What We Do?
Cambodian Community Day (CCD) is a 501(c)(3) Charitable Organization established to promote, present and preserve our rich Cambodian culture. CCD seeks to integrate Khmer culture into American society to ensure the continuation of Cambodian cultural heritage, especially among Cambodian-American youths. We also work to strengthen Cambodian voice, empower Cambodian communities, bridge distances, heal rifts and build bonds among Khmers and other ethnic groups.
CCD was founded by a group of Cambodian volunteers in the Washington DC area in 2001 to promote Cambodian culture. CCD organizes and collaborates Cambodian cultural resources and presents them to the public through various events such as the Khmer New Year in April, the annual Cambodian Cultural Festival in the summer and the Asian Pacific Heritage Month in May. Our main focus includes (but is not limited) to:
Promoting Cambodian culture in America, especially among youths;
Supporting efforts to conserve history and culture;
Educating the public about the rich Cambodian culture, heritage, custom, and tradition;
Fostering coordination and cooperation with other groups with similar interests;
Raising community awareness about Cambodia’s history and culture and the importance of preserving them; and
Disseminating truthful information about the Cambodian culture and related researches in Cambodia and the USA.
What We Do
CCD provides some ad hoc services to the Khmer community, participates in fundraising activities for various charitable organizations, and foremost, celebrates the Cambodian culture through the annual Cambodian Cultural Festival. The festival is a token of solidarity in the Khmer communities surrounding the Washington DC Metro area. The festival has enabled us to develop bonds, bridge differences and heal rifts in the Khmer communities and beyond. It also provides a means to reach
out and share our values with others.
The festival, attended by several thousand spectators each year, is a showcase of Khmer traditional music, classical, folklore and social dances and shows, and children’s games, arts and crafts, exhibitions and much more. For example, in 2013, CCD organized a unique folklore show titled “Yeeke Mak Theung”. In 2014, we produced Lakhon Bassac, a Khmer opera play, a form of Khmer traditional entertainment that UNESCO deems is on its way to extinction.
Besides major productions, we also organize fashion shows to highlight Cambodian traditional clothing from thousands of years ago, participated by Cambodian youths. The shows were presented during Khmer New Year where more than 10,000 celebrants attended. The importance of the festival is to bring large groups of people in the community together to have fun and to share experiences. The festival also exposes Cambodian culture, tradition and values to young Cambodian American.
Why we do what we do?
While we are assimilating into the American society, we also have to remember and be proud of our past. We celebrate our heritage and traditions. We also have to look back to remember how far we have come.
In 1975, we, as a people, were scattered. We ran in fear of our lives, in fear of our children’s lives. Those who were lucky scattered all over the world. 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of that devastating year that changed all of our lives forever. We are here because we survived. We are here. Now what? Do we toss aside our identity, our heritage of 2000 years of culture? Do we forget where we came from? Or we can look back and reflect on our history and honor those who died so that we could live.
As survivors of the Cambodian Holocaust, we have a responsibility of carrying the story of our people and to deliver those stories to the next generation, our own children. As parents, it is not enough that we are comfortable knowing who WE are. We have to give our children a sense of identity too. Here in America, we are celebrating life and our rich heritage. The past 40 years, we have been rebuilding our lives and creating new lives here, making this adopted country our home. But that should not be the end of our story. As survivors, we have a responsibility, in fact, a duty, to help our children find the balance in their identity as American of Cambodian heritage. We want our children to be the best they can be, to be strong, to be confident. They can’t be those things, if they don’t know where they came from or who they are. They’d only be imitators, striving to always be someone they are not. There is a powerful quote, “If you don’t know where you are coming from, you won’t know where you are going.”
-- Ratanak Srey, Communication Director
Check out what we have done