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California passes laws to aid digital consumers

 September 19, 2023 at 12:04 PM PDT

S1: It's time for Midday Edition on Kpbs. Today , we are talking about your data and your digital devices. I'm Jade Hindman. Here's to conversations that keep you informed , inspired and make you think. The process of getting a cell phone repaired can be so cumbersome it's easier to just buy a new one. But a new bill could change that.

S2: You know , when you buy something , you should be able to do what you want with it. And this is about giving people all those options.

S1: Plus , we'll break down more legislation that makes it easier for you to delete your data online and a program to protect Cambodian American children from generational trauma. That's ahead on Midday Edition. A new bill that's better for the environment and might also save you some money , offers repair benefits that are both accessible and affordable. Senate Bill 244 , better known as the Right to Repair Act , stands out because it mandates companies make it easier for you to repair your electronics and appliances , which means that instead of upgrading your glitchy cell phone every two years , you might be able to just get it repaired instead. The California Public Interest Research Group director Jen Engstrom and local repair shop owner Tony Heffel from Ettech iPhone and MacBook Repair Shop spoke with Kpbs Midday Edition producer Andrew Bracken about the bill.

S3: So Jen , you've been on the program before talking about the right to repair. It's something that you've been working on for years now.

S2: So we are really excited because last week the state legislature finally after six years , approved the Right to Repair Act. What this bill does is it gives all Californians , both consumers and independent repair shops , access to what we need to fix our stuff. So access to the parts and the tools and the service information needed to repair our electronics and our appliances so we can keep them working longer and throw less away.


S2: We've heard a lot of people complain about breaking their laptop computers and needing to get them fixed and experiencing really high prices. And this will help people to , you know , be able to fix them cheaper because there'll be more competition and consumer choice in the repair marketplace.


S2: California households alone produce an estimated 772,000 tons of e-waste each year. That's 46,000 cell phones every single day. And that's a problem because it's not only overfilling our landfills , but when those electronics break down , that can lead to toxic chemicals like lead and mercury into our environment. It could even get into our groundwater. So by keeping things in use longer , we can really cut down on all of that e-waste. And then on top of that , when you have to replace something because you can't get it fixed , that also means more manufacturing , more production , and that uses a lot of energy can release greenhouse gas emissions. So by keeping things in use longer , we're also helping the climate. We estimated that if you kept yourself if everyone kept their cell phone for one year longer , that would be the equivalent in terms of emission reductions as taking 600,000 cars off the road.

S3: And , Tony , you know , you see this in your day to day.

S4: Those are the most common ones. Back in the day , didn't used to be too much of a problem. We would just change your screen or your battery and send you on your way. Now , if we change your screen battery or camera , you're going to get this notification that it's been changed. And it says unable to verify if this part is original or not. Even if you did put the original one in there. It's kind of hard to convince customers sometime that you're not cheating them , that it actually is an original part.

S3: And you specialize in Apple products.

S4: It doesn't need to be so hard to fix. But yeah , they just kind of go out of their way to make it harder and harder. We'll just take the battery , for example. We used to just be able to to pop it out of there. Now they use like really tight adhesive and it's like glued in there so hard it makes it kind of dangerous to pull it out. It's a task in itself , just kind of little booby traps or even if you do have the part , it won't work if you install it. So we have a lot of hurdles to jump through.

S3: You know , Tony , now that you mention it , I actually have an older MacBook with a broken screen.

S4: So your old one , you'd probably be more cost efficient to fix the old one. Keep it running because there's probably nothing wrong with it other than you just wanting the new one because they make you want it. And then if you do get the new one and then if you do happen to break that new one , the repair. Cost for the new one opposed to your old ones. It's kind of something I'd tell people to think about , especially with phones. Yeah.

S3: Yeah. And Jen , you know , Tony just mentioned it , this idea of of these companies kind of making you want the new one. I know , for the Right to Repair Act. You know , you've been working with companies like Apple.

S2: And these are companies that were longtime opponents to this idea. I think it just shows that right to repair is become very popular amongst consumers. Folks want to be able to fix things and want to be able to fix things easily and affordably. And so they saw it and , you know , in their interest to actually come on board and support this idea. So they're supportive of the bill. Now we need to make sure that the bill gets signed and then they , you know , implement it and make their things both repairable , easier to repair and then just more repairable and last longer.

S3: What would that actually look like in terms of making it easier to repair ? Yeah.

S2: So , I mean , the first thing is to make the repair materials available. That's what right to repair is about , that if things are fixable , those things we need the parts and the tools and the service information should be accessible to customers , to consumers , independent repair shops. You know , this is the idea of ownership. If you own something , you should be able to fix it how you want to fix it and have all these choices. That's the first step. And then there's the next step , which is to just make the devices actually last longer and not need to repair them so much , making them designed to last. So that's really what we need companies to start doing is actually designing their products so that you don't have to fix them so often that they actually are , you know , designed to last.

S3: And in this process , you know , getting these companies like Apple on board , I mean , were there concerns more about intellectual property or more just about potential loss of sales ? You know , this idea of customers hanging on to devices longer ? Yeah.

S2: Mean the things that the company said that they were looking for is to make sure that the bill protected consumers privacy and protected intellectual property. So we worked with the industry to come up with amendments to just make sure that this bill was good for consumers and good for these companies. And we think that the end result is something that is really good for the state of California. We're hoping that the governor signs it.

S3: You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. I'm Andrew Bracken. I'm speaking with Jenn Engstrom from CalPERS and San Diego repair store owner Tony Hippo about the Right to Repair Act , which was approved by the California legislature last week. Jen , as we noted , you and other advocates have worked on this legislation for years now , but earlier efforts never made it this far.

S2: What started out is a really radical idea six years ago. It's now something that both the Biden administration has called for that other states have enacted. There's right to repair laws now in New York and Minnesota. And it's something that the public just , just wants. We've seen a lot of support in our state. Over 100 elected officials have signed on in support and 80 repair shops and environmental groups. The thing that's really cool for me is to just know that this started as a scrappy group of tinkerers and consumers and environmentalists and small business owners who decided to come together to take on the tech industry to fight for the right to fix our stuff , which again , was thought of as really radical. But now it's become something that is just really common sense. And then the public agrees we should have and the legislature approved it with bipartisan support. So it just shows that if you come together with a smart idea , you can , you know , if you build enough public support and kind of get the idea out there and build enough visibility around something , you can make things happen. It's pretty exciting to see.



S3: So this bill passed with near unanimous support. I think there may have been just one no vote in total.

S2: It's good for consumers , it's good for small businesses , and it's good for the planet. This will save Californians an estimated $5 billion a year. It will reduce the amount of e-waste that ends up in our landfills , and it will help small businesses thrive. So it's kind of a win win win. And once we brought that idea up to people , it was really , you know , no arguing that this just makes sense for our state. So a lot of it was having to just make sure people understood what right to repair really is about and building , educating them and building support around this issue.


S4: Just mainly the costs or how long can you keep that thing going.

S3: And Jen , I'm curious what resources you might be able to recommend for consumers considering fixing versus maybe recycling an older device ? I think you mentioned kind of , you know , these tinkerers and , you know , engaging with this Tinkerer community and this process.

S2: Yeah , I mean , first of all , I'd say the great thing about Right to Repair is that if this becomes law , you'll have that decision , those choices. You know , when you buy something , you should be able to do what you want with it. And this is about giving people all those options. So if you like fixing things yourself , you can fix it yourself. There's good resources out there , like I fix it. That has a lot of how to's on how to fix things yourself. If you want to get it recycled and get it to an e-waste recycler , you can do that. We've worked with Homeboy Industries , which has a great e-waste recycler , and they'll refurbish a lot of items and resell them to folks in the community that need those more affordable devices. Or if you want to go to a local repair shop , you can do that. And then of course , there's nothing stopping you from still going to the original manufacturer if you want to go there to to get it fixed. The point is just to have all of those different options.

S3: I think California is just the third state to pass legislation like this.

S2: I mean , first of all , there are over 40 states that have introduced legislation like this in the last six years. There is also federal right to repair legislation that has been introduced , though , you know , hasn't gotten that far. But we're hoping now that we have something we're on the verge here in California , that that will make it easier for other states and hopefully to get some. Passed nationally.


S4: Yeah. Can make a long list of them.

S3: Oh , give us a few.

S4: Some of these things , no matter what , it's not going to work when you put a new one in , things like that. Not blocking us through software once we do have the hardware. So it's kind of like a dealing with one thing or the other. It just make life so much easier.


S4: Do not even attempt to do it because you will break something. It's going to end up costing you more because it's not as easy as you think.

S3: So , Jen , this bill passed last week. It now sits on Governor Gavin Newsom's desk.

S2: We're hoping that given that the bill passed with so much support in the legislature , that that means he'll sign it. But , you know , we're waiting at this point and hoping that he does.

S1: That was the California Public Interest Research Group director Jen Ekstrom and local repair store owner Tony Hypo speaking with Midday Edition producer Andrew Bracken.


S1: Learn more about that and how to delete your digital footprint after the break. You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. Welcome back to Kpbs Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman. Now we go from the right to repair to the right to delete. California lawmakers last week passed a bill to make it easier for us to delete our personal information online if signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. The Delete Act would allow Californians to reduce their digital footprint through a single request. Here to explain more about digital footprints is Mark Kosinski , senior vice president of strategic partnerships at One Rep , which is a data protection company. Mark , welcome to Midday Edition. Hi.

S5: Hi. Thanks for having. Me.

S1: Me. Glad to have you here.

S5: And at every stop along the way , whether it's through a browser or through an app that we're using the sites , whether it's a business site like an e-commerce store like Amazon or a publisher where we're reading news articles or we're listening to a podcast to you name it , watching a movie trailer , everything that we do across the Internet basically becomes part of our digital footprint and all those different stopping points that we make every single day. All these different kinds of business entities are collecting our data and each one of those represents some little piece of our footprint. And ultimately , what what happens are different companies try to take those little bits and turn them into bigger and bigger bits so that they can learn more and more about us and use that information for a wide swath of of reasons , whether it's marketing , selling as advertising , selling our data and other things.

S1: That's a lot to dig into. So how much information is actually out there about us ? Yeah.

S5: I mean , I think the simple answer is too much information. And that's really , you know , part of the problem is there's so much information out there that most of us , even myself , who I'm in this business every day , it's so difficult to find all the information that someone has on you out there and then go through the process to try to have it removed or deleted or blocked or not made available for sale. It's it's sadly a hugely cumbersome problem.

S1: Well , you know , so there are data brokers. So what exactly are data brokers and how do they get my information ? Yeah.

S5: So data brokers operate on a couple different levels. So and I think you also have to use the term data like collectors , I'll say as well. So there's kind of like three levels. At the end of the day. There's let's just use the simple term websites , various websites that collect data about you and I every single day. Like we go to a website , we register to , you know , learn more about their e-commerce products or we register to watch a movie trailer or we register to read the news or anything and everything in between all these little collection points we're typing in our information into their site so that we can create an account or so that we can gain access to that thing that we want. The trailer , the news , the article , the song , you name it. And what happens is there's big companies , big data aggregators , I'll say that basically partner or try to purchase data if you want to think of it that way , from all these like little publishers , if you want to call them that , these little data collection sites and the big data aggregators collect little bits of information from all these different sites about us , right ? No , one of these small companies that's collecting that has everything on every American. But the big data aggregators are trying to do that , right ? So by collecting data from call it a thousand different websites , they can start to find , oh , marks over here , marks over their marks over here and start to assemble like a synthetic identity about who I am. And then what happens is once they have enough data about me from all these collection points that they partner with , well , then they start to sell it and they sell it to smaller data aggregators that are sometimes also known as people , search sites. These are kind of the real nasty ones that you see when you do a Google search for yourself , like Spokeo and My Life and White Pages and all these sites that basically buy your personal information by that digital footprint and then they create what seems very innocuous , but they create HTML pages with some of our information on it so that Google can then crawl their websites and index all this personal information.


S5: Like they're not yet maybe at the the larger aggregators side , these big data aggregators , they're probably using it because they're more sophisticated. They're , you know , they're big companies , right ? Some are publicly traded. And so they're probably using artificial intelligence and machine learning to stitch the data together. But when you bring it down to these , again , what are known as people , search websites , these sites aren't very sophisticated. They're really just marketing sites. And they're really good with what's called SEO or search engine optimization. So they're not doing anything fancy. They're just simply buying data as their product to sell , putting it in such a way that Google can index it. And then , you know , people around the Internet can find it and buy it. Wow.


S5: So they're making pretty good coin off of our data. And really the key , you know , the sad key to this is like you and I never authorized any of them to have our information , much less put it in a manner that Google can index it. Like I certainly never signed anything that agreed to that. Right.

S6: Right.


S5: We don't own our identity. The companies that collect our data and process it are the ones that actually own our data and our identities. And so that's like a to me , the fundamental issue is like , I don't own my own information. Amazon owns it and a thousand other websites own it , but I don't own it. I have no rights to it because in essence , by using Amazon or using any of these little , you know , movie trailer websites , any website that I go to , I'm basically giving them permission to have my data and do what they want with it because they listed in their privacy policy that they're going to be selling my data. Right. Right.

S6: Right.


S5: We'll have to see how it actually gets applied because again , you know , what's happening is these large data aggregators , these big publicly traded companies that collect data for a living , you know , they feel like they have all the rights to this data because , you know , the publisher that originally collected it gave them the permission. So it's going to have to come down to what are those rights on a particular site when you sign up for the site , for the site services , Like again , I always pick on like movie trailers , you have to register and give them some basic information. But you're agreeing to a privacy policy in terms of service and use of that data. It all starts right there. So the Delete Act is interesting , but it's sort of like trying to catch it on the back end , not on the front end. And I think that's like where I'm waiting to see how it really manifests itself is like , why are these companies even collecting and moving this data around in the first place ? Right ? Just because , you know , then to put in a delete act where we try to delete it , you know , after it's already been released , it's like we need to solve this problem up front.

S1: You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman. I'm speaking with Mark Kozinski of one rep about our digital footprints.

S5: I always like to say just because they have to do something doesn't mean they have to make it easy or do it fast. And what you find with these people search sites is , you know , they drag their feet on it because every time we remove information from their site , we're basically removing product that they can no longer sell. And so the challenge is , you know , they don't want to remove product , so they make it very difficult for consumers to have their information removed. And then again , because they're really just marketing companies , they they don't really have a lot of data efficacy. So just because you've submitted a removal request and and even if they acknowledge it and actually do remove it , there's no guarantee that in a few months or six months when they get new data feeds from their suppliers , that your data is back in their system.

S6: And when you think.

S1: About how all of our data is actually intertwined , I mean , just to , you know , get a cell phone , you've got to put your Google information in. You know , I mean , everything's linked to this email account. And then through that email account , you're doing searches online. I mean , it's it's quite interesting.

S5: It's crazy. And to me , the just the crazy part is like , how is it that Google is allowed to index all of our personal information and make it so easy to find like , how is that a thing ? Right. That feels like an easy thing. Easier thing. Anyway , to shut down first is like if Google weren't allowed to index all of these people search websites , that's half the battle right there because that's the Google is the first place people go to try to find my personal information. So if we take that out , it just is making it far more difficult for people at the starting point to even find it , because they'll type in my name , they'll just find my LinkedIn profile and be disappointed that they can't find my home address and then give up. You know , the majority of people will do that. But , you know , I think Google has a lot to answer for in this case as well.

S1: So even if California then does make it easier to delete personal information online , it wouldn't go into effect until 2026.

S5: Right. And sadly , this is something the consumer has to do , the end user has to do. It's not like someone else is looking out for you. You know , the government's not looking out for you businesses or , you know. You got to take ownership for this problem or issue yourself. So the first thing we always recommend is do a Google search for your name , but use a browser that's in what's called incognito mode. So you're basically doing it as like a general user of the Internet would find your information. You'll be kind of shocked to find how much information is out there and and easily indexed on you. The second thing you can do is certainly you can try to manually request all your information to be removed from these people's search websites or certainly that's the business that we're in at one rep. And you know , you could use a service like ours or the like that will help scrub the information. So you kind of like , got to find it , you got to scrub it. And then the proactive thing after that is , you know , start thinking about creating like a synthetic identity for yourself , meaning a fake fake identity. And that's what you use when you sign up for things on the Internet so that you're not giving out your real personal information. Because even though it seems like , oh , it's just a little movie trailer website , like it has huge potential ramifications. And so we try to recommend people to create some fake identities that , you know , like I use this one for banking , I use this one for e-commerce , I use this one for sites where I'm trying to get a coupon or something. And that way you also know where your data is coming from when it potentially can reappear on the Internet.

S1: It's also like , you know , it's not even just online , it's on apps. The apps on your phone are collecting data. I mean , there's so much out there and evidently it brings in a lot of a lot of money for brokers.

S5: Well , you know what's funny ? I always joke. It's like I'm old enough , I guess , to remember like the days sort of pre-Internet. And it was like when the Internet really was just taking off in the mid to late 90s. It was like everyone was like , You got to be on the Internet , you got to be found. People have to find you on the Internet. And now it's like , I don't want to be found. Please don't find me on the Internet. Like , let me do everything I can not to be found.

S1: The sentiment has. Changed.

S6: Changed.

S1: I've been speaking with Mark Kosinski , senior vice president of Strategic Partnerships at One Rep. Mark , thank you so much.

S5: Thank you so much as well. And you know , hopefully people get out there , find their information and start scrubbing it.

S1: Coming up , a program for Cambodian American children to repair generational trauma.

S7: You have to be happy and move forward. And they would always tell me , you know , the kids back in Cambodia have it much worse than than us. You know , we are blessed to be here in America.

S1: You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. Welcome back to Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman. Fresno is home to the fifth largest Cambodian American community in California , a cultural kids program. There is one of the many ways the Cambodian community is working to protect the next generation from the collective trauma of a brutal genocide that killed some 2 million people in the 1970s.

S8: While one person in 10th May be a physical casualty of the war , four people out of ten have been rendered homeless.

S1: Many refugees fled the horror of the Karma Rouge during pulpits regime and those who survived , including those who came here to California , often passed that trauma down to their kids. Sara Hawke from Cave Valley Public Radio is going to introduce us to one Fresno family working to heal from that experience. And just a heads up , this story talks directly about suicide.

S9: I'm at Fresno's largest Cambodian Buddhist temple for the inauguration of the new abbot. Chance , prayers and blessings begin a three day ceremony to welcome him. This was where I first met 36 year old Nancy Meese , who helped to organize the event. She likes to volunteer at the temple and is often one of the youngest participants here.

S7: Even though I'm American born. But I feel like , you know , to make my ancestors proud , to make my parents and family proud. I have to carry on the tradition.

S9: Nancy was born and raised in Fresno to parents who fled the Khmer Rouge. She says her culture was almost stamped out by the genocide , mass migration. But it's these kinds of communal events that keep them whole. She has lots of memories at this temple where her grandmother was a Buddhist nun.

S7: I remember dropping my grandma off. She would come here and teach me how to , like , you know , the Buddhist way of living.

S9: Nancy often brings food to the monks , one of whom is her father , Kongming. He moved here to carry on the family's tradition of service a few years after his mother's death in 2012. On this hot and humid afternoon , the 76 year old begins one of his favorite duties at the temple. Watering the plants and vegetables.

UU: Like in I like that.

S10: Let me say.

S9: The peaceful atmosphere is a sharp contrast to what Kong and his family endured to get here. Like many Cambodian families in the US today , the Meese family arrived as refugees.

S11: When the Khmer Rouge marched victoriously into Phnom Penh. No one knew how they would rule Cambodia. The country's borders were quickly sealed.

S9: Kong remembers the brutal working conditions under the regime. There wasn't enough food and many people starved to death.

S12: You come. The Tuka , my guy. I bought my my bicycle.

S9: One of his children died from starvation and his older brother was executed by Khmer Rouge soldiers. He never knew what happened to him.

S12: With all the land land we map.

S9: Nancy only knows the broad strokes of what her parents endured in 1979 when the regime fell. They , like thousands of others , fled to Thailand while they waited for exit visas. Nancy's father risked his life to help other people sneak into their camp cow dung. It was the main place people could get visas to immigrate.

S7: He brought as many families as he possibly can. I'm talking about hundreds of families with no more.

S12: You know , I'm young. Might not like the job.

S9: Kong Meese recalled how risky the missions were. They had to travel at night. Many of those he helped were living in other refugee camps. They were weak , sick and desperate to get into Sweden for the chance to leave that nightmare.

S12: You're more like you to hide.

S9: Kong went out every night guiding those who had lost their way. Thieves regularly searched travelers for hidden jewelry , and armed guards prowled the jungle paths.

S12: Away like we come.

S9: For Kong. The risks were worth it. He and his family eventually received a visa for the United States and emigrated to Fresno. They arrived in 1984. Nancy was born two years later. More than 40 years after the genocide , Nancy knows her parents suffer from the trauma of what they witnessed , but they don't talk much about the details. And even if they were willing to talk about what they went through , Nancy might not understand them.

S7: It's broken. English broken. My all mixed up. And so , like , there's a lot of miscommunication. So , yeah , it could be quite a. A lot of work , actually.

S9: Nancy says her parents didn't understand the way their kids dressed or acted once they moved to Fresno. They had grown up in a more reserved society.

S7: It's hard to understand their parents where they came from. And so that causes a lot of. You know , it's just the culture clash.

S9: After resettling in the US. Her parents were busy adjusting to a foreign country and finding work. They didn't have a lot of spare time to spend with their kids and they lived in a low income neighbourhood all they could afford.

S7: I just feel like there is a huge gap in so many levels for our community , like we didn't have the right resources or if there was really any resource , you know , health care , education. It was just so hard for it to be accessible for our community.

S9: The Mease family survived a genocide , but they couldn't escape more tragedy in the US. Nancy is one of eight kids. Only five are still alive today. One child died during the genocide. Fresno claimed two more. Nancy's sister died by suicide in 2010. She was only 25.

S7: We didn't expect it to happen. You know , my sister was a very bubbly person , loving , caring , kind.

S9: Kenia was only a year older than Nancy , and they were close.

S7: It was just so hurtful that she couldn't at least sure what was going inside , what was bothering her , because we were like best friends.

S9: Kenia had been struggling with depression for months , but it was taboo in their family to talk about it.

S7: You have to be happy and move forward. And they would always tell me , You know , the kids back in Cambodia have it much worse than than us. You know , we are blessed to be here in America.

S9: Nancy knows this is how her parents learn to cope with all they suffered. But she wonders about the impact it had on her sister's mental health.

S7: I felt like they were dismissing what we felt internally and because of that , not not wanting to blame them. But I feel in a sense that's the reason why my sister hid everything inside and didn't dare to let anything out. And she dealt with it by herself.

S9: Nancy just wishes Kenya had confided in her.

S7: It took a toll on me where I felt like I failed to be a sister.

S9: Their Southeast Fresno neighborhood had gangs , and her brothers got involved.

S7: And it was a way for them to protect themselves from being bullied by other ethnic groups.

S9: Because of his gang connections , one of her brothers was deported to Cambodia , doesn't.

S7: Even know Cambodia. He doesn't know the culture , and he can barely speak the language.

S9: Just after he was detained , Nancy's sister Kenia died by suicide. He was in shackles when he attended Kenyas viewing. He wasn't even allowed to stay for the funeral.

S7: He took a really hard. He was able to go to a viewing for like literally 30 minutes. And it's I broke my heart to see him drop down to his knees and. So , you know , just ball.

S9: Rocked by these losses. Nancy planned a trip to Cambodia the following year. She wanted to visit sacred religious sites , check on her brother and ground herself. While there , she experienced something profound , what she calls an awakening.

S7: I completely changed. I just completely , like , prioritize my life and filter out what wasn't important.

S9: And when she returned to Fresno , she saw it as her duty to help her family heal from their losses.

S7: I felt like I. I had a huge role in bringing the family together , in a sense , spiritually. And if I don't do that , I feel like we're going to fall apart again.

S9: Her faith was put to the test once again just a few years ago. Nancy's oldest sister died from complications related to alcohol. Nancy says drinking was her way of coping with Kenyas death. Sometimes it all feels too much for Nancy to carry.


S9: She did see a therapist when Kenia died , but didn't find it very helpful. She says if the care was more geared towards Cambodians , it might have been different. There is a model for that type of culturally responsive care in Fresno already.

S13: The group room.

S9: Jay Vang is the clinical director at the Fresno Center whose mission is to offer health and immigration services to the Southeast Asian community.

S13: So we have our men's group , our young women's group , our elderly women's group.

S9: I think right now they predominantly serve Hmong patients. But Vang says Cambodian Americans could benefit to the Fresno Center's success with the Hmong community started with destigmatizing mental health.

S14: Generation after generation , Bean told them that if you have mental health , you're actually crazy , but really you're not.

S9: Dr. Zhejiang is a clinical psychologist and program director here. He says people were turned off by terms like mental health or clinic.

S14: And we actually have a lot of lady to kind of just kind of test this out with their husband and say , you know , when he asked you , where are you going ? You just say , I'm going to go to the happy house rather than going seek mental health. Right. It's a better positive turn here.

S9: People can get culturally appropriate care in their own language. A must , says Vang.

S13: When when you provide mental health services with the interpreter , it completely changed the context of therapy , because then you have to translate what the client is saying to the interpreter. Then the interpreter translate it to you. You lose all the emotions , she says.

S9: Sessions with elders in the community are very different from a Western approach to therapy. They don't take kindly to direct questions.

S13: It's almost like a dance , you know , They come in we have to talk about , So what did you do today ? Those type of thing. And I was like , Oh , nothing. And we have to kind of dance around what they do and how they're feeling , right ? And then ten minutes into the session , they finally say , Oh , I feel really depressed.

S9: Vang started working with this program in 2019 and has seen it grow significantly. Although Vang and Xiong are both Hmong and specialize in treating Hmong patients. They say the intergenerational trauma and barriers to accessing care are similar across the Southeast Asian community.

S13: Sometimes the parents are just so busy making a living , you know , so busy with making sure that there's food on the table , know they don't have time for their kids. And so when they don't have time for their kids and that oftentimes lead into like drugs.

S9: The parents and grandparents , survivors of war trauma have a drive to survive. But the younger generation born in the US doesn't have that same focus. And that can lead to a culture clash , says Vang.

S13: They feel a sense of abandonment. There's really not a sense of belonging with the family. There's no sort of like relationship at all.

S9: To make up for that. Children often try to find supportive relationships somewhere else , sometimes in gangs. Many also suffer from anxiety , depression and suicidal thoughts.

S13: But because the parents have their own traumas and could be the fact that they're just really depressed , they really know how to talk to them at all.

S9: And traumatized parents can create new trauma for their children. These are all things Nancy Meyers experienced in her own family. That's why she often visits the temple. It's her tradition to go on a meditation walk each time.

S7: So each step that I take around the perimeter of the shrine , I feel like it brings me more healing , brings more peace , more comfort.

S9: She makes sure to pass by the main pagoda and the prayer hall.

S7: If I don't take a look at it , it's. It's not. It's. I don't feel complete.

S9: And she often lingers at her favorite spot , the pond.

S7: I love seeing the lotus flowers.

S9: They sprout up from the green lily pads , tall , thin stalks , blooming white and pink flowers.

S7: In order for it to become the beautiful flower , it has to go through mud. And , you know , like all the dirt and challenges the the weather.

S9: They remind her of her own journey.

S7: But at the end of all the challenges and the winds and the storms. At the end. It blossoms , right ? It blooms so beautifully.

S1: That piece was reported by Cherith Hawk from KV PR Public Radio. Anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide can call 988 to access the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. It is available 24 hours a day. That's our show for today. Don't forget to watch Evening Edition tonight at five for in-depth reporting on San Diego issues. We'll be back tomorrow at noon. And if you ever miss a show , you can find the Midday Edition podcast on all platforms. I'm Jade Hindman. Thanks for listening.

Emilie Weideman and her father, Marc Weideman try their new iPhones in June in Palo Alto, Calif. Many of the new phones' owners are complaining of a glitch that drops calls.
Paul Sakuma
Emilie Weideman and her father, Marc Weideman try their new iPhones in June in Palo Alto, Calif. Many of the new phones' owners are complaining of a glitch that drops calls.

California lawmakers passed two bills aimed at improving the lives of digital consumers in the state. The Delete Act would make it easier for Californians to remove their personal information online through a single request. The Right to Repair Act looks to make repairing electronics and appliances easier, reducing electronic waste in the process. Both bills now wait for Gov. Gavin Newsom's final approval.


Jenn Engstrom, state director, CALPIRG

Tony Heupel, owner, iTech iPhone & MacBook Repair

Mark Kapczynski, senior vice president, One Rep