Câu Chuyện Của Minnesota 8 Nguyên Thuỷ
Tháng 8 năm 2016, tám người Mỹ gốc Cam Bốt từ Minnesota–gọi gom tập là MN8–bị giam bắt bởi cơ quan Di Trú và Hải Quan (ICE)–Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), kể cả người em trai út của Giám Đốc Điều Hành/Đồng Sáng Lập Viên Montha. Nhóm MN8 đã có thể bị trục xuất đi Cam Bốt, nơi mà không người nào trong số 8 người ấy biết đọc hay viết bằng ngôn ngữ Cam Bốt, huống chi là đã từng sinh trưởng nơi ấy. Đa số đã sinh ra tại các trại tỵ nạn ngoài Cam Bốt. Thế nhưng họ đã bị gởi đến gặp Toà Đại Sứ Cam Bốt và buộc phải ký những hồ sơ du lịch bằng một thứ tiếng họ không am tường.
Gia đình của họ–phần lớn là đàn bà, người già cả, & trẻ con–quây quần quanh họ và phản kháng bằng cách kêu gọi, tổ chức cộng đồng. Sự kiện trên bắt đầu chiến dịch #ThảMN8–ReleaseMN8, một phong trào hoạt động quần chúng liên thế hệ duy nhất, chỉ huy bởi các phần tử trong gia đình chưa từng biết tổ chức chính trị. Họ kêu gọi sự hỗ trợ của các phần tử trong cộng đồng, luật sư, các tổ chức khác, & nghị viên Quốc Hội–tựu tập hàng loạt bên ngoài văn phòng của Nghị Sĩ Amy Klobuchar, tại các khu sinh sinh hoạt cộng đồng, và ngay cả tại D.C. để nói chuyện với Đại Sứ Cam Bốt. Tại những cuộc họp mặt này có em bé, bô lão Khmer mà nay đã qua đời, những nhà vận động cộng đồng, nhà báo, và nhiều hơn thế nữa. Song song với những tổ chức và sự phản kháng của họ, người thân của MN8 lái hàng giờ để đi thăm những người họ thương yêu dù chỉ để gặp qua video trong 30 phút.
Những cố gắng vượt bực trên của MN8, người thân của họ, và những nhà hỗ trợ cộng đồng đã gợi sự chú ý của cả nước và cuối cùng dẫn đến tự do cho 3 người đàn ông trong số 8 người bị bắt. Câu chuyện của chúng tôi bắt đầu với tám người đáng phục này và người thân của họ.
Chamroeun “Shorty” Phan (he/him) was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. He came to the United States as a 1-year-old with his parents and siblings. He has worked as a computer manufacturer in Eagan over the past 10 years. He lives in Maplewood, MN with his wife, Ketwalee, and two daughters, Leala & Lydia. In his free time, Chamroeun loves fishing with his family and being active in church. He was detained on August 29, 2016, and released on September 18, 2017.
Chan Om (he/him) came to the United States at age 10 as a refugee. He was respected at his job as a mechanic and volunteered at a Buddhist temple in Hampton, MN. Chan was engaged to be married and had become a father figure to several stepchildren and grandchildren. He was detained on August 26, 2016, and deported on March 28, 2017. Chan is currently trying to rebuild his life in Phnom Penh.
Chan Ouch (he/him) came to the United States at the age of 12 with his parents and five younger siblings. He has adult children and was a father figure to his nieces and nephews. Chan loved spending time with his family in Savage, MN. He was detained on August 26, 2016, and deported on March 28, 2017. He lives in Phnom Penh and has opened a convenience store and tattoo shop.
Ched Nin (he/him) was born and raised in refugee camps in Thailand and the Philippines before arriving in the United States as a 6-year-old. He grew up in Faribault, MN, where he met his wife, Jenny. Together, they take care of their children and elderly parents. Ched has worked as a carpenter for the past 20 years and is active in his neighborhood and community. He was detained by ICE on August 26, 2016, and released on February 24, 2017.
Phoeuy Chuon (he/him) was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. He was three years old when he came to the United States with his mother and siblings. He was living happily in St. Paul with his wife, Raeann, and two stepchildren for more than 10 years before his whole life changed. Phoeuy was detained on August 26, 2016, and deported on March 28, 2017. He is trying to rebuild his life in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Ron An (he/him) was born in a refugee camp in the Philippines. He was three months old when his family resettled in the United States. Ron lived in Rochester, MN, with his five children and surrounded by his parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, and friends. He was in ICE custody for nine months before his deportation on March 28, 2017. Ron lives along the Cambodian coast in Kampot and plans to run a gym.
Sameth Nhean (he/him) was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and moved to the United States at the age of 2. He and his wife, Sokha, live in Lonsdale with their four children. Sameth enjoys fishing with his family, doing home improvement projects, and fine-tuning cars. He has worked as a supervisor for a wire cloth company for the past 16 years. He was detained on August 26, 2016, and released on August 7, 2017 to be reunited with his family.
Soeun “Posy” Chheng (he/him) came to the United States as a toddler with his parents who were refugees. He was well-loved by his community, especially at the barbershop where he worked in Willmar, MN. Posy was detained on August 29, 2016 and deported on May 2, 2017. He has been living in Cambodia and, in May 2018, celebrated the opening of his barbershop in Phnom Penh. As a child of God, Posy feels inspired knowing that each day is an opportunity to leave a positive impact on others.