Lou Ung, a survivor of the Cambodian genocide, has written two books based on her life. The first book, First They Killed My Father, is about how she endured the work camps and trained as a child soldier at five years old under the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge ruled during 1975-1979. Nearly two million people (25 percent of its population at the time) died under the dictator Pol Pot who died in 1998 at age 73. This history and its capitol is known as the Killing Fields.
There is also a book and movie called The Killing Fields based on the experiences of a Cambodian and American Journalist.
A memorial is based out of the capitol Phnom Penh to honor those who were lost and as a reminder of the tragic past in Cambodia’s history to never forget. It is a place to educate both Cambodians and foreigners who visit Cambodia and built around the mass graves that had been discovered from this period. A Khmer Rouge survivor has also built a Killing Fields Museum in Seattle, Wa.
Lou Ung’s second book is Lucky Child that tells the story of the aftermath of her traumatic childhood and the transition as a new refugee to the United States. Lou Ung has been through much, more than most see in a life time. She has been able to take her life experiences and turn them into her life’s work starting with telling her story and then her activism.
There is now a new movie being made based on her story with Angelina Jolie will be directing for Netflix along with her adopted son Maddox, also Cambodian, working behind the scenes. Both Angelina and Lou Ung met back in 2001 and wrote the script together. They have become friends. Lou Ung says she completely trust Jolie with the telling of her story.
Filming will start in November of 2015. Jolie has stated that this “will be my tribute to the strength and dignity of all Cambodian people.”
I also was honored to meet and talk with Lou Ung. A small woman in stature, but mighty in heart and spirit. She has continued to make me proud to be Cambodian. Please check out books and movie when it comes to Netflix.
With Father’s Day coming up, I am not only thankful for the sacrifices my Asian mother made, but to my American born (caucasian) father who returned to Vietnam for my mother and me after his time in the American War in Vietnam. From the racism I experienced from others, I had to learn how to work through my own internalized racism. Today, I am no longer ashamed, but proud of my Asian Heritage and I am most definitely proud of my Asian Immigrant mother. She left in the middle of war to follow her heart and the man she loved. She had to leave her parents and all of her family in Vietnam behind. (My reflection I wrote to my mother below video clip).
Hear more reflections from other children of Asian immigrants about the gratitude for the sacrifices made by their immigrant parents in the video clip below. Some day I will share more of my experience and reflections.
Black History Month is an opportunity to educate the public about the true experiences of black America in its entirety. Some have asked, “but what about a white American history month?”
American history has been predominately about white history. It has always been taught to us 12 months in a year. American history only teaches about white Americans, their experiences, and their perspectives. Through the years our history books claim how white Europeans discovered this land and turned it into the great country that it is today. However, history books used in our schools for many generations have painted a very different picture from what actually took place for the people of color in our country. (Future examples coming)
During Black History month we not only want to highlight the unfortunate parts of our history we need to learn from, but also about the contributions all of our Americans have made.
Black History Month is a time to highlight positive images of black Americans rather than the stereotypes and myths that are presented and perpetuated throughout the media. It is a month to educate white and other Americans not only about the struggles and injustices, but the leadership and contributions of black Americans. This month is to honor those who have carried the cross and paved the way toward making change not only for blacks, but other minority Americans in our country.
There are many black inventors and inventions, pioneers in various fields, artists of various genres, that most of America have never even heard about and our history books have left out. This month is a time to introduce, highlight, and honor them and their contributions.
Honoring Black American Men, their leadership, and contributions for Black History Month. These are some of our picks to help put a positive face rather than the negative images and stereotypes that usually white Americans see through the media. These men, our black American men, have contributed much to their country (see below)