Ratha & Sothary, 30’s
He/him and she/her
Ratha is a muralist and works for Coors Marketing and Sothary is a Higher Education Professional. Together, we own Khmer Ninjas and Zuni Studio Denver.
What racial, ethnic, cultural community or communities do you identify with?
We are proud Cambodian Americans.
When and how did your family come to the United States? Where were you born?
Ratha's family came in 1984 and arrived in Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Denver, CO. Sothary's family came in 1981 and arrived in West Valley, UT. She was born and raised in Stockton, California.
What are the strengths and challenges of being Asian, Asian American, and/or Pacific Islander?
This is a question that can be a blog on its own but as for the strengths, it would definitely be resiliency and all that comes with breaking barriers as people or color, along with being apart of a minoritized group amongst other minorities. Also, being Cambodian American, especially in the 90's, meant breaking the model minority myth.
We did not always fit the "Asian stereotype" but we made sure that also was not the box we were trying to fit it. With that, we would say that was the biggest challenge to overcome. As resilient as Cambodian Americans are though, it has provided us with the strength and skills we need for a progressive future for generations ahead.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Together, we are proud of what Khmer Ninjas has been able to do through street wear and the representation it stands for, especially for the Cambodian American community.
What is one thing you learned or appreciate from your family growing up?
Resourcefulness - we all have heard the stories but we lived them. From the time we grew up in the projects, our families were getting by with selling recycling cans and hustling from their homes to also sell things from candy, soda to liquor, it has all been inspiring to look back on.
Now that we are older, we can appreciate the small things whether that is saving a few bucks at the grocery store with coupons or leaning on our community for resources.
Do you speak your family's native language? Why or why not?
Yes, we both are fluent in Khmer. We thank our parents and grandparents for that and would encourage all to do the same. It is never too late.
What advice do you have for the younger generations in our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander community?
Do what you love, regardless of societal pressures. You only have yourself to live for at the end of the day and the people who stick beside you are the people who matter.
What gives you the greatest joy in life?
Are there any projects you have created that you'd like to share and promote?
Photography Studio Space
Website | Facebook | Instagram
Murals by Ratha Sok
Website | Instagram
If you would like to share your voice as a person of color, please read the directions and fill out this form here. All ages, backgrounds, and generations welcome. Thank you!
Who are we?
Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander voices in our communities.
This is a section for AAPI specifically because, coming from our Khmer culture, we often feel invisible in various spaces from school to the media.
We want to show the ways in which we are the same and different, and that all of our backgrounds and experiences are valuable to learn and celebrate. Let's uplift each other!
Want to share your voice?
To be featured, read the directions and fill out this form. All ages, backgrounds, and generations welcome.
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