Massachusetts: In a heartwarming ceremony during the Tibetan Losar Celebration of the 2151 Wood Dragon year, Congressman Barney Frank was honoured by the Regional Tibetan Association of Massachusetts for his pivotal role in the resettlement of Tibetan refugees in the United States. The event marked the 32nd anniversary of a historic migration that began in 1992, following the passage of legislation that Congressman Frank sponsored. This legislation enabled 1,000 Tibetan refugees from India and Nepal to find a new home in the United States.
Embedded within the Immigration Act of 1990, the Tibetan U.S. Resettlement Project (TUSRP) emerged as a landmark initiative within a broader legislative framework aimed at reforming immigration policies in the United States. As a representative of Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party, Congressman Frank was instrumental in introducing and sponsoring this key provision, showcasing his unwavering dedication to advancing human rights and the cause of refugee resettlement.
The celebration was attended by a vibrant community of Tibetans, Sherpas, volunteers, and host families involved in the Tibetan Resettlement Project. Addressing the gathering, Congressman Barney Frank reflected on the success of the project and the broader implications of immigration in America. He highlighted the mutual benefits of the resettlement, both for the Tibetan refugees who escaped Chinese oppression and for the United States, which enriched its cultural tapestry with the Tibetan people’s presence. Congressman Frank’s speech also underscored the significance of diversity and immigration as the bedrock of American society, drawing parallels with his own family’s history of migration from Eastern Europe. He expressed gratitude for recognising his efforts and touched on the enduring value of such humanitarian endeavours while underscoring the lasting impact of good deeds.
Thondup Tsering, a member of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile representing North and South America, extended heartfelt recognition to Congressman Barney Frank for his pivotal role in legislation, Edward Bednar for his exemplary leadership, and the volunteers and host families whose unwavering compassion and assistance brought the Tibetan U.S. Resettlement Project (TUSRP) to fruition. He lauded the TUSRP as a monumental achievement, emphasising its mission to enable resettled Tibetans to serve as “Ambassadors of Tibet” within the United States, thus ensuring the preservation and promotion of Tibetan culture, language, and identity.
Thondup also addressed the ongoing challenges in occupied Tibet, underscoring the alarming findings of the Freedom House report, which, for the second year running, identified Tibet as the least free region globally. He shed light on the severe cultural and linguistic assimilation impacting Tibetan children forced into Chinese colonial boarding schools and criticised the Chinese Government’s systematic efforts to diminish Tibetan identity by substituting “Tibet” with “Xi-Zang.”
Tsultrem Kunsang, President of the Regional Tibetan Association of Massachusetts, conveyed profound gratitude towards Congressman Barney Frank and all those who contributed to the resettlement of 1,000 Tibetans in the United States, realising a longstanding dream for the Tibetan community. He credited the thriving Tibetan diaspora in America to the foresighted guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the steadfast commitment of Tibetans both in their homeland and in exile, and the consistent support from the U.S. government, leaders, and compassionate individuals.
Tsultrem reiterated the collective Tibetan aspiration for the robust health and longevity of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, echoing the hope for the realisation of his visions and the success of the non-violent Tibetan movement. His remarks served as a poignant reminder of the Tibetan people’s enduring resilience and their persistent quest for justice, peace, and freedom.
Younten Gyatso, one of the first Tibetans resettled in the Amherst area through this project, shared his personal journey from being a refugee to becoming a proud member of the Tibetan-American diaspora. His story exemplified the hopes and dreams of the Tibetan community, which has grown to over 30,000 in the United States. Younten’s narrative highlighted the community’s commitment to preserving its cultural identity while contributing to the fabric of American society and the global community.
In a profound gesture of gratitude, Congressman Barney Frank, alongside the dedicated volunteers and host families of the Tibetan Resettlement Project in the Amherst area, was honoured with certificates of recognition from the Central Tibetan Administration and Tibetan Parliament in Exile. A standing ovation from the community members reverberated through the hall, a poignant salute to their pivotal role in weaving the success story of the Tibetan diaspora in America. This event etched a momentous milestone in the annals of Tibetan resettlement in the United States. It was a testament to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visionary leadership, the steadfast support of US Congress, and the unwavering commitment of Congressman Barney Frank and numerous individuals across the United States. Together, they embodied the resilient spirit of the Tibetan people, united in turning this ambitious dream into a vibrant reality.
-Report filed by Office of Tibet, Washington DC