Long Beach based Khmer Girls in Action named 2020 California Nonprofit of the Year

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Via Khmer Girls in Action's Facebook page

Khmer Girls in Action

Khmer Girls in Action, a nonprofit active in the Long Beach Cambodian community for 23 years, has been selected as the 2020 California Nonprofit of the Year by Senator Lena Gonzalez.

“On behalf of our members, alumni, board & staff, Khmer Girls in Action would like to thank Senator Lena Gonzalez for this recognition!” Associate Director and founding member, Sophya Chum, said. “It is an honor to continue to work alongside leaders who advocate for the health and well-being of women, youth and our communities.”

The nonprofit works with children of survivors of the Cambodian Genocide, who often live in underserved communities, providing mentorships, opportunities and resources.

KGA is currently advocating for corporations and local oil companies to pay their share of taxes and for all LBUSD campuses to be used as voting centers.

“The challenge is that our communities are far more vulnerable today,” says Chum.

According to KGA, one third of underage youths in Long Beach live below the poverty line, and 7,000 LBUSD students report being homeless. One third of underage American workers have also lost their jobs.

“We must be vocal and dismantle structures that harm our everyday lives,” Chum said. “Uplifting the leadership of those directly impacted and building a movement in solidarity with community and stakeholders creates a pathway where a just world we hope for becomes a reality. This recognition is a reminder that the structural change that KGA youth leaders have been working for in the last two decades is what California and Long Beach need to heal and rebuild in this unprecedented moment.”

Over a hundred other nonprofits are also being honored by their state senators.

“The pandemic and shelter-in-place orders of the last few months have put nonprofits – usually hidden in plain sight – in the spotlight,” Jan Masaoka, CEO of the California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits), said. “California Nonprofit of the Year is an opportunity for our elected officials to celebrate the good work they see nonprofits doing in their districts, and for everyone to appreciate the collective impact of nonprofits in our communities.”