Members of the Karen community are being recognized across the state this month.
Sunday morning, Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon presented a resolution to members of the community, recognizing August as Karen American Heritage Month.
"There are various times during the year that they hold celebrations, but again, this is one that has been honored. We see starting within Albany, and it has just been the month of celebration,” Buttenschon said.
The Karen are originally from Myanmar, previously known as Burma, in Southeast Asia, where they’ve faced oppression.
"We went through decades of wars, and through the wars a lot of us got displaced, and many of them are still displaced in our own motherland, and a lot of us end up in refugee camps in another country,” said LuPway Doh, chairperson for the Karen community in Utica.
Thousands have now settled in the Mohawk Valley.
"For the majority of them, life has been a big change for us, but we struggling for many of us to rebuild our life, but we are hardworking people, we are able to walk, we are able to support our families, and we have a lot more freedom,” Doh said.
Doh, and other members of the Karen community, are thankful for the state’s recognition.
"I think this is a very great thing for us. We've been through a lot of difficult times that we never thought that we would be recognized by a government,” Doh said.
And for the Karen pastor at Utica’s Tabernacle Baptist Church, where the resolution was presented, it makes this month even more special.
"This is the month where I arrived here, on August 22, and every year I have an anniversary, blessing God for leading me and guiding me all the way, and giving me the chance to rebuild my life here, and I would also like to thank the government for recognizing this month,” Daniel Calvin San said.
The resolution passed the Assembly earlier this summer.