Sheila Nem Sy
Sheila Nem Sy is proudly Long Beach-raised and strongly connected to her roots, both in the city and in the Cambodian community. She works with the Southeast Asian Freedom Network and is preparing to enter a doctoral program to study the impacts of generational family separations on refugee families. As a second-generation Cambodian-American, Sheila is surrounded by those who bring culture and history to her community, as they continue to heal from their unique experience.
It’s that same sort of community that keeps Sheila riding with LBT. She knows a few of the Operators and has met interesting people and heard their stories along the way. “You can do an ethnographic study on your way to the place you need to go,” Sheila says about the way people from different cultures and backgrounds interact with one another on the bus.
Sheila started riding the bus as a young person with her mother, as well as with her friends after school at Long Beach Poly. Now as an adult, she and her spouse have committed to being a one-car household, giving Sheila plenty of opportunities to experience Long Beach with LBT. “Even though I have access to a car when I need it, I choose to walk, bike, and take transit as often as possible,” she says. “Non-car travel gives you more time to absorb the many layers of the city and to more deeply shape it.”
Before safer-at-home orders went into place, Sheila took the bus to meet up with friends Downtown and to connect to the Metro ‘A’ Line for her job in LA. She believes in the shared responsibility Long Beach residents have to pass on quality air and collective resources to the next generation, and rides with transit to help shape a future we can all be proud of.
“As I navigate the City, I’m grounded in past experiences and memories of loved ones that have shaped who I am,” says Sheila. “Riding the bus gives me more time in my neighborhood, so that I can nod to neighbors, build relationships and absorb the changes in the garden.”