Category Archives: Uncategorized

Statement from the Sanctuary LB Campaign March 8, 2018

Since January 2017, the community involved in the Sanctuary Long Beach campaign has been consistent in advocating for a “sanctuary for all” policy to help prevent the deportation of immigrants. Immigrants are deeply rooted in the history and diversity of the Long Beach community. If our city is to reflect our values and respect what the city council directed on September 19th, 2017, local law enforcement should not be helping to deport any immigrant residents. Despite members of our campaign working with a broad group of city staff including the Long Beach Police Department, the current proposal of the Long Beach Values Act falls short of this shared value.

Under the current staff proposal of the Long Beach Values Act, immigrants are granted protections in that Long Beach agencies are prohibited from sharing immigrants’ personal information with ICE, notifying ICE of release dates, and transfers to ICE. As proposed, these protections would not be given to people with certain past convictions. These exceptions include people whose offenses were decades-old, and people who have long ago served their time and changed their lives. Assisting in their deportation based on the same offense is double-punishment, and undermines the Constitutional guarantee of Due Process.

The impact of this carve-out is inconsistent with our Long Beach values of diversity, progress, and inclusion as it disproportionately excludes the majority of the Cambodian refugee community, who is highly vulnerable to deportation. We strongly oppose these “carve-outs” due to the devastating impact they will have on the 20,000 members of the Cambodian community in Long Beach, the largest concentration of Cambodians outside of Southeast Asia.

Under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996, Cambodian refugees, including those with green cards, are vulnerable to deportations for past convictions, even misdemeanors. As ICE and the Trump Administration continue to fast-track the deportation of “criminal immigrants,” the Cambodian community nationally has become a major target. According to ICE, 1,900 Cambodians in the United States have deportation orders, with over 1,400 of these related to criminal convictions. This is the direct result of immigration policies that have created a higher standard for immigrants by reclassifying everyday common misdemeanors as aggravated felonies, making it easier to detain and deport Cambodians and other immigrant communities. The U.S. immigration system has created an uneven playing field that Long Beach should not perpetuate.

We also know that deportations do not only affect those deported. Someone may have a conviction from long ago, and now be a contributing member of society and provider for their family. We saw this exact situation two years ago when CSULB Police helped deport Jose Alvarez due to a drug charge from 1995, leaving his six U.S.-born children without their father. Immigrants are parents and children, neighbors and workers, and every deportation sends waves of fear and suffering through our community as families are split apart.

We denounce this demonizing mischaracterization of immigrants who have a past conviction in the name of public safety. We believe in transformation and that no one should be separated from their family, and deported to a place they hardly know. It’s time for Long Beach to be on the right side of history by passing a strong policy that fills the gaps in SB 54 and gets our local government fully out out of the deportation business.

We call on the Long Beach City Council to pass a “clean” Long Beach Values Act with no “carve-outs” for past convictions and a fully-funded Deportation Defense Fund. No amount of political intimidation will deter us or silence our unwavering commitment to defend our values that make us proud to call Long Beach home.

Learn more about Sanctuary LB
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KGA Welcomes 2 New Staff!

KGA is excited to bring on 2 new staff members: Sheila Sy, Economic Justice Director, and former volunteer and intern- now Young Men’s Empowerment Program coordinator, Johnny Rodriguez!

Sheila Sy, Economic Justice Director

Sheila (pronounced Shilla) is a daughter of Long Beach’s Cambodian community. Her commitment to building power in low-income communities of color led Sheila to direct the Khmer Outreach Retention and Education (KORE) program at UCLA, attain a master’s degree in urban planning from UCLA, engage in research on regional equity, support capacity building of homeless service agencies, and serve South Central LA through facilitating community control of land and housing before returning to Long Beach to serve at KGA. Her philosophy on economic justice can be summarized by this quote from (old) Kanye West: “Having money’s not everything, not having it is”. As Economic Justice Director, Sheila supports fundraising, as well as campaigns and programs that achieve economic empowerment. She envisions a future where all young people have access to opportunity and a cooperative economy that meets the needs of people of color and that facilitates investment in one’s self, community, and future.


Johnny Rodriguez, Program Coordinator

Johnny is a third-generation Chicano/Mexican-American. His family’s ancestry traces back to Texas long before it became part of the United States. During a large wave of migration, his family moved to California to work in the agricultural industry as farm workers. Johnny has long history of community organizing, from organizing the LGBTQ community in the San Francisco/Daly City area to indigenous people’s struggles in California and the Philippines. He first came to Khmer Girls in Action as a volunteer in 2012 where he helped develop the Young Men’s Empowerment Program (YMEP), which created a much-needed space for young Southeast Asian men to participate in movement building and in 2017 he returned as the program coordinator. During his time with KGA he has participated in statewide efforts to increase opportunities for boys and men of color. Johnny is currently working towards a Master’s in Social Work at CSULB with an emphasis on children, adolescence and gender issues and is looking forward to continuing to build the leadership of young people, so they can create positive change in their communities.


LONG BEACH! This Survey Impacts OUR FUTURE!

A sustainable and equitable future for all means investing in youth today!  We are surveying Long Beach residents and youth on what programs ad services are most needed for our communities to thrive!

Invest in Youth Survey Flyer FRONT FINAL     Invest in Youth Survey Flyer BACK FINAL

The data that we collect will help shape our Invest in Youth Campaign on equitable budgeting.  Together we can ensure that Long Beach city leaders prioritize investing in young people and stand by a budget that empowers, supports and heals- not harms- our community!



WE ARE HIRING! 2 Opportunities to Work with KGA!

KGA is excited to announce that we are looking to hire two full-time staff onto our team:

Please share this announcement with your network of qualified candidates who are ready to lead and are committed to work towards a safe, healthy, and just world for all!

KGA is an equal opportunity employer. People of color, women, people who identify as lesbian/gay/bisexual/queer/transgender and people with disabilities are highly encouraged to apply.



Khmer Girls in Action is gearing up for another exciting year of organizing and community building! We are now accepting applications for our Young Women’s Empowerment Program (YWEP) for the 2017- 2018 school year!

If you are a Khmer/ Southeast Asian sophomore or freshman who wants to make this school year fun, productive and memorable while building meaningful relationships then apply today!  Complete your application online or turn it in to a KGA youth organizer or staff by Friday, September 15th!

Young Women’s Empowerment Workshop (YWEP) Application


For more information please contact:
Maggie Quan –  | 562.986.9415
1355 Redondo Avenue Suite #9
Long Beach, Ca 90804

KGA is now accepting applications for YWEP & YMEP!

Khmer Girls in Action is gearing up for another exciting year of organizing and community building! We are now accepting applications for our Young Women’s Empowerment Program (YWEP) and Young Men’s Empowerment Program (YMEP)!

If you are a Khmer/ Southeast Asian sophomore or freshman who wants to make this school year fun, productive and memorable while building meaningful relationships then apply today!  Complete your application online or turn it in to a KGA youth organizer or staff by Friday, September 18th!

Applications for the 2015-2016 year are now closed. If you wish to apply for the 2016-2017, please visit this page:


For more information please contact:
Joy Yanga-  | Corleone Ham- | 562.986.9415
1355 Redondo Avenue Suite #9
Long Beach, Ca 90804

Wellness Week: February 23- 27!

2nd Annual Wellness Week 2015This is our 2nd annual Wellness Week and KGA youth organizers will be talking about our campaign victory of securing a school- based health center with teen- only hours at Roosevelt Elementary school!  Set to open in the Fall of 2015, KGA youth organizers will be surveying students asking them what health resources and services should be at the new center to help them stay healthy and feel well.

Wellness Week is an opportunity to connect students to the information, resources and skills to support their physical, emotional, and mental health and is part of KGA’s Youth at the CORE Campaign to establish Wellness Centers at local high schools.

February is also National School Based Health Care Awareness Month and organizations like KGA are highlighting the importance of school- based health centers as a critical component to a student’s academic success.