Program Seven - Segment Two: Refugee Dreams Revisited
The refugees who came to America were Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian and the ethnic minorities from Laos—the Mien and Hmong. Most had fought on the same side and helped the U-S military in the war in Vietnam. The Mien and Hmong— the rural people in Laos—were particularly vulnerable for helping the C-I-A with covert operations. Staying in Laos was not an option. By 1979, there were almost 62-thousand Vietnamese in refugee camps. More than 140-thousand people displaced from Cambodia and Laos joined them. Oregon and Washington State had the fifth largest population of South East Asian refugees in the country. The Portland School district was one of the first to figure out how work with South East Asian youth coming to their schools. The 1.5 generation—those who came to this country at a young age—learned quickly, mastering language and writing skills before their first generation parents. Now they own businesses and are community leaders in Portland.
The Van Lang Vietnamese School in Portland, Quy and Tien Nguyen, Ly Chheng Tang, Long San Tzeo, Farm Yoon Lee, Lee Po Cha, Khanthaly Thammavong, Sokhum Tauch, Kilong Ung, Kim Nguyen, Daran Kravanh.
Daran Kravanh, Accordionistgrew up in Cambodia in a musical family. Now living in Tacoma, Washington, Kravanh produced a CD, “Music Through the Dark” that accompanies the book about his life by Bree Lafreniere. Kravanh travels throughout the US and abroad to perform and tell stories about his life and the continued plight of the Cambodian people. musicsurvival.com