#RedefineSecurity: Kevin Lam, 26 (QAPA Boston & NQAPIA)

Kevin Lam“In 2013, as Khmer New Year in Providence, RI was wrapping up, my co-worker was stopped by police.

My co-worker and I were the main transportation for young people we worked with to get home after the event. When I saw that my co-worker had been stopped, I made a u-turn to check-in on her and the youth. As I pulled up, a police officer approached my car. I told him that I wanted to check to see if my co-worker and our young people were okay, and to see if I could at least get some of the youth home since it was late. The police officer told me, “I don’t know who you are,” and demanded that I “get the hell out of here or else…”

After dropping off all the young people in my car, my co-worker called asking me if I could come back because the police were towing her car. They didn’t give her any time to coordinate rides for our young people to get home, so they were left waiting on the side of the street for friends and community members to pick them up to get them home safely.

After everything happened, I felt hopeless, and angry that I couldn’t do anything to help in that moment. Because of my skin color, I know there is a level of privilege and access that I have, and I was able to use that to keep some young people safe from police harassment.

But it still hurts and makes me angry to see that as reasonable and calm as I tried to be with the police, they did not care. They did not care about our young people who we wanted to get home safe, and they didn’t care about leaving people on the side of the street stranded. In the end, we were able to take care of our people and community, while the police did nothing to protect our people and community, or make sure we were safe.

That is why I believe we need to#RedefineSecurity and #StopProfilingImmigrants.”