After Decades of Division, Long Beach Cambodians Want Redistricting

Above, an elder discusses district mapping at the MAYE Center, a healing and organizing space based in Long Beach’s Cambodia Town. Photo by Crystal Niebla.

On Wednesday nights, about 20 Khmer Rouge refugees attend a government and community organizing class at the MAYE Center, a trauma-healing space often used by Cambodian elders.

After 13 weeks of learning the ins and outs of Long Beach city politics, there was one question that left student Vy Sron perplexed.

“How do we organize our community for more political power?” Sron asked her teacher, Marc Coleman, a Long Beach organizer and attorney.

“You’re limited because your community is diluted,” Coleman responded.

The class was at a quagmire. Since the 70s, the Cambodia Town area has been divvied up among various districts—currently districts 1, 2, 4 and 6—and, for them, the answer explained why they had such little say in city affairs and no ethnic representation on city council.

Read the rest of this story on VoiceWaves.

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Stephanie Rivera is the community engagement editor for the Long Beach Post. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015.