by Bunthay Cheam
On Wednesday, Dec. 1, Terri Chi-Lee held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Community Birth Center (CBC) in Lacey. It is the first BIPOC/Woman-owned birth center in the South Sound area and the first Khmer-owned birth center in Washington State.
The event — which was attended by a crowd of Chi-Lee’s family, patients, and friends — began with a blessing ceremony by Khmer Buddhist Monks from Wat Prachum Raingsey temple in Yelm.
“It was really special — a little overwhelming,” said Chi-Lee of the event. “I wasn’t expecting that many people … I can’t believe that it’s true and real and that I achieved it, you know? I always dream big. I’ve always dreamed big my whole life.”
Continue reading New Community Birth Center Expands Access in the South Sound
by Bunthay Cheam
April is Khmer New Year Month!
While the holiday traditionally takes place April 13–16, the local Khmer diaspora celebrates every weekend of the month. Khmer enclaves dot the I-5 corridor, from Snohomish County all the way down to Vancouver. Many in the community are blue-collar workers who can only celebrate on weekends as Khmer New Year is not an officially recognized holiday and therefore cannot be taken off from work.
Continue reading How to Celebrate Khmer New Year in 2021
by Ben Adlin
A year into a pandemic that has killed half a million people in the U.S. and magnified deep inequities in the country’s core institutions, it’s extraordinary that Vicky Navarro and Thyda Ros aren’t more exhausted.
A typical week might find Navarro crisscrossing King County with boxes of face masks and public health pamphlets in three different languages — English, Spanish, and Tagalog — while Ros plans a socially distanced dinner dropoff of deep-fried fish and green mango salad to a Khmer community elder. Then it’s off to the next webinar, the next worried call from a neighbor, the next social media rumor to bat down.
Continue reading Helping Under-Served Communities Navigate Health Barriers During the Pandemic