This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending an event at the Asian Arts Initiative, located on 1219 Vine st. Hosted by CAGP, Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia the event featured rapper and activist praCha, a presentation of Sentenced Home , a powerful documentary produced by David Grabias and Nicole Newnham, a short presentation by One Love Movement, followed by a short Q&A portion with an immigration lawyer.
The film follows three men living in Seattle, their civil worries, and deportation. Each of the men committed some form of an aggravated felony in their teen years, and for two of the men they were later sentenced to detainment by ICE- U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement, followed by deportation. There was a part in the documentary when a father of two young girls was being deported, sent to Cambodia, a country that he was so disconnected from, that both I and the woman next to me began to tear up. I glanced over as tears streamed down her face and then reached to wipe the ones that had run down mine.
After the documentary ended, Rorng Scorn, executive director of CAGP, took the microphone, still overwhelmed by the film and began to explain to the audience how deportation affects refugees and immigrants of other ethnic groups around the country.
Scorn then introduced Ria, a petite Cambodian mom, whose husband was arrested and detained, along with four other men and is awaiting deportation. Ria, along with members of AZI Fellas, a prominent Cambodian rap group that speaks about the hardships that the Cambodian community has faced, are involved in the One Love Movement, which rallies to fight forthe freedom of men detained in September 2010.