The Chin or Lai-Hakha version of the “Community Integration Guidebook” was released 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, according to a press release from the Burmese American Community Institute on February 21.
The 77-page book has contents that include: understanding American culture, property and garden care, a good neighbour, cooking, home, fishing, online and physical safety, domestic violence, substance abuse, minor laws, good moral character as a citizen, 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 on February 20. Plans are for the guidebook, the first of its kind, to be translated into Myanmar as well as other ethnic languages of Myanmar and distributed in the United States and in Myanmar.
“I know successful integration into a new life does not occur overnight. It is a long learning process,” said Mr Gregory Ballard, mayor of Indianapolis written in the foreword.
“The Burmese American Community Institute 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 Myanmar have been resettled in the United States in recent years through the U.S. Refugee Resettlement programme. Indiana hosts one of the largest Myanmar refugee communities estimated to be around 18,000, 70 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 in this celebration, we are performing an act of reaffirmation and demonstration of our commitment to freedom and equality that is deeply fundamentally embedded in democratic principles and values,” said Salai Elaisa Vahnie, executive director of the Burmese American Community Institute at a keynote speech during Chin National Day in Columbus, Ohio.
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, a Burmese American Community Institute board chairman during the release of the book at the Chin celebration in Indianapolis.
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.