These are my roots…

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Do you remember your first memory? Was it the dusty huts of Khao I Dang refugee camp or the steel building of the US? Or was it the dingy halfway home the government gave as temporary asylum?

Do you think you forgot most things because you were so sick as a child, your parents thought you would have died if it hadn’t been for the opportunity to come to a new country?

Do you know what it’s like to be Khmer? Do you think you are a real American? Or you a gradation of Asian American—where dark skin is judged inferior like how your uncle used to call you “Blackie”.

Do you look in the mirror and see what everyone else is seeing? Do they see a girl who watched her parents fight, saw her father with a new family, or lived with a single mom struggling to raise four children alone? Do they know you lived on government aid for most your life?

Do you remember why you left home at 18? Was it to get away? Or was it the opportunity to become someone? Do you remember studying and finishing the syllabi ahead of time so you work extra hours to earn while in college?

Do you remember how proud Mom was to see you graduate? Do you remember all that?