In the heart of the city, lies a seemingly quiet neghborhood… a siren can be heard in the distance, then a fog horn and suddenly an old chevy truck playing “Tejano” on its “boom box” just a bit too loud rumbles by. This at first glance fits the stereotypical pattern of any Southern California inner-city neighborhood. With a crime rate that easily matches that of any other gang infested “hood”, Long Beach can claim a place very near the top of that list. My focus is on the neighborhood surrounding a streach of Anaheim Street beginning at Juanipero Ave to the east and terminating at the intersection of Anaheim street and Atlantic Blvd approximately one mile to the west. But things are changing, and that change is coming from a surprising place. Thanks to efforts calling themselves “Cambodia Town Inc.”, this “Business Corredor” as it is often reffered to, was officially renamed the “Cambodia Town Business District”.
Since 2001, local Cambodian community activists have been working to get Long Beach City Council approval to officially designate the Anaheim Street corridor as “Cambodia Town”. On July 3, 2007, the honorable members of the Long Beach City Council voted 8-1 to approve the designation of Anaheim Street between Junipero Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard officially as “Cambodia Town”. On the weekends, hundreds of Cambodians from Southern California come to Anaheim Street to shop and visit with one another, recreating their homeland. No other population of Cambodians, outside of Cambodia, has attained this level of recognition. [ http://cambodiatown.org/ ]