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California State Assembly passes historic resolution recognizing Songkran Festival

Monthanus Ratanapakdee is the daughter of Vicha Ratanapakdee, the man who sparked the “Stop Asian Hate” movement.

While continuing to fight for justice for her father affectionately known as “Grandpa Vicha,” Monthanus is also fighting for recognition of her heritage in California.

Grandpa Vicha, 84, was violently killed when he was pushed to the ground in 2021. It unintentionally thrust Monthanus Ratanapakdee into the spotlight. It’s a path she never thought she’s walking.

“Even right now, when I’m thinking about my father, when I look at other people, I’m feeling like I want to help and supporting them,” Monthanus said.

That’s why Monthanus has been working the last six months on a California State Assembly resolution, stating Apr. 13 to Apr.15. as the “Songkran New Year Festival.”

Monthanus was eagerly sharing videos from when she celebrated in Fremont on Sunday, reminding everyone it’s not just celebrated in Thailand.

“In Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and the north of the Yunnan, China and in Vietnam also and Ski Lanka,” she said.

The Songkran Festival is marking a fresh start with a splash as it’s never been in California State Legislature history until Thursday.

Assemblymember Evan Low introduced it and said even though the resolution is symbolic in nature.

“It’s very important for us to recognize with intentionality that it is our obligation as the state of California to recognize the wide broad terminologies in the communities that makes up our Asian Pacific Islander community,” he said.

Low cited how Monthanus has used her new platform to help make this happen.

“She represents and reflects the best of our community, which is to channel the negativity into positivity,” he said.

“Today, it’s historic for us, for our Southeast Asian community and every Asian American, AAPI and NHPI community and it’s an honor to me,” Monthanus said.

And perhaps, for Monthanus’ father too.

“He’s gonna be like ”Wow you’re awesome!’” she said.


Source: NBC Bay Area

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