My Journey to America
by Aj Rasih
URLink Print and Media

"The institute promotes civic education and government to new Asian Immigrants for successful citizenship throughout the states of Arkansas, California, Kansas, Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas."

In this biographical narrative, Rasih, the youngest of four children, details his journey from growing up in Laos and studying engineering in Thailand to becoming a naturalized US citizen and then an ordained Christian minister. With proficiency in French, Laotian, and English, among others, Rasih is multilingual to his core. As a recipient of the Asian Heritage Award in Literature, Art, and Philosophy, the author’s experiences and accolades are a clear testament to the resolve he had in escaping to Thailand following the fall of the Royal Lao government and ultimately making his way to the United States.

Interestingly, Rasih’s journey is captured through a combination of prose snippets and photos that provide audiences with a snapshot of his story and an emphasis on family and trust, particularly his contributions within the Indochinese community of San Diego. In fact, he has held roles as a city commissioner and on the human relations commission. Nevertheless, arguably his most iconic achievements are founding the RaCE Institute and “Global Childe,” organizations dedicated to civic education for Asian immigrants on their path to achieving citizenship and freedom of opportunity. Above all else, the hope he earned in the United States for himself and his family is what Rasih is trying to spread to others walking down the same path.

Rasih is a testament to being a byproduct of multiculturalism, demonstrating on multiple occasions the positive influences and values he has adapted from both his birth country and the West. With his continued presence and progression, Rasih finds his poetry at the forefront of the “New Modern American Poet,” highlighted by his being recognized at the International Society of Poets Editor’s Choice Award.

Digging deeper into his works, one in particular, “My Other Half,” is emblematic of the family dysfunction (e.g., divorce and deportation) the author is trying so hard to mitigate in society. Thus, using his background in immigration services, Rasih is determined to help new Asian immigrants avoid the English barrier that prevents most from seamlessly qualifying for naturalization. As the work progresses, the list of accolades gets longer and longer, only serving as a reminder of the impact one can have when committed and passionate about an activity. Rasih’s community influence is made crystal clear through newspaper clippings, giving audiences a chance to truly understand the magnitude of the author’s imprint.

Without question, a new immigrant suffers from extreme stress regarding their place in society and how they will be welcomed to an entirely new country and, typically, a new world. However, Rasih’s work is tailor-made to put them at ease and give them more than a fighting chance toward the hallowed concept of the “American Dream.” Seeing the beaming faces of those who have successfully completed the citizenship process with the author’s help is heartwarming. Rarely does it happen where someone who has endured a grueling journey commits himself to reliving that same journey within each and every individual he helps, yet Rasih does exactly that, a quality that helps make his biographical work a holistically enriching experience.

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