I never got the chance to meet former first lady Rosalynn Carter in person, but our paths have crossed more than I could have imagined. I wouldn’t be in the U.S. today if it weren’t for Carter, nor would 150,000 other Cambodian refugees who resettled here after surviving the Khmer Rouge genocide that killed 2 million Cambodians.
In 1979, Carter first saw me. She saw me in the thousands of people who came in waves to the border of Thailand; injured, sick or dying Cambodians who fled the fall of the Khmer Rouge. It was five years before I was born, but her actions laid the groundwork for my family to find shelter, to have something to eat when we were hungry, or medicine when we were sick.