For Immediate Release
Feb. 21, 2015
Chin Version of Community Integration Guidebook Released in USA
INDIANAPOLIS – The Chin [Lai-Hakha] version of the Community Integration Guidebook was released today as Chin people around the world celebrate their National Day, commemorating the day that the Chin leaders abandoned traditional feudal culture of ruling and introduced a democratic system of governing in 1948.
The seventy-seven page book has seven sections with contents that include: understanding American culture, property and garden care, how to be a good neighbor, cooking and home safety, fishing safety, online and physical safety, domestic violence, substance abuse, minor laws, the importance of good moral character as a citizen, mental health, personal health/hygiene, and the Bill of Rights. The guide was simultaneously released in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Columbus, Ohio at the Ceremony of the 67th Chin National Day. Plans are for the guidebook, the first of its kind, to be translated into Burmese as well as other ethnic languages of Burma and distributed in the United States and in Burma.
“I know successful integration into a new life does not occur overnight. It is a long learning process,” said Gregory Ballard, mayor of Indianapolis written in the foreword.
“The Burmese American Community Institute (BACI) provides educational resources to our newcomers. This Community Integration Guidebook is an invaluable resource that they have developed to help the refugees and immigrants learn about American culture and integrate into their new society. I recommend every newcomer receives a copy, ” Mayor Ballard said.
Approximately 140,000 refugees from Burma have been resettled in the United States in recent years through the U.S. Refugee Resettlement program. Indiana hosts one of the largest Burmese refugee communities estimated to be around 18,000, seventy percent of which is of Chin ethnicity.
“As we mark the 67th Chin National Day, we celebrate the day that our Chin fathers as a people have achieved a historic significant political victory, and at the same time by participating and celebrating, we are performing an act of reaffirmation and demonstration of our commitment to freedom and equality that is deeply and fundamentally embedded in democratic principles and values,” said Elaisa Vahnie, executive director of the Burmese American Community Institute at a keynote speech during Chin National Day in Columbus, Ohio.
“But in Burma, regrettably, federalist democracy has been obscured and become, and still remains a distant dream. Nevertheless, we must move forward with national unity and a forward-looking culture, continuing to invest in people and education, with a leadership of compassion and trustworthiness,” said Vahnie.
In Hakha, the capital of Chin State, the Burmese President U Thein Sein attended the Chin National Day celebration on February 20.
“I hope this Guidebook will help Chins in the United States to be able to deal with hardships we face such as cultural shock, misunderstanding with native citizens around us,” said Dr. Ro Ding, Burmese American Community Institute board Chairman during the release of the book at the Chin celebration in Indianapolis.
Pu Ceu Hlun, a linguist who translated the book commented, “Every Chin would want to read this version as the contents are not only perfectly relevant for their integration with the new environment, but also important and will be helpful with their future”.
This year’s two-day Chin National Day celebration in Indianapolis, where approximately 12,000 Chin reside, was attended by more than 3,000 people who were joined by dignitaries and public officials including U.S. Congressman Andre Carson, Mayor Gregory Ballard, Indiana State Sen. Brent Waltz, Indianapolis City Councilor Jack Sandlin, Perry Township Trustee Susie Day and Perry Township Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomas Little.
Media Contact: Burmese American Community Institute