The Honorable Laura Richardson

March 15, 2005

The Honorable Laura Richardson
Office of Councilwoman Laura Richardson
Sixth Council District
333 West Ocean Blvd., 14th Floor
Long Beach, California 90802

Dear Madam:

We, the Cambodian community in Northern California, have become aware that the Cambodian community in Southern California plans to have a New Year parade on April 17, 2005. If the parade actually happens, it would be a first in California.

We are delighted to learn that you endorse and plan to participate in a parade on behalf of the Cambodian community in California. However, We wish to raise awareness that 17th of April is a dark day for Cambodia and its people those scattered around the world and those left in poverty and sickness in our Homeland. It is the day when the communist Khmer Rouge befell Cambodia into a killing field where more than one million of its citizens were slaughtered. To knowingly select this day as the day of celebration would indicate ignorance, at best.

However, the Cambodian New Year celebration is a cultural event that celebrates our ancient dance, music and religious traditions. It is this date that should receive a united support from the culture for which it represents. Clearly, planning this parade to be held on the current scheduled date is controversial, if not an insult, and divides the community.

Your endorsement and participation in this event is important. We ask you to help convince the event committee to change the date from April 17 to some other date. In that way, the whole Cambodian community and others who support us can participate and celebrate our contributions to America.

If the committee finds no other suitable date, we wish to see you withdraw your endorsement and participation as a protest. Thank you for your consideration.

Perom Uch
VP of Cambodian American Resource Agency