Members of the Long Beach community honor victims of the Khmer Rouge during Cambodian Genocide Remembrance Day.
Survivors of the Khmer Rouge tearfully shared their stories growing up during Cambodian nationalist Pol Pot’s regime, which claimed the lives of almost two million people. April 17, 2019 marked the 44th anniversary of the fall of Phnom Penh to the Khmer Rouge guerrillas. The Long Beach Cambodian community hosted Cambodian Genocide Remembrance Day Wednesday to honor those affected by one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century. The event featured traditional song, prayer and a panel discussion with people who were directly affected by Pol Pot’s regime.
Flower wreaths were decorated with ribbons reading Long Beach officials’ names and the phrase, “We Remember 1975-1979” to commemorate the 44th anniversary of the Khmer Rouge. 4/17
Master of Ceremony Charles Song tearfully speaks about his life growing up during the Cambodian Genocide. He said everyone had to evacuate the capital city when Phnom Penh fell to Pol Pot’s regime. “It was only three days into the process that everyone of us realized the horror that took place [for] three years, eight months and 20 days,” he said. 4/17
Huoy Lor, board member of Cambodia Town Inc., prays during a traditional Cambodian Buddhist ‘Bang Skol’ ceremony. 4/17
Joe Ung (left), Bill Sive (middle) and a woman who wishes to remain anonymous (right) pray during a traditional Cambodian Buddhist ‘Bang Skol’ ceremony. 4/17
Soup Pha sings a Cambodian ballad called ‘Pong Savada Khmer.’ 4/17
Yoshi Sok cradles 7-month-old Yoshi Dara Sky Sok during a meditation honoring victims of the Cambodian Genocide. Yoshi Sok is a 1.5 generation Cambodian, who grew up in a Cambodian refugee camp. 4/17
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia honors victims of Pol Pot’s regime that targeted artists, intellectuals, leaders and the youth. “It was a systemic commitment to destroying a culture and a people,” he said. 4/17
Chilynna Lo shares her experiences growing up during the Khmer Rouge. At 11 years old, she was forced to work 16-hour days at a labor camp. 4/17
Attendees of Cambodian Genocide Remembrance Day listen to a group of panelists sharing their experiences during the Khmer Rouge. 4/17
Second generation Cambodian American Kerry Chhai writes on a paper lotus to honor those who have died during the Cambodian genocide. 4/17
Laura Som contributes to an interactive public art activity created by Sayon Syprasoeuth. The art installation utilizes paper lotus flowers, where attendees write names of people affected by the Cambodian Genocide. 4/17
James Chow is a fourth year journalism and communication studies major and has written for the Daily 49er for nearly two years. He has worked in various positions for the publication, including staff writer, assistant news editor and news editor. Chow’s coverage for the Daily 49er spans across Associated Students Inc. student government, the Cal State system, Long Beach community politics and campus life. He currently hosts and produces the Daily 49er’s news podcast, “Beach Weekly.” By the time his presence on earth comes to an end, Chow plans to have his ashes turned into a tree in an effort to stifle global warming and to say he did his part in the university’s Imagine Beach 2030 initiative. Post-academic career, he plans to continue writing human interest and lifestyle stories for local magazines. Chow loves one of his two dogs, has a budding collection of NBA jerseys and enjoys spending his free time on eBay.