Cambodia Town, Long Beach, California
Cambodia Town (also known as Little Phnom Penh or Little Cambodia) is the official name for a roughly one mile long business corridor along Anaheim Street between Atlantic and Junipero avenues in the Eastside of Long Beach, California. The area has numerous Cambodian restaurants, clothing stores, and jewelry stores, as well as churches, temples, and service centers for Cambodian-Americans. There are many other businesses in the area, such as auto repair shops, that are Cambodian-owned.
Known as the "Cambodian capital of the United States", Long Beach has 19,998 residents of Cambodian descent (4% of the city's population). It is believed to be home to the second largest population of Cambodian immigrants outside Southeast Asia (there are approximately 1.4 million Cambodians in Thailand and approximately 1,055,174 in southern Vietnam where they are known as Khmer Krom) after the city of Paris, France. The city has its own Cambodian consulate. Many of the Cambodians in Long Beach came to the United States as refugees from Democratic Kampuchea from 1975 to 1979, as well as the 1978 invasion and occupation of Cambodia by Vietnam. Many settled around Anaheim Street.
The city of Long Beach also has an annual Cambodian New Year celebration.
The quest for official recognition
Since 2001, some local Cambodian community activists worked to obtain Long Beach city council approval to officially designated the Anaheim Street corridor as "Cambodia Town". Some community activists preferred the name of "Little Phnom Penh."
Some community members questioned any official designation for the area, saying that it could increase the Cambodian-Latino rivalry in the area, and that official recognition for a single ethnic community would be divisive in the ethnically diverse city of Long Beach. On October 25, 2006, the city council voted for a 90-day review period to allow more input from the community. In the end, official approval was obtained at the city council meeting on July 3, 2007:
"After lengthy discussion and several public comments, the City Council voted 8-1 to designate the stretch of Anaheim Street between Junipero Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard as Cambodia Town. The area houses many Cambodian businesses, and Long Beach is home to about 17,000 Cambodian-Americans, according to the city."
- "Cambodia Town Is Now Official! Ethnic district designation would honor refugees". Long Beach Press-Telegram. Los Angeles Newspaper Group. Retrieved 2007-10-08.
- "Long Beach (city), California". State & County QuickFacts. U.S. Census Bureau.
- My-Thuan Tran [Building a new destination] November 1, 2009 pages A43, A47 Los Angeles Times
- Mira, Jang (2006-10-26). "Debate is a lesson in democracy". Long Beach Press-Telegram. Los Angeles Newspaper Group. p. A1. Retrieved 2006-10-27.
- Mira, Jang (2006-10-23). "Cambodian community divided over new district". Long Beach Press-Telegram. Los Angeles Newspaper Group. p. A1. Retrieved 2006-10-27.
- "ទីក្រុងខ្មែរ «Cambodia Town» ត្រូវបានបង្កើតនៅលើទឹកដីសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកក្នុងក្រុងឡងប៊ិច រដ្ឋកាលីហ្វ័រនីញ៉ា." (Archive) Koh Santepheap Daily.
- "Ethnographic Evaluation of the 1990 Decennial Census Report Series Report #9 The Cambodian Community of Long Beach: An Ethnographic Analysis of Factors Leading to Census Undercount." By principal investigators, for the United Cambodian Community, Inc.
- Cambodian Community History & Archive Project (CamCHAP)