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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
Collage of Local Legacies
Children at Hmong New Year Celebration, Long Beach
Hmong New year, December 11, 1999 El Dorado Park, Long Beach Photo: Connie Sziebl

People of the 38th District of California

Through photographs and text, this project celebrates the cultural traditions and history of diverse 38th District communities: Cambodian, Hmong, Indo-American, Chamorro, and African-American. Individual events spotlighting each culture are described.

Cambodian people first came to the United States -- and the 38th District -- when they fled persecution and mass killing by the Khmer Rouge during the 1970s. Cambodian traditions are kept alive in the celebration of the Cambodian New Year in April, which features native food, religious events, and traditional Cambodian dances, with their elaborate costumes and graceful movements. The Hmong people, who came to the 38th District in the wake of the war in Vietnam, celebrate their New Year in December. Wearing colorful embroidered costumes, singing native songs and playing native instruments, the Hmong celebrate New Year by performing rituals to honor the dead and the spirits of nature. The heritage of the Indo-Americans in the District is preserved through their social, professional and political clubs, and by wearing their traditional dress and performing folk dances from India. The Chamorro people, originally from the Mariana Islands and Guam in the Pacific, hold an annual cultural fair in Long Beach; central to the Chamorran heritage is respect for elders, religious beliefs, storytelling, dancing, canoe-making, sea navigation, and the manufacture of weapons and tools. Marking the end of slavery, Juneteenth was first celebrated on June 19 in Galveston, Texas, in 1865. Today African-Americans in Long Beach celebrate the holiday with choir performances, African dances and fashions and display of African artifacts.

Individual events also help to bind together the many races and nationalities represented in the 38th District. Kidsday recognizes the outstanding achievements of 100 to 200 Downey youth in academic, athletic and community-based activities. Other 38th District events include the Annual Downey Youth Fishing Day, the Cinco de Mayo celebration in Long Beach, and the Anaheim International Festival street fair. The report also describes the importance of the Long Beach Municipal Band to the 38th District and the contributions to the District by Long Beach's sister city of Sochi, Russia.

Originally submitted by: Stephen Horn, Representative (38th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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