.

April 17 also marks Cambodian Genocide Remembrance Day, which started in 2015 in Long Beach with the support of Senator Lara, who represents the largest population of Cambodian descent outside Southeast Asia. The event has spread to cities across the United States and is called National Day of Remembrance.

“Thanks to the support of Senator Ricardo Lara, the Cambodian American community marked our first day of remembrance in 2015 to reflect our unique history and contributions, and now we have inspired a national movement,” said Thary Ung, a Long Beach community leader who visited the California Senate today. “Today we join hands with Cambodian communities in Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington to remember and heal.”