Author Archives: KGA Staff

Next COVID-19 Surge Calls for Leadership and Action

Khmer Translation

Dear Beloved Community,

We wish you a safe and healthy holiday season. Whether you are a current or older member of KGA, a volunteer or supporter, in this moment we are calling for your leadership and support.

As you know, we are still in a global health crisis and it will soon be nine months since we’ve had to shelter in place.  California is now in its third spike of COVID-19 with a Regional Stay Home Order issued on December 3, 2020, which takes effect “if intensive care unit (ICU) capacity drops below 15% in a region”.  

Currently Southern California, LA County, and Long Beach are considered widespread, high- risk areas, with less than 12% Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity at the county level.  With the rise in cases each day, it is projected that by mid-December there will be a shortage in ICU units.   This means that those who test positive for COVID-19 who need ventilators as well as people in our community who have suffered heart attacks, strokes or other medical complications will have an even harder time accessing intensive care treatment when they need it most.

Spanning November 24th through December 8th, there was a 55% increase of COVID-19 cases with a 70% increase in hospitalizations bringing our state totals up to over 10,000 hospitalizations.  Admission to intensive care units has increased by 68% in this same time frame.  Long Beach has now recorded 19,000 people testing positive for COVID-19 and during this holiday season, as people still gather, the numbers are likely to increase each day.

Intergenerational trauma, high poverty rates and systemic barriers to employment, affordable housing and access to culturally-informed health care are some of the factors that place our community at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.   Our loved ones may need more consistent support in understanding COVID-19 prevention; it might also be difficult to self- quarantine, shelter in place, work from home or know how to take care of our family members who have been affected.

We are reaching out to you to lead and share information and resources to your loved ones.  Every year, youth leaders tell us that KGA is family and a second home.  Your loved ones to us, are also family, the people we represent for and deeply care about.

We cannot stress enough how critical it is to follow health advisories from our city, county and state officials, especially amidst so much misinformation and pressure to re-open public spaces too soon.  Additionally, there may be long-term health complications for those who recover from COVID-19, placing more burden on our families who are already struggling in these challenging times.

Please talk with your friends and family about how to slow the spread of COVID-19, save lives, and support the health and self-determination of our community.

If you or your loved ones would like to share your story, or consider sharing your experience to advocate for equity in our city, please email us at justice@kgalb.org.

Remember, you are not alone.  We will get through this in community.  We look forward to the day we can celebrate again together.

Like a Lotus, We Rise!

Lian Cheun
Executive Director

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Data and information in this letter, including latest COVID-19 updates can be found at:

To get tested for COVID-19 or request information visit or call:

To learn more about community care, mental health resources and mutual aid visit:

KGA Welcomes New Staff Member!

KGA is excited to welcome Mayta to our team!

Mayta Lor is a second-generation Hmong American, born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, with her bachelor’s degree in History and Southeast Asian Studies and a Certificate in Asian American Studies. Mayta has over ten years of experience working with Asian and Pacific Islander youth and over five years of professional nonprofit experience in grant writing, strategic fundraising, and building key partnerships. She has worked with nonprofit organizations such as LEAP (Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics), the Little Tokyo Community Council, MAASU (Midwest Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Student Association), and the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent. Mayta is passionate about community empowerment, creating intentional leadership pipelines, and advocating for resources and equal opportunities for marginalized communities and communities of color. She hopes to continue creating a more equitable world in affirming and empowering the experiences, ideas, and leadership of Southeast Asian women and youth of color.

Save the Date: Long Beach Gives is on Thurs. Sept 24th!

Long Beach Gives is a 24-hour, online giving day that provides 150 + Long Beach nonprofits the opportunity to share their stories and build relationships with new donors and the community.

On Thursday, September 24, 2020, Help KGA fundraise and reach our $10K goal!
Join us & #LongBeachGives in celebrating and supporting the critical work of Long Beach nonprofits.

You can donate directly on our LB Gives Page or be a volunteer fundraiser.
Early giving starts on Thursday, Sept 17th!

For additional questions or info, please email justice@kgalb.org with LB Gives Fundraiser in the subject line.

KGA Recognized as a 2020 Non-Profit of the Year

2020 CA Non Profit of the Year

Long Beach, August 20, 2020 – Khmer Girls in Action is proud to announce it has been selected as a 2020 California Nonprofit of the Year by Senator Lena Gonzalez, representing California’s 33rd Senate District!

Khmer Girls in Action (KGA) is one of over a hundred other nonprofits that will be honored by their state senators and assembly members for their tremendous contributions to the communities they serve.

Khmer Girls in Action invests in the leadership of young people to create social change needed in their community. Youth knowledge, power and experiences drive the organizations campaigns and create programs that uplift Southeast Asian women and youth to be community leaders who dismantle systemic oppression and advance gender, racial and economic justice.

Associate Director and founding member, Sophya Chum exclaims, “On behalf of our members, alumni, board & staff, Khmer Girls in Action would like to thank Senator Lena Gonzalez for this recognition! It is an honor to continue to work alongside leaders who advocate for the health and well-being of women, youth and our communities.”

Link to full Press Release

The Smithsonian Highlights Khmer Girls in Action!

Khmer Girls in Action Featured in National Museum of American History Series by the Smithsonian Institution


Without a doubt, youth have shaped the course of history and fought fiercely for our democracy. Southeast Asian youth in Long Beach have empowered those with deep-rooted fear and trauma with the government to participate in civic engagement and turn out in elections.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History archives generations of courage and resistance in Young People Shake Up Elections (History Proves It) a video series where KGA is featured in Episode 4: Getting Informed!

Check Out the Whole Series Here: https://americanhistory.si.edu/democracy-exhibition/education/young-people-and-elections

GET YOUR VOTE ON | Read our latest Newsletter

GET YOUR VOTE ON!

We have a lot of things happening, read on to find out how you can help!

11 Days to Vote!

The California Voter’s Choice Act brings 11 days of voting starting this weekend, Saturday, February 22nd through election day on Tuesday, March 3rd!  

This new model makes voting accessible for everyday people to vote on weekends and have access to translated materials in 13 languages!  

Our vote is our power!  Visit www.lavote.net for more information.

PHONE BANKERS

Thursday, February 27th- Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020 is a big year to connect, educate and mobilize our communities to vote! Our Integrated Voter Engagement Program is seeking volunteers to phone bank this week and for our summer and fall field campaigns.

Bi-lingual speakers in Khmer and Spanish and those with experience in canvassing are strongly encouraged to sign up and volunteer!

TUTORS

Every Monday & Wednesday 3:30- 5:30 PM

Our LIFE Program is seeking tutors from March through May. If you have experience working with high school students and/ or excel in the subject areas of Math, English and Science, consider volunteering today! Sign Up to Volunteer.

Read on in our Latest Newsletter: Click Here


 

 

The Welcoming and Safe Schools for All Model Resolution

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The Welcoming and Safe Schools for All model resolution focuses on expanding “safe haven” schools to include all students impacted by the current climate of fear, hate, and discrimination. It provides commitments for local education agencies to take action in three broad areas to proactively uplift Welcoming and Safe Schools for All Students––Safety and Protection, Supports and Services, and Affirming and Celebrating Diversity.

The model resolution emerged from a successful delegation meeting of youth leaders from organizations affiliated with Youth Organize! California network with State Superintendent Tom Torlakson’s office, organized by the Advancement Project and Movement Strategy Center in May 2017. Since May 2017, an ad hoc committee of youth organizations including Genders and Sexualities Alliance Network, Californians for Justice, RYSE Center, Khmer Girls in Action, Del Norte and Tribal Lands Building Healthy Communities, Resilience Orange County, Dolores Huerta Foundation, and InnerCity Struggle have worked with the Advancement Project and Movement Strategy Center to draft a model resolution on Welcoming and Safe Schools for All.

The resolution highlights the experiences and needs of indigenous, African American, Latinx, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander students, undocumented, immigrant, and refugee students, transgender and LGBTQ students, Muslim and Sikh students, homeless students, English Learner students, foster youth, low-income students, students with special needs, and students impacted by the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

For more info visit https://yocalifornia.org/content/welcoming-safe-schools

 

Now Accepting Applications for our Youth Programs!

Khmer Girls in Action is ready for another exciting year of empowering youth, building leadership and community power!  We are now accepting applications to our Young Women’s Empowerment Program and our Young Men’s Empowerment Program!

If you are a Khmer/ Southeast Asian sophomore or freshman who wants to make this school year fun while learning about your identity, culture and social justice then apply today!

Applications are due on FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14TH!!!

YOUNG WOMEN’S EMPOWER PROGRAM (YWEP) Application
YOUNG MEN’S EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM (YMEP) Application

We prioritize Southeast Asian freshmen and sophomores who attend Poly, PAAL or Wilson and who live in Central Long Beach or in zip codes: 90806, 90813, and 90804.  However, if you have transportation to and from our office and back to your home, then please apply!   If you are not Southeast Asian but would still like to be part of KGA, you can also join our school club!  More info on clubs coming soon!

Not sure if you qualify? If you have any questions or would like more information please contact:
Alisha – alisha@kgalb.org  or Johnny- johnny@kgalb.org
You can also message us on IG @kgalongbeach

Our workshops take place once a week at our office which is located at
1355 Redondo Avenue Suite #9
Long Beach, Ca 90804
562.986.9415 | www.kgalb.org

 

The Solution to Violence is Social Justice & Human Connection: A National Call to Action from Youth Organizers

As youth organizers rooted in working class and low-income communities of color, we are well acquainted with the pain that is felt when loved ones are lost to violence. Our hearts and solidarity are with the community members of Parkland, FL. We are also excited and inspired by the young people from Marjory Stoneman High School who have chosen to channel their grief and anger into a fight for change. Many of us became activists in direct response to injustices perpetrated against us, our families, and our communities. We too are dissatisfied with the status quo we inherited. We too feel the call to change this society we live in.

Unfortunately violence in America comes in many shapes and forms. Everyday in our communities we see both individual acts of interpersonal harm as well as state violence enacted by police, courts, immigration agents, and even our schools. Regardless of how it is expressed, one thing we know from personal experience is that violence causes pain. It takes people away from us, whether through death, incarceration, or deportation. It destroys families and it traumatizes young people. As we try to make sense of yet another mass shooting, we invite the rest of the country to join us in analyzing root causes and demanding transformative solutions.

We unite with the Parkland youth who have called on the entire country to move beyond thoughts and prayers and move into meaningful action. And we urge those concerned with making progress to think beyond the narrow debate of gun control vs. gun rights. Yes, we do have a gun problem in this country. There are too many of them and they are way too easy to access. We also have a systemic racism problem in this country. Historically, in the aftermath of tragic shootings such as the one in Parkland, the result has been laws that subject us – youth of color- to even more violence. Bringing more police into our schools, putting guns into the hands of our teachers, creating more reasons to lock up black and brown people, these are false solutions that increase the level of harm experienced in our day to day lives. If we truly want to make our society safe for everyone, we need solutions that address systemic injustice, invest in our communities, and rebuild social institutions that center human connection and supportive relationships.

This is why we are calling on policy makers at all levels of government to do the following:

  • INCREASE INVESTMENTS in social, emotional, and mental health supports for all young people.
  • DIVEST from the systems of incarceration and deportation and INVEST in quality public education for all, robust community programs, and universal healthcare.
  • DIVEST from school police and absolutely DO NOT put guns into the hands of our teachers or other school staff.
  • DO NOT feed the jail system by increasing the penalties for illegal gun possession.

To the activists around the country standing up for tighter gun laws, we wish for our movements to be in solidarity with each other. Therefore we ask the following of you:

  • SUPPORT our vision of a safer society that is grounded in expanded democracy, racial justice, and a just economy.
  • DO NOT fight for gun control laws that will bring further harm to communities of color.
  • STAND WITH US to fight back against right wing control of our politics.

Finally, to the world of philanthropy and motivated individual donors, help us resource the movements we need by doing the following:

  • PRIORITIZE GRASSROOTS organizing groups who have a track record of activating youth of color around these issues. We encourage you to support organizations directly and through collective funds such as the Youth For Safety and Justice Fund.
  • Make LONG-TERM INVESTMENTS in our organizations so that we can sustainably do the time intensive work of growing and deepening our bases while also forging the broadest progressive alliances possible.

This crisis has opened up an important opportunity for us to unite across race and class to demand safe schools and communities for all people. The forces aligned to prevent meaningful changes to our gun laws are the same ones committed to keeping our communities under resourced and overpoliced. Fortunately for us, we who desire a society based on safety and inclusion outnumber those who would keep us separated and afraid. It is now up to us to build our collective power and win the change we desire, the change we deserve.

Visit the Funders Collaborative on Youth Organizing (FCYO) site and sign on to the statement