Mei Mei Long, 20’s
Providence, Rhode Island
I am a senior at the University of Rhode Island majoring in Human Development and Family Science. I am currently interning at the Rhode Island State House as part of the government team. I, one day, hope to pursue a career in Human Rights to promote social justice.
What racial, ethnic, cultural community or communities do you identify with?
Tell us about your family story.
I was born in Battambang but immigrated to America and was raised in Providence, Rhode Island ever since. I was sent to live with my family in the United States at age 5 because my parents believed that I would have a better future here. Unfortunately, my parents were not able to come to America with me due to their immigration status.
I moved from one household to another during my time in the United States. In 2009, I moved from a household in California to live in Rhode Island. My journey has felt like a roller coaster ride - except, there will never be an ending. I have to keep pushing myself to make my family proud and find purpose in my life.
What are the strengths and challenges of being Khmer American?
One of my favorite strengths is being able to share my stories with other people about the uniqueness of my culture. One of my biggest challenges as an Asian American is dealing with a lot of the racial comments in school. I try my best to not think about it and move on with my life.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment is being the first in my family to attend college. I came to America not knowing a single word of English to a young, independent woman who is about to pursue her Master's Degree in Global Governance.
Reflecting on how you grew up, what did you learn or appreciate from your family?
My childhood brought challenges that I can never forget because I only spent 6 years of my life with my parents. I used to be angry for not having my parents around, but I learned that because of the sacrifice we made, I am able to be where I am today.
Do you speak your family's native language? Why or why not?
I am fluent in Khmer and English. Fun fact - I went to school in Cambodia for 2 months and because my first grade teacher was so strict, I can actually read Khmer.
What advice do you have for the younger generations in our Khmer American community?
Don't be afraid to be different - it all starts with self-acceptance.
What gives you the greatest joy in life?
I spend my time volunteering at a non-profit organization called, Center for Southeast Asians in Providence, RI. This experience has brought me one of the greatest joys in life because I can give back to my community and utilize my native language to make a change.
Are there any projects you have created that you'd like to share and promote?
My portfolio with my accomplishments during my undergrad.
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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