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Title: Oral History Interview with Raleigh Bailey, December 6, 2000. Interview K-0270. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Bailey, Raleigh, interviewee
Interview conducted by Lau, Barbara
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 148 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-07-26, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Raleigh Bailey, December 6, 2000. Interview K-0270. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0270)
Author: Barbara Lau
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Raleigh Bailey, December 6, 2000. Interview K-0270. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0270)
Author: Raleigh Bailey
Description: 139 Mb
Description: 41 p.
Note: Interview conducted on December 6, 2000, by Barbara Lau; recorded in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by L. McLain.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series K. Southern Communities, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
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Interview with Raleigh Bailey, December 6, 2000.
Interview K-0270. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Bailey, Raleigh, interviewee


Interview Participants

    RALEIGH BAILEY, interviewee
    BARBARA LAU, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
BARBARA LAU:
Today is Wednesday, December 6th, is that what we figured out?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
That's it.
BARBARA LAU:
2000. This is Barbara Lau, and I'm interviewing Raleigh Bailey. And we are at the— is it called the Access Center?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Access Program.
BARBARA LAU:
At 413 South Edgeworth Street in Greensboro, North Carolina, ZIP Code 27401. The phone number here is 336—
RALEIGH BAILEY:
[text deleted]
RALEIGH BAILEY:
We're actually part of the Social Work Department of UNCG.
BARBARA LAU:
Okay. That's University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Raleigh, could you just do me the favor of spelling your name?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
R-a-l-e-i-g-h, just like the city; Bailey, B-a-i-l-e-y.
BARBARA LAU:
And what was the date of your birth?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
3-7-43.
BARBARA LAU:
And your birthplace?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Miami, Florida.
BARBARA LAU:
And your spouse's name?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Judy Harvey.
BARBARA LAU:
That's H-a-r-v-e-y?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Right.

Page 2
BARBARA LAU:
Okay. And your children's names?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, I've got a number of children, some birth children, some adopted, some foster children that became informal adoption. So should I go through each one?
BARBARA LAU:
Okay.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Kristie Bailey, K-r-i-s-t-i-e, birth child. She's about 30 now. Angie Bailey, also a birth child is, I think, 28. Kristie lives in Greensboro, Angie in Raleigh. Adoptive son Nathan Russell Harvey Bailey is 22. He lives in Greensboro. Adia Lenore Harvey Bailey, adopted child, is 19, in Greensboro. Cambodian children, Sokhana, S-o-k-h-a-n-a, is now Lindley, married name of her previous husband. She's in her early 30s and has three children, lives here in Greensboro. Chhary, C-h-h-a-r-y, though she's now using a different name, but we still call her Chhary. Her given name is Chhay, C-h-h-a-y. She's married a guy from Vietnam, though he's ethnic Khmer. His name is Sina. His last name is C-a-o, but I don't think she's taken it.
BARBARA LAU:
How do you spell his first name?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Sina, S-i-n-a, that's my guess. I honestly don't know. They live in Boston. They have one child, one expected. That's— we have another Cambodian daughter, but we really don't keep up with her and we usually don't count her at this point. She's moved away to Iowa. She would be in her late 20s. Her name is Vanna Chhem. She's informally married, has a couple of children, and left when she finished high school.
BARBARA LAU:
Vanna spelled?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
V-a-n-n-a.
BARBARA LAU:
And Chhem?

Page 3
RALEIGH BAILEY:
I think it's C-h-h-e-m.
BARBARA LAU:
Okay. Well, I can tell just by talking to you about your children that this is going to be an interesting conversation.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Yeah.
BARBARA LAU:
Maybe we could just start by you telling us a little bit about your background, where you grew up, what you think some of the sort of important influences were on you and that kind of shaped who you are, and then lead us into how you came to be here in North Carolina.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
I was born in Miami in 1943, when Miami was still fairly small. And I was actually born— or grew up out in the edge of the everglades, so it was actually fairly isolated. I was the first child of four, so I kind of took on a lot of the first oldest child super responsibility, getting everything done kind of roles. My father was from a poor farm family in Georgia, and my mom was from a professional, semi-aristocratic family in Miami. So there's real big cultural differences within my family, which I think was important, because I sort of lived in a couple of different worlds, depending on which grandparents and which cousins I was talking to that day, because everybody was in Miami at that point. So that was a big influence. In high school I got involved with the Methodists and the Methodist Youth Fellowship and felt pretty highly motivated around social issues. And I went to Florida Southern, which was a Methodist school. Thought I might want to go into the ministry. This was the time period of early '60s and civil rights, and that had a big impact on me. There was also a black family in Miami who had a lot of influence on me as I was

Page 4
growing up. And I think the cultural differences, the segregation, I was trying to sort all of that out. So I got very involved in civil rights while I was in college, and took part in sit-ins and voter registration, which a lot of people were doing, but not so many southern White males. So I was kind of on what seemed to be a separate track. When I finished Florida Southern I was debating what to do, thinking about the Peace Corps, thinking about social work. Decided to go to Boston University School of Theology, which had a reputation of being the social ethics place to go. Martin Luther King had gone there, and things like that. So I did that. And I married at that point, my first wife, and we both went. While there, I decided that the ministry wasn't really my track and was thinking about what else to do. Finished there, became a Quaker in the process, was sort of my way of dealing with my Methodist ambivalence. Taught for a year at a Quaker kind of alternative school in New Hampshire. Moved to Hartford, worked for the YMCA. Found a school called Hartford Seminary Foundation that had a Ph.D. program in human nature and religion, which was an anthropology of religion program. I started in that, and finished that program. I was thinking about doing my specialty on civil rights or the kind of New Age youth movement. Ended up focusing on New Age youth, but particularly the communal movement and New Age Eastern spirituality. So I studied some spiritual groups in the States, made up of U.S. young people.
BARBARA LAU:
Is that a master's level program?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
That was a Ph.D. program.

Page 5
BARBARA LAU:
And so you finished that and received your Ph.D.?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Right.
BARBARA LAU:
And your dissertation was about?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, let's see if I can remember. An Ethnographic Approach Toward the Study of an Intentional Community: The Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization. Pretty esoteric, huh?
BARBARA LAU:
Let me go back and just ask you one question about your family. What was your relationship to the African-American family that you said influenced you?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
She— particularly the mother, wife of the family, she was a housekeeper for my grandmother and sometimes for us, and did a lot of child rearing for my younger siblings. But then we became friends, and I used to go to her church sometimes. So it was more than a maid.
BARBARA LAU:
And did your family, your parents and grandparents, did they support these activities that you were involved in, or did you meet resistance?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
I would say my parents were pretty lassez-faire. I sort of did what I wanted to do and was on my own. My grandmother was not happy with my socializing.
BARBARA LAU:
She thought that that was inappropriate?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Yeah, that that was inappropriate. I remember going swimming with people in Mamie's family, and my grandmother was very upset about that. We don't do that.
BARBARA LAU:
So when you chose the career track that you chose, did your family think that that was a positive direction?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
I don't know that they thought one way or the other. They thought it was good I was going to college. My mother's side of the family would expect me to go to college.

Page 6
My father's side thought it was great that I finished high school. And as long as I was working, that was good.
BARBARA LAU:
So after you got your Ph.D.—
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Actually, there's a funny little story here. My father's father, when I went off Boston University, he thought I was at Boston College, because he'd heard of Boston College because they had a basketball team. So he always thought I was at Boston College. I became a teaching assistant, so he thought I was a professor at Boston College. Then I became president of the School of Theology student body, so in his mind, he had me as president of Boston College when he died. You know, we tried to explain it to him, but we sort of let it go.
BARBARA LAU:
So then once you got the Ph.D., you were probably in that place where a lot of people are after they finish their degree: Great, I finally finished this, and now what do I do?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, I had two young children. And also, this was a trying time for my family, and my wife and I decided to split ways. I started job hunting. I was kind of interested in liberal arts schools, and found a position at Gilford College here in Greensboro. My two daughters and myself came here to Greensboro. I took a teaching position here at Gilford, in sociology and anthropology. Then my former wife followed a little bit later. And so she settled with her new spouse in Winston. And so we kind of had joint custody with them. But I started off at Gilford College, where I taught for a couple years. And that was just kind of where we were piecing together contracts, and it sort of ran out. And I spent a year doing this and that. Taught a course at UNCG. Worked at New Garden Friends School, an alternative Quaker school. Then I got a position at North Carolina A&T with the Head Start

Page 7
State Training Office. That I liked, and I did that for eight years, actually. That's been my longest stay in any one place. It was largely advocacy for low-income people, which fit right in with my interest. I was the only White male on staff, so I had kind of a unique role there. I enjoyed doing training. I enjoyed giving technical assistance to programs. I did that until the mid or early-'80s, when I could see the federal monies were running out. Then I began to start looking around again.
BARBARA LAU:
What did you think about North Carolina when you came to live here?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, when I moved to Boston from Florida, I had put up with a little bit of northern snobbery about people from the south. So, I was in some ways glad to come back to the south, though I certainly can see the parochialism. It's not entirely different from the parochialism of Boston, in my opinion. It was just each place has its own ethnocentrism. So I liked coming back here. There wasn't quite the exposure to some of the things I was interested in. There was not the diversity. But I liked the folksiness. I liked the family-centeredness, the basic friendliness.
BARBARA LAU:
Were you referring to the diversity you found in Boston or in Miami?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
The diversity in Boston.
BARBARA LAU:
So how did you come to be involved with issues around immigrants or people who were moving to North Carolina?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, it was around '80, '81, I think. I had remarried. And we had a couple of our children. My wife and I adopted two children. This is when I was at A&T. My son—
BARBARA LAU:
This is your second wife?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
This is my second wife, Judy.

Page 8
BARBARA LAU:
Okay.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Nate was biracial. We had an interest in what we were calling a "hard-to-place child." It's a little bit controversial, because he was biracial, but that people generally classified him as black because he was biracial. The agency was willing to take a stand. And we were happy to do that. And partly because I worked at A&T, they were willing to place him with a white family. That worked well. A couple years later we applied again, actually expecting another biracial black and white child, but instead, Adia, who is Eskimo. Of course, there wasn't much problem about where to place her, because there was no Eskimo community in North Carolina to look for adoptive parents. Though I must say, the name Adia is a Swahili name, which we picked before we knew who we were getting. We were just trying to plan ahead. It means "gift of God," and so we kept the name.
BARBARA LAU:
What made you and your wife decide that you wanted to have a diverse family?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, I think this is Judy. There is a lot of her in this. She used to have a dream of running an orphanage. I think we're both pretty motivated around issues of equality and civil rights and inclusiveness. It just kind of came together naturally.
BARBARA LAU:
So then your first exposure to immigrants or working with people who were outside your own racial community was really through your own family?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
I guess so. I mean, A&T —as the token White boy in the program. But beyond that, yes, I think it was part of my own family's interest.
BARBARA LAU:
How did that then grow into an interest about working with immigrants?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, Judy—
BARBARA LAU:
Or did it?

Page 9
RALEIGH BAILEY:
No, it did, actually. Judy wanted to work on her Spanish. She was teaching Spanish at New Garden Friends School then, and went to Lutheran Family Services to ask if they had any Spanish speaking refugees that she could work with or maybe needed a place to stay. Somehow in the process they convinced her that we should have this Vietnamese young man live with us. So Minh Duc Tran came to live with us in around '81. Then in the next year, Cambodians began to be resettled here. The agency knew that there would be some who were unaccompanied minors, and they talked to us about being foster parents. We had already been foster parents with some American youth, so we had a pretty big family already. But we applied to do that, and we were accepted. It was going to be one Cambodian daughter, and then it became two, then eventually became three. So we found ourselves just immersed with Southeast Asian refugee issues.
BARBARA LAU:
Did you feel some sort of responsibility to help your foster children or adoptive children know more about the cultures that their birth parents came from?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Certainly. That's an important part of the adoption process. And because I was already working in a primarily Black community with Nate, that worked well. With Adia, there was no Eskimo community, per se. We have stayed involved with the Gilford Native American community from time to time. A few years ago we took a trip to Alaska, which we've planned for like fifteen years. So we spent a month in Alaska, a week of it in the Arctic in a village that was the same tribe as Adia. We didn't try and track down her birth parents, but we did try to immerse ourselves with her cultural heritage.
BARBARA LAU:
How did that work out?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
It was pretty interesting. The Arctic is a pretty tough place to live, even though

Page 10
we were there in the summer. Staying in a native village trying to practice some of that, subsistence life is really hard. It's barely possible. So, it's interesting but it's not the path I would choose on my own.
BARBARA LAU:
I'm curious as parents how you viewed that process that young people go through in building some kind of identity. What did you observe in being parents about that process?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
I think we had a strong, very strong family identity, because we were a large, diverse family. Even though there's maybe only one Eskimo, only one biracial and only one Vietnamese—everybody was special. Everybody brought a cultural identity. That was a strong part of our family identity. I think the way other people interacted with us too. I think it's much easier than adopting one child or trying to figure out what's adoption and what's birth, because everybody is sort of in the same pot and everybody brings something to it.
BARBARA LAU:
What things do you think you learned in that process that then helped you later when you started to do more work professionally with larger groups [of immigrants], or immigrants moving into North Carolina?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
We were pretty strongly committed to honoring people's cultural heritage and recognize that there's strengths in all heritage and we can recognize them and affirm them. At the same time, you adjust and adapt as needed. But you know, try and preserve traditions and rituals.
BARBARA LAU:
What about the tension between that and assimilating to a more "generic" American identity?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
I think we were already not quite the "generic" American identity. We've been

Page 11
very comfortable in Greensboro, but probably our path is different from most people's. So at least from our experience there's not a generic— I mean, I know there's a stereotype, but partly because of the kinds of work we've done, we haven't seen it. Maybe it's only a myth.
BARBARA LAU:
Do you think your kids encountered some of that, say in school, or in relationship to other kids, and felt tugs in some directions versus others?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
In their early growing up, they went to a Quaker school that was somewhat alternative. It was very inclusive and accepting. I don't think they thought about it the way they might have and did later on in public school, where you really have to defend your cultural identity, whatever it is.
BARBARA LAU:
Did they have trouble with that when, like you say, when you have to defend your cultural identity?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
They did. A lot of trouble.
BARBARA LAU:
Can you describe that?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, just public schools, senior high, and also a couple of my kids had some learning differences. It was not a good fit. One of the children went to a private school for a while for children with learning differences. That was somewhat better. Then we put her back over into Smith. We petitioned into Smith High School, which is a very diverse school, thinking that at least she would enjoy the diversity, which she probably did, even though she had a hard time with public school, as did my son.
BARBARA LAU:
Maybe we could go back a little bit, and you could bring us up a little closer to the present in terms of your specific professional work with immigrant communities and that

Page 12
kind of thing.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, in '84, I applied for and got the job as Director of the Lutheran Family Services Refugee Resettlement Program. And so from '84 to '89, pretty much all of my time was immersed in refugee resettlement. The staff became part of our extended family. Judy's work overlapped in that. The whole family was involved in all kinds of things. My daughter Chhary used to dance at the cultural events. So, the family and profession and professional commitment all kind of blended together.
BARBARA LAU:
What were your goals in that job? What were the goals of the program? Give us a little description about the kind of work you were doing.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Lutheran Family Services and other resettlement agencies grew out of a church commitment to resettle refugees. Partly it's historic—growing out of World War II. By 1980, it had become fairly institutionalized, so that they contracted with the U.S. State Department for initial resettlement, also with the State of North Carolina and other federal funds for ongoing job placement and other kinds of services for refugees. We did that quite a bit. Part of my job was finding funding streams, finding programs to sustain a holistic, seamless approach to services, helping people become self-sufficient right away, that was a goal, and be able to adjust. A lot of the program work we did grew out of those things. Some of the stuff that you know about—like the Cambodian Buddhist Center—grew out of that.
BARBARA LAU:
What other kind of programs did you do to help people adjust, and who were those directed at?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
There was an initial resettlement program which did initial placement. We had

Page 13
two or three job follow-up service programs, where we would help refugees find jobs, find placement, provide interpreters, all geared toward self-sufficiency. We had another program called Planned Secondary Resettlement, because a lot of refugees had resettled, particularly in California, and weren't doing well, had gone on welfare or caught up in, you know, gang activities. Planned Secondary Resettlement would find families who wanted to become self-sufficient and move from California to North Carolina where they would work and have a better quality life.
BARBARA LAU:
Did you find that North Carolina was an attractive place for immigrants?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
North Carolina has had kind of a unique role, honestly. Most refugees and other immigrants tend to go to California, number one, New York, Florida, maybe Chicago, a couple of other spots. North Carolina was recognized by the Federal Government and various agencies as one of the more idyllic places, because the community is relatively receptive. This is at Bible-belt. Churches believe in helping others so that there's strong community support. The job market here was good, lots of entry-level jobs in factories, primarily factories, textile and furniture, so it was easy to get people working. From those perspectives, North Carolina was one of the more unique places in the nation, and has been, for the last 20 years, an "in-migration state," meaning people move here from other states, refugees and other immigrants.
BARBARA LAU:
Sounds like a lot of your programs were aimed at economic adjustment. Were there also programs developed for social adjustment?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Federal funds were directed mostly toward economic adjustment. We would find ways to deal with the social adjustment in addition, but the funding was geared toward

Page 14
economics. But we were able to do that fairly easily, so we had built in— there was something like health concerns. Health was always a big issue, especially for Southeast Asians, and now for Africans. Particularly with the Cambodians, for example, mental health was a big issue because of Post Traumatic Stress because of the devastation of Cambodia. We were able to leverage some foundation funds to help start the Buddhist Center, which we got funded as a mental health center. The Cambodian concept of mental health is really a spiritual concept. By having a monk in a temple, we were able to address their needs.
BARBARA LAU:
How did the Greensboro community adapt to an influx in the 1980s of the immigrants from Asia?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
There honestly was not much backlash, if that's what you're thinking about. The sponsors were enthusiastic. That's who they are, people who volunteer to help. The business community was enthusiastic because these are highly motivated workers who will work hard and not make waves. So those two communities were in line. It was a little tougher for the school systems and for the health departments. That's where more of the stressors have come. Beyond that, the general community, I mean, there was no more community rejection than there is around anybody else, as far as I could see.
BARBARA LAU:
I'm not sure if you know if this is true, but you said that Lutheran Family Services started resettling immigrants after the Second World War. Can you kind of give an idea who might have come in? Did they start in the late 1940s? Who were they resettling then? Who came in in the '50s, '60s? Do you have any idea about that?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
In general, and it's not just Lutheran families, this is kind of a national trend, after World War II, something like one in seven Europeans were refugees. So the U.S.

Page 15
became a major resettlement place for people from Europe. The first formalized resettlement programs were targeting Europe after World War II. Nothing else was very focused or organized along that line until after the Vietnam War, when the U.S. felt a special obligation toward people in Vietnam and Southeast Asia with whom we had made allies, and with the loss of the war were all of a sudden homeless. Our more formal refugee resettlement program then focused on Southeast Asia. In fact, the U.N. has a system. There's the U.N. High Commission on Refugees, which all nations that are part of the U.N. are supposed to support. There's a process for doing that. There was a system in place, but it only impacted the U.S. really after the Vietnam War. Gradually it's expanded from just Southeast Asia and some Eastern Europeans to potentially any country where people are recognized as refugees.
BARBARA LAU:
So in Greensboro, did Lutheran Family Services actually start right in that post-war period, and were they active here in North Carolina?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
No.
BARBARA LAU:
Did they start later?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
The formal system really started around the end of the '70s. I think Lutheran Family Services, and I think comparable agencies with the Catholics formed in the late '70s, or around 1980 is when the Refugee Resettlement Act was passed. That became the legislative landmark.
BARBARA LAU:
So this was at the very beginning of this organization, which exists still?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Uh-huh.
BARBARA LAU:
You worked there until 1989?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Right.

Page 16
BARBARA LAU:
Was most of your work from 1984 to '89 with Southeast Asians, or did you start to see refugees from other countries coming?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Southeast Asians were the primary group. Some eastern Europeans came in. There were also Central Americans, which is a different wrinkle, because Central Americans were not recognized by the U.S. as refugees. So there's the whole sanctuary movement that was going on simultaneously. We had some contact with that, though that was not officially part of the agency.
BARBARA LAU:
Maybe you could kind of give us a little bit of an idea of numbers and when people came in.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
The biggest group and the first group were Vietnamese, a large, very diverse population that started, actually in '75, but without a very formal system. The formal system didn't start until the very late '70s. It was mostly Vietnamese. Let me see if I can quote numbers. I think I should look it up. I can give you numbers specifically. Greensboro was selected as one of four sites nationally to resettle Cambodians. Cambodians were a special group, because there's no base Cambodian community in the U.S. They were at special risk because of the devastation. So in '82, Cambodians started coming in. Other parts of the country, and a few families— Laotian families were settled here, but not as an organized group initially. Hmong people, from the highlands of Laos were resettled. They're a large group nationally, but most went to California, Wisconsin, Minnesota. Now we were one of the largest populations here in North Carolina. But they didn't come through initial resettlement, they all came as secondary resettlement.
BARBARA LAU:
And they kind of came of their own volition?

Page 17
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Mostly on their own. We can talk about that a lot if you want to go into that. But yeah, they mostly came on their own. A unique group to North Carolina are the Montagnards. They are the highland people from Vietnam. Almost none had been recognized as refugees. In '86 a small group showed up in a refugee camp in Thailand. Through advocates, partly Vietnam Vets who advocated for them, they got refugee status. The U.S. Government was trying to deny refugee status to them for a whole complex of reasons. They got it. The State Department asked Lutheran Immigration if they would like to resettle them as a group. Lutheran Immigration has a reputation of being a well-organized agency, and that this was another special group. In this particular group of a little over 200, were a group of gorilla fighters that had been recruited by the U.S. Military to fight. Then when the U.S. pulled out, they were told by the U.S. Military to continue fighting on behalf of the U.S. Montagnards are very literal, very straightforward, and they continued their mission, even though they ran out of weapons and ammunition, and had to be on the run. They didn't have a place to stay. So they continued this fighting for— from, let's see, '73 to '80—early-'80s, when they got into this camp. Then they were accepted for refugee resettlement. Lutheran Immigration was asked to do it. They called our program, partly because of the success of North Carolina, and asked if we would like to have them. We said sure. That initial 230-something people in '86 has now grown to a community of about 3,000. Almost all the Montagnards in the United States are in Greensboro or Charlotte or Raleigh.
BARBARA LAU:
Wasn't there a second larger group that came late?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
There was. This first group came in '86, and then a few families came, through what they call Family Reunification, and the Orderly Departure Program. Then in '92, when a

Page 18
peace process was started in Cambodia, the U.N. Peace Troops came in and were occupying the country, they got off into the jungle up in Mondulkiri Province near the Vietnam border.
BARBARA LAU:
What province?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
I'm thinking it's Mondulkiri.
BARBARA LAU:
Can you spell that?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Yeah, but there's two provinces, and I get them mixed up. I was working in Cambodia at the time, so I just happened to be close to the story. Mondulkiri is M-o-n-d-u-l-k-i-r-i.
BARBARA LAU:
Okay.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
The adjacent province is Randulkiri [phonetic].
BARBARA LAU:
These are in Cambodia.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
They're both in Cambodia. They're very isolated jungle, and they're close to the Vietnam border. When the U.N. troops sent word back to Phnom Penh, we've got these people here, but they don't speak Cambodian. We don't know who they are. And they finally figured out, well, these were another group of the Montagnard gorilla fighters, still fighting for the U.S., and this was their camp. There was over 400 people. Well, the State Department sent word back, and got a guy named Pierre K'Briuh, who had been our Montagnard project leader with the Lutheran Family Services. He was this— before that he had been a senior diplomat for the Montagnards in the old Vietnamese government. They flew him over, took him by helicopter into Mondulkiri. Took him down, and he explained to these people, Well, the war is over. The war has been over for a generation. It's time to lay down your arms. The U.N. will give you safe haven, and we can help you get resettled in the

Page 19
United States. There's already Montagnards there. It was just an amazing, utterly amazing process. They said okay. This group of 400-and-something came then in late '92. Since then, a few more have come.
BARBARA LAU:
Now you estimate the population in North Carolina to be closer to 3,000?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Right around 3,000.
BARBARA LAU:
I know we've talked about this before. But how many Vietnamese families— or what do you think the Vietnamese population in North Carolina might be approximately?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
There's not hard numbers. I need to tell you why. There are numbers for when people first come in. But they aren't necessarily tracked after that, because it's a free country, and people move back and forth. I think professional guesses are around 5,000 Vietnamese.
BARBARA LAU:
In the state?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
In the state. But they're very dispersed. They're not concentrated the way the Montagnards are. They're not organized the way the Montagnards are.
BARBARA LAU:
And then numbers of Cambodians— I know you and I have talked about this amount in the state.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
In the state, probably less than 2,000.
BARBARA LAU:
And then Laotians?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
The Lao community nationally is smaller. But actually, there's a large population here. Lao leaders in Gilford County estimate 1,000 here. I would just guess that there's another 1,000 scattered around the state.
BARBARA LAU:
And then Hmong?

Page 20
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Hmong, there's almost none in Gilford County. Most are farther west, in Piedmont, around Morgantown, Hickory, various places. I've read estimates between 9,000 and 20,000.
BARBARA LAU:
And that community is really self-formed. Folks decided North Carolina was a good place to live-and brought whole clans of people here.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Yeah.
BARBARA LAU:
Do you know what the rationale was—why they decided North Carolina was a good place to live?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, they're organized around clan systems. Clan leaders have, you know, ultimate authority. You know, if somebody says, my group, we're moving, everybody moves. The first Hmong group to come was Kue Chaw. He was the clan leader. He was resettled in Philadelphia with a group of families. He was a strong leader back in Laos. I got to know him as he started an organization in Marion.
BARBARA LAU:
Called?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Called The Hmong Natural Association. There's been many Hmong organizations since then. Kue Chaw said that he was very unhappy in Philadelphia. It was not a good place. So he drove in his car, drove into North Carolina, looked around and says, 'This looks like my homeland.' And he stopped and talked to people. I assume he meets people around Marion. He said that, 'Sometimes they were friendly and sometimes not, but they talked straight, not curvy like a snake, and I like that.' So he went back and moved these first fifty people into Marion, and then it built on from there.
BARBARA LAU:
Have you heard other stories like that from other refugees about why they like—

Page 21
or why they stay in North Carolina, because now that it's been several years and people have a little bit more economic self-sufficiency, they could move anywhere.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, if we talk about Southeast Asia, well, like Vandy, who works here in our office, her family was resettled in Chicago, then they went to New York, then they visited here, stayed a couple months. Then they found an uncle in California, and then there were too many gangs. Then the family sent Vandy back here to go to school because of gangs. So it's, you know, what they hear, and they kind of pursue the different leads.
BARBARA LAU:
But the factors that have made the resettlement agency successful, the access to jobs.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
I think largely, the access to jobs. It's not the intense inner-cities issues that a lot of people run into. This last year we've had a giant influx of Sudanese, people from the Sudan. Some came as refugees. Some came as immigrants through diversity visas, and then a number have come undocumented; each with very different status, very different rights, but they're all the same people. Around 1,000 Sudanese have come into Greensboro in the last year.
BARBARA LAU:
Why Greensboro? Why North Carolina?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, a few were resettled here as refugees and a couple just showed up. Then the word kind of spread: 'This is an accepting place.' 'I found work.' 'uncle so-and-so found work.' 'There's a mosque.' All those things played into it. So people keep coming. So actually the staff person who is head of the African Services Coalition is Sudanese, and so he's just amazed at how the population keeps growing.
BARBARA LAU:
Is there anything about the landscape or the physical environment, do you think,

Page 22
that's supportive or nonsupportive for a lot of immigrants who come here?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
I don't know if I've thought about it a lot, but I think certainly for Southeast Asians it's not as harsh as the cold north. For highland people like the Hmong and the Montagnards, this is somewhat similar, though a little bit colder. We don't see the big influx of Europeans. They prefer the northern cities, by and large.
BARBARA LAU:
I know that particularly with the Cambodian community, that a lot of the people who came originally grew up in farming families.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Uh-huh.
BARBARA LAU:
Do you think that that had an impact?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Oh, sure. The more rural, even though they're settling in cities, but our rural mentality, I think, has some appeal. The Hmong, specifically, picked the rural [communities]. They don't go to big cities.
BARBARA LAU:
I want to go back a little bit to the kind of services that you were involved with when you were working with the resettlement agency, the social services. I know that part of that may have been around sort of language and acculturation. I wonder if you could describe the kinds of efforts that were made to help people adjust in those ways.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Our strategy is in the process of changing. Our strategy at that point was to pick community leaders and hire them as interpreters and as ethnic caseworkers. And work with the leaders and let the leaders work with their people. That's what we did a lot, and it was pretty successful. I say it may change, because there are now new Federal guidelines for interpreters, which may move us in a different direction. Things like the interpreter is supposed to be a distant professional, maintaining a certain confidentiality, not connected with

Page 23
the family, all those kinds of things, none of which fits with the way it has worked. These are actually good standards. I embrace the standards. But for a new group resettling, that's a little bit hard.
BARBARA LAU:
So when the Southeast Asians, specifically the Cambodians, were resettling, were there efforts to do ESL [English as a Second Language] with adults, with children and just sort of the social adjustment-I mean, living in a community where you're not longer the majority.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, the strategy would be to bring them in, have them go to the Health Department, have them go to Social Services, have them get their Social Security cards, get them a job, enroll them in ESL classes and put the kids in school. And all those—
BARBARA LAU:
This would all happen—
RALEIGH BAILEY:
This would all happen in the first month. You know, these people were just going crazy dealing with all these things. But that was the agency plan. That's what our agenda was. And then look toward, especially church sponsors, to start filling in on some of the social acculturation. Though, in fact, our ethnic caseworkers did a lot of that. It was a bit of a shared approach.
BARBARA LAU:
How did you find a balance, again, between that idea of sort of changing people or having people assimilate versus, as you've suggested in your own personal experience honoring peoples' traditions?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
You know, a little bit is accidental. If a person comes in and is sponsored by a church, then they get a lot of push toward western ways very quickly, because they're going to church dinners and church families are networking with them. If they come in more like

Page 24
most of the Cambodians did, without a sponsor other than the agency, then their own growing community would become their socialization network. So the Cambodians were a little bit more isolated than the Montagnards—most of them had church sponsors.
BARBARA LAU:
Can you talk a little bit about the difference in this experience for people who came in, and primarily as adults or young adults, and people who started this process as small children, in your experience?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
I think the people who come in as adults are survivors and will do the best they can and live out their life here. They get jobs, never master the language, never that comfortable, to do gross generalizations. Their children are the ones that are straddling two cultures. They're going to American schools, learning American ways, living one way at school and another way at home, trying to fit these two different worlds together. It's really quite a struggle. Most of our staff here are that group. They're just out of college or in college, still maintaining traditional practices at home and living as young adults in the western world in work and school.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
BARBARA LAU:
How could you describe some of the different choices that kids who were facing that situation—what kind of different choices do they make about who they are? I mean, right, some go to college. Some don't. Some lean in one direction. I'm curious what you've observed.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Again, it's a little bit cultural. Most of the Khmer or most of the Cambodians

Page 25
don't go to college. Most of their parents were rice farmers and were put right into factories, and do not have much of a support system to go into college. And I think that's proving to be true for most of the Montagnards. There are exceptions. The Vietnamese came in with a much stronger motivation to westernize, probably because of their exposure to the west, and probably formal education, at least the group who came, was a much higher priority of families, so you see more Vietnamese going to school. If I generalized the say, like, African communities, I think we can do the same thing. If you're coming from an rural, impoverished environment, harsh times, then probably you're going to move into factory work. If you're from a family that has very high educational expectations, you follow that.
BARBARA LAU:
How do you think that affects people personally, trying to balance that, trying to live in both worlds?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, I think it is a generational thing. I think this generation that's just now reaching adulthood are pivotal with the Southeast Asians. They're the ones that are holding both together, and it's very difficult. But of course, I deal with the people who are successful. Tthey are very successful because they're really highly motivated, and they have access to both worlds.
BARBARA LAU:
Can you expand on what you mean, they're holding both sides together?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
They're accommodating their parents in traditional values and trying hard to maintain traditional ways, and they're going to college and pursuing professional careers.
BARBARA LAU:
And what have you observed? What toll does that take on them?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
I'm sure it's stressful.
Right now, Barbara, nothing kind of leaps into mind. Maybe something will in a few minutes.

Page 26
BARBARA LAU:
I guess I'm sort of thinking about stories of, you know, that you might have heard from people that you've worked with or people you've had relationships with—and maybe even your own children. I know you have had experience with some of your own children making decisions to sort of really move away from an identity associated with where their parents were from.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Uh-huh.
BARBARA LAU:
And whether you think that makes them like a— you know, what skills does that give them? Why do you think people make those kind of choices? I guess that's the kind of thing. I think you have a unique perspective.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Okay. I can think about that. Like Sokhana, who married an American, and partially because of that felt like she didn't fit in with the Cambodian community, has stayed very separate from the Cambodian community. You know, her boyfriend now is African-American. She's really very much a part of the working-class African-American community who works at Cone Mills. That's her social group. I can get her to go to the temple, and I take the kids over there, but that's really not her group. Chhary, who moved to Boston, lives entirely in a Cambodian community. She will go for weeks without ever using English, because she works with Cambodians, she lives with Cambodians. It's interesting that Boston doesn't quite seem to have the integration that we have here in Greensboro.
BARBARA LAU:
Because they have a little bit more of a geographic community, I think?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Maybe so.
BARBARA LAU:
Do you think either one of them are happier or more adjusted?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
[Laughter]

Page 27
BARBARA LAU:
Just your opinion. I know your saying this because you're their dad.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, Chhary's life is hard. She's the one in Boston. She and her husband have a very hard time. Crime is an extreme issue for them. They have maintained traditional ways to such a degree. I think it is a hardship. Her husband Sina had an illness a couple months ago. He went to the hospital and they give him medicine and treatment and diagnoses and so forth. But they were convinced— they went to a Cambodian— I forget—'root doctor,' they called him. I think it was probably the Kru Khmer traditional healer who said that somebody put a hex on him and the solution is to go back to Vietnam and do a ritual. So they just left their jobs and went back and spent two weeks in Vietnam, spending money they didn't have in order to go through this ritual, which I don't think is going to make his heart feel any better, unless insofar that stress was a factor. So that was a hard path for them, I think.
BARBARA LAU:
And then your other daughter who's decided to live a lot more assimilated lifestyle, do you think she feels happy and well-adjusted?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Yeah. I mean, she's got all the problems of a poor person, a poor person and a single mom. But I think she's really pretty happy. I mean, she makes a good go of it. She manages her life. She goes to her kids' after-school programs, has a social life and so forth. I think she does all right, actually. She's not the middle-class lifestyle of our family. She's really a working-class lifestyle. But she got a habitat house and she makes her payments, and has figured out how to survive.
BARBARA LAU:
Maybe a little bit more like her birth parents, huh?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Probably so, yeah.
BARBARA LAU:
It's interesting that you think that this generation of kids that are straddling the

Page 28
divide are going to have the potential to make a great impact. I'm wondering if you could tell me what kind of impact you think that they could or might have, both in their own communities and on a community at large.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, the leaders, the traditional leaders, the generation before them who are still around, a lot of them are still thinking about, 'well, we're going to return to the homeland. You know, maybe this government will fall. We're all going to go back.' Their energy is spent a lot on that. Well, I don't think they have that illusion. They know even if they could go back, it's not their homeland. They have grown up here. So they're trying to figure out, 'how can we preserve our culture?' Our staff here are doing a lot of translation, putting health materials in native language. Even though some of the people in their communities may not even read their native language, it's a way of developing community pride, preserving the language and culture, and getting out health information.
BARBARA LAU:
So what do you think the kind of impact that these kind of young leaders are going to make on the wider community in North Carolina, not just their own individual ethnic communities?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, of course, I work in social services. Social service providers will love to have them, because for social services providers, it's very hard to work with these communities, because they don't know what's culturally appropriate, and they don't know the language. Here are people who are experts in both worlds. I think they have a good job market for one thing. I forgot what your question was, Barbara.
BARBARA LAU:
What kind of impact they may have on North Carolina in general.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Yeah. I mean, I honestly see them as becoming significant leaders. Some of

Page 29
them will get pulled into all the family issues and children, and you know, may pick a little bit different path. But those who want to make a major community contribution around issues of acculturation have the ability do it. I can be a cheerleader, but I'm not the one who can make that happen, you know.
BARBARA LAU:
I've noticed that several of the people you've mentioned are women, and I know that in particular, say in the Cambodian community, traditionally leadership, or at least public leadership, tends to be male.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Uh-huh.
BARBARA LAU:
I wonder what kind of barriers you see for some of these kids in trying to accomplish these goals that they feel strongly about.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, it's kind of fun, actually. Some people are coming from countries where women's roles are very suppressed. So partly consciously, we like to recruit women for that reason, because that is kind of a wake-up call to the culture that things are different here. Also, a lot of them are doing health-related activities, and a lot of them are related to maternal and childcare, so it's an easier role for women. So both of those reasons play into why so many are women.
BARBARA LAU:
But do you think generally these sort of bi-cultural young leaders tend to be more female or male, or how would you profile some of them?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
I don't know if we intended it that way, but the people we've worked with have been more female. It creates a special challenge to the community, it honestly does. Just to kind of give an example here: We've been trying to make inroads into the Lao community. All the leaders are male. All of them are thinking about the good old days and

Page 30
the war, and when they go back and reclaim the country, and who's going to be mayor of what village. Well, Khouan, who is our staff person for working with the Lao community, is the first female they've had to deal with as a peer—not only as a peer, as a person who has information they need. So she's giving them native language information on how to access health services. It's fun to watch and see it happen. We spend a lot of time on strategy, who to invite to what meeting, what she should do and not do. She comes across both as polite and courteous, but not a traditional role of a woman.
BARBARA LAU:
So in some sense these young people are challenging both their own communities and they're challenging a sort of wider community in terms of not being the stereotype of immigrants. Have you heard a lot of stories from them about sort of challenges or troubles that they have dealing with other American kids their own age?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, there's all the hassles of high school. Now, I have to say, I think our high schools tend to be fairly segregated, so you hang with your own ethnic group to a large degree. Or you may join the multi-cultural club of immigrants. There's not as much interaction as we might hope for in the high school situation, except maybe around sports, and probably some of the high achievers around some academic kinds of things.
BARBARA LAU:
So high school wasn't too bad, they didn't run into too much sort of name-calling or difficulties, or discrimination by teachers or anything like that that you've heard about?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, of course, I've heard all those things. I'm trying to generalize from it. Most of the people here would not have been in ESL classes, because they were younger when they came. But they still identify with their community. Well, in Gilford County,

Page 31
there's one or two high schools that are the main feeder schools for immigrants, yeah.
BARBARA LAU:
So kids are among lots of other communities of immigrants, so it's not necessarily a problem?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Yeah.
BARBARA LAU:
You said a little while ago that for most of the kids, you were talking about their parents would consider where they came from home, but for most of the kids— younger people, I shouldn't call them kids, they're not kids—
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Uh-huh.
BARBARA LAU:
—younger people, they consider North Carolina their home?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Yeah. I mean, La, who I've worked with for six years here, she's Hmong, you know, she wants to go see Laos, but she doesn't remember Laos. Now she talks about how she sure wouldn't want to live there. I mean, what she knows about the lifestyle for the Hmong people in Laos is not her lifestyle. She doesn't want that kind of hardship.
BARBARA LAU:
Have a lot of these people become citizens? Has that been an easy decision or a difficult one?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
I think they're not opposed to it. Are we talking about the younger generation?
BARBARA LAU:
Uh-huh.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
They've not moved as quickly as I would have wanted them to. So we've pushed them on it. We've had a couple of our staff that have just become citizens in the last couple years when they could have done it five or ten years ago, but didn't get around to it. I think they don't think about it. Most of their parents have not become citizens and I'm thinking especially of people from preliterate societies. It's extremely difficult for the parents

Page 32
because of the English Language requirements. So there's not the motivation from the parents to become a citizen.
BARBARA LAU:
Why do you think it's important for these folks to become citizens?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, for rights. I mean, they could be deported. They could be picked up on a trivial charge, but it could become grounds for deportation. Also if they should lose a job and need to access public services, they're not eligible as immigrants. Immigrants, especially since 1996, with the Immigration Reform Control Act, it excluded immigrants from almost all basic public services.
BARBARA LAU:
Like?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Like what used to be called AFDC and is now called TANF in North Carolina. Food stamps, basically low-income kinds of programs. If they were born here, they could get Medicaid. If they're not born here, they couldn't get Medicaid, you know, unless they're a citizen.
BARBARA LAU:
Social Security?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
They could get Social Security. They do contribute to Social Security, so they could access Social Security.
BARBARA LAU:
What about sort of what we call human rights protections, you know?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, they could be deported. If they are convicted of a crime, no matter how trivial, INS could deport them.
BARBARA LAU:
If they wanted to?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
If they wanted to.
BARBARA LAU:
Have you noticed that whether any of these younger people have been interested

Page 33
in getting involved in local issues outside issues inside their community? Do you know what I'm saying, local politics or student governments, or you know, I mean, that kind of democratic participation?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Yeah, through our AmeriCorps program, there are probably 50 to 100 people that I've kind of seen come through here in six years. Some have been involved in student government things, but not so much on broader community issues, except as it might relate to immigrants and the health—I mean, they're not joining Sierra Club or League of Women Voters, or other kind of general causes.
BARBARA LAU:
Maybe you could describe the AmeriCorps Program that you run, because I think it's pretty unique.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Okay. Could we take break?
BARBARA LAU:
Yeah. [Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
BARBARA LAU:
Okay. We're back. All right.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
You'd asked me about AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps is a fairly new national initiative. It's like a domestic Peace Corps started in 1984. The idea is that a person gives a year of service to help their community and the country. Our particular AmeriCorps Program, which is called the AmeriCorps Access Program, has a special mission of serving immigrant and refugee communities in North Carolina. The people give a year of service doing things like interpreting, transporting people to the health department, organizing cultural events, all geared toward helping refugees and immigrants acculturate here in North Carolina. Most of our members come from those communities. A majority are immigrants

Page 34
themselves. We also have native-born Americans, but that group is actually a bit of a minority. It's a nice cross-cultural event just getting all these people together, because you've got a dozen different countries represented in a training session around any given topic.
BARBARA LAU:
How many young people participate annually in your program?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
It's grown. And you don't have to be young. There are more young than not, but we've had people who are retired. From seventeen [years old] up is the age range. This year we've got a little over fifty. The first few years we had a little over twenty. We've grown each year.
BARBARA LAU:
Was this idea something you got from somewhere else, or is this program unique from a national perspective?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, AmeriCorps is six years old. But we started the first year. Actually, Lutheran Family Services gave me the Request for Proposal and said: 'Look at it. Did I think this is something that could work with refugees?' And I said, 'Yeah, I think we could design something, but I'd be interested in running it.' So they said, 'Okay.' So it started off as a grant to Lutheran Family Services, and after a couple of years we saw how complicated it was administratively, and I was already working with UNCG as the training and evaluation piece. So we just transferred to UNCG.
BARBARA LAU:
Are there other programs that work with refugees and immigrants in other parts of the country?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Not to this concentrated fashion. This is fairly unique. There's actually one starting in Washington. It's a couple years old, that one of our members, the first year went

Page 35
and has gone on staff of an agency there, and they're starting one. But it hasn't grown like this so far.
BARBARA LAU:
And you've talked a little bit about the kind of things that the AmeriCorps volunteers do for the community. What do you think the AmeriCorps volunteers get from participating in this, specifically the refugee members?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, it's usually a pretty dramatic life experience for them to discover that there are communities like theirs all over North Carolina. Everybody is facing the same kinds of issues, and to they find a network. It motivates them toward finding a support system and finding resources. For some of them it evolves into career plans. It's also designed to encourage people to go back to college, so it does that too.
BARBARA LAU:
So most of your members are people who are in college or out of college? Can you profile a little bit, for me, some of your members?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Okay. Let's do two profiles. The ones who are not immigrants, you know, who might be a little over a third, which typically would be just out of college, idealistic, want to give a year of service before they go on to graduate school and have gotten interested in cross-cultural issues. The ones who are not that, the first few years tended to be community leaders. We had forty year-old men from various communities often, who were AmeriCorps members, who were already leaders in their community. Most of them have gone through the program, and now we tend to have people who are starting college, or some people who may be adult and doing this on the side because they're bilingual, they may work in a factory for eight hours, and already are being asked by the communities to be an interpreter, and they've discovered our program and do it through our program now.

Page 36
BARBARA LAU:
That means they would receive some compensation for it?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
They receive a stipend. It's fairly minimal. For part- timers, it's a little over $300 a month. For full timers, it's close to $800. Then when they finish, they get a scholarship for further education.
BARBARA LAU:
What kind of training do you do with these volunteers?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
We meet once a month for a day, sometimes a day and a half. We go through a range: Cross-cultural communication, conflict resolution, immigration law, social service networks in North Carolina, CPR and first-aid, interpreting skills, a couple of other things. They get a little credential in cross-cultural human services when they complete the program.
BARBARA LAU:
How long is the program?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, the program is a year. If they do all the training and they complete the eight competency areas, then they get the credential.
BARBARA LAU:
How many hours? When you say half-time and full-time, is it twenty hours a week, or what's the requirement for that?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Roughly. The way it's written in the law, it's accumulated over the year. It's 1700 for full-time or 900 for part-time.
BARBARA LAU:
I'm curious when you said that one of the things that grew out of this was that sort of young leaders from refugee and immigrant communities learned that everybody was having similar experiences. What kind of experiences were they talking about?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, let me think. Like, for the Montagnards, that there are other people who are struggling. Now, the main population has become Latino. That's just happened over the last two or three years. And so for the Latinos to learn that there are other groups, and for

Page 37
the other groups to be able to see that the Latino population, which is the primarily immigrant population now, that there's still similar kinds of things. Because the thing about the Montagnards, they're often mistaken for Latino, and that used to bother them. But now, they can take it with a grain of salt. You see friendships developing along cross-cultural lines. I mean, there's as many cultural clashes between immigrant groups as there are between mainstream communities and immigrants.
BARBARA LAU:
Has that come up in your training and you've had to deal with those kinds of issues, sort of clashes?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Yeah. I'd say a lot.
BARBARA LAU:
Just based on—
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Not necessarily between two people in the training, but it may be more, you know, my community doesn't want any people from your community in our area. You know, what can we do about that? And so they kind of make a plan.
BARBARA LAU:
What kind of plans do they make? I'm curious what they've come up with.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Well, how can we arrange for people to meet each other and get acquainted? Let's find a neutral experience everybody can do together, some kind of cultural event that would bring both groups together. Mostly those kinds of things, where they come together around a common shared goal.
BARBARA LAU:
Has your experience with this particular AmeriCorps program had any impact on the statewide AmeriCorps programs or on any AmeriCorps programs nationally, I mean, sort of philosophically?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Uh-huh. Well, we're the largest program in the state, and we're the oldest. So

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just kind of bureaucratically and administratively, you know, our policies and procedures, the state office may—or is likely to share with a new program, because they've got it, because they haven't developed them yet. But specifically culturally, most of them are doing things such vastly different, and so if there's a diversity program, we become the in-house resource. Because AmeriCorps is supposed to really promote diversity, but it rarely gets beyond Black and White. So we get included in all the trainings and add, you know, another dimension.
BARBARA LAU:
So in the groups of non-immigrant or refugee AmeriCorps members, you have African-American and white members?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Uh-huh.
BARBARA LAU:
Is there also talk in the trainings or in your activities about bridging the gaps between those communities and the immigrant communities?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Yeah. Well, you were mentioning in our earlier discussion about the projects going on in Durham. In fact, Central Communidad Dodd—no, Central Hispano in Durham, which started off as an AmeriCorps site of ours, and probably a lot of the staff there were originally AmeriCorps members with us. That's one of the things that they have been working on, building bridges between the African-American community and the Latino community in Durham.
BARBARA LAU:
So your work isn't confined, in terms of your members, to Gilford County?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
No, not at all.
BARBARA LAU:
So maybe you could talk a little bit about what kind of reach you're having in the state and what kind of impacts you're effecting.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Sure. It varies from year to year. We have partner organizations each year.

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These are non-profits, or public agencies who would like to have an AmeriCorps member to work with the immigrant communities that they're trying to serve. This year, we've got one person in Asheville, but most are concentrated in the Piedmont from about Surrey County east to Wake. Other times we've had people as far as New Bern. We've got twenty-five sites. About half are what I would call 'community-based organizations,' like the African Services Coalition, the Montagnard Association, Greensboro Buddhist Center, you know, that are really immigrant organizations. The other half are health departments, school systems, library, mainstream organizations that are trying to do outreach.
BARBARA LAU:
Let's back up just one second. Could you give me a brief description of [the mission of] AmeriCorps nationally that you would have to do as a spiel – so there's a context here.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Sure, sure. The motto is getting things done, serving the community, promoting national service, helping one another. That's the national motto. And then any specific program can pick a focus. [Phone ringing]
BARBARA LAU:
We're back.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Yeah.
BARBARA LAU:
We were talking a little bit about AmeriCorps in general. Just trying to get a bigger picture of how it fits in there.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
I should point out that it's, right now, only one of our projects. It was the first one and the biggest. But we've got three others that are all immigrant-related.
BARBARA LAU:
Which are?

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RALEIGH BAILEY:
One is the Interpreter Project that Bahekelwa was talking with you about. It focuses on refugees. And we provide interpreter service and promotion of cross-cultural competency with health providers. That's statewide. We've got a local immigrant health project funded through the Moses Cone-Wesley Long Foundation that provides lay health advisers, people like you just met, who are from the various immigrant communities. They do interpretation. They do health education activities. They transport people to medical providers. Another one that's just starting is a refugee microenterprise helping refugees start small business, mostly through counseling them into community college, collaboration with chamber of commerce, things like that.
BARBARA LAU:
SBA [Small Business Association] programs?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Yeah.
BARBARA LAU:
I think that since a lot of these people I'm going to be interviewing are what I would call first-generation Americans from different families. I am really interested in your opinion about this experience that they have in being bi-cultural and then trying to navigate and create an identity like that. I guess this is the final question, the analysis question—What your observations and experiences have been about how people do that successfully, create a more bi-cultural identity that allows them to live comfortably in both worlds.
RALEIGH BAILEY:
Actually, as you're talking, what I started thinking about is a staff person who, I don't know if she's done it successfully or not, but she was under pressure from her community to be married at fifteen, which is their custom, and have a child each year, and be completely subjected to the will of the elders. She's resisted that and went to college, which is not the custom. Is now a professional here, and from the American perspective is the

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epitome of success. From some people in her community, she has brought shame to them because she waited so long to marry and is in the outside world. So there's that dilemma. Particularly in the most rigid communities, I think you're going to have to break away from the traditions to some degree. Break away from the will of the elders, and then pick up the pieces and help the community survive.
BARBARA LAU:
Do you think people often do that? What do you think the draw is for kids given, for example, that situation, where once you're on your way out, why not keep going? Why stay? Why do you think draws some of the young people you work with to being such advocates and so strong in terms of their responsibility to do community service?
RALEIGH BAILEY:
I think they already see and experience the tension between two worlds. But this gives them a path between the two, I think, or a hope for reconciliation. I've never quite said this this way before, but that's what I think. They can see, we can honor our elders and our country and our traditions, but we can also help our community adapt to the reality of where we now live.
END OF INTERVIEW