The Khmer Generations Project (KGP) is built on the belief that everyone has a story, and that every story holds transformative power. It is our stories that give our lives purpose, and through which we are able to connect with others.
Within the Khmer diaspora, however, many stories remain untold. Most Khmer who migrated to the United States did so as refugees in the aftermath of the horrific Khmer Rouge regime (1975-1979), which inflicted inconceivable trauma upon the Khmer people, killing nearly 2 million. Those who survived had endured incredible loss, many witnessing the torture and death of spouses, parents, siblings, and other family members and friends. They had learned that speaking or crying out, even in response to such tragedies, could lead to their own deaths; keeping quiet had been key to their survival. As they started their lives in new countries and unfamiliar surroundings, too, they kept these painful experiences to themselves. Yet even decades later, many of these stories remain hidden. As a result, there are new generations of Khmer who are unaware of their own history.
The Khmer Generations Project seeks to document the stories of Khmer of all generations. Because many of those who have first-hand knowledge of what occurred both before and during the Khmer Rouge regime are now in their 60s and 70s, we hope to gather their stories while we still can. Their stories are essential to passing on knowledge and insight about Khmer culture and history. But just as vital are the experiences of younger generations of Khmer, and we hope to capture the stories that reflect how they negotiate their relationships with their elders and peers, acknowledge their heritage and history, and reconcile their identity(ies) as well.
We hope you will join us as we embark upon this ambitious and heartfelt project, and share your stories with us.