MEDIA RELEASE: NC Justice Center releases new video as part of “Home to Me” series

The video series highlights lives of immigrants whose lives are directly impacted by immigration reform and state policy debates

RALEIGH (January 31, 2013) — The NC Justice Center released its second video on Friday as part of the new “Home to Me: Immigrant Stories from NC” series, which highlights the lives of North Carolina immigrants and their families. The series aims to put a face on North Carolina’s immigrant communities by sharing the stories of individuals and families across the state from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences.

Through video and other multimedia components, North Carolinians will hear from immigrants in their own words. The series offers an opportunity to explore the challenges some immigrants face in our state, the importance of immigration reform, and how North Carolina has become home to thousands of people from all over the world.

This month’s video features Sai Kham, a restaurant owner in Charlotte who emigrated to the U.S. from Laos in 1987. His journey to the country was tumultuous, after having first moved to Thailand when he was 14, followed by a stay in a refugee camp before being brought to the U.S. by his aunt and uncle. Sai arrived in Charlotte with only a dictionary to his name, after having given away all of his other possessions in the Thai refugee camp. “I think America is just like in the movies,” Sai said. “They are going to have everything for you.”

Sai now runs the Pho Daravan Restaurant in Charlotte. “Everywhere you go, you have to work in this country,” he said.

Despite the challenge of running a business and staying afloat financially, Sai said he’s grateful to be living in the U.S. after having grown up among war and struggle. “You are living in a good land,” Sai said.

Viewers are encouraged to share “Home to Me” stories on social media (using hashtags #HomeToMe and #IAMaMigrant) to demonstrate how immigrants are part of the fabric of our state and to highlight the need for policies that respect the humanity of all of our neighbors. "Home to Me" offers North Carolinians a chance to engage in dialogue about the future of our state and our economy, address questions of global justice and local ties, overcome the “Us versus Them” divisiveness of past immigration debates, and advance public policies that move us forward together.

Watch Sai’s story here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7kDxB46Utk&feature=youtu.be. Special thank you to the Southeast Asian Coalition of Charlotte for their collaboration on this project.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Dani Moore, dani@ncjustice.org, 919.856.2178; Jeff Shaw, jeff@ncjustice.org, 503.551.3615 (cell).