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Meet NAKASEC – Jani Kim

By September 23, 2011No Comments

Do you ever wonder who the people at NAKASEC and our affiliate centers, KRC and KRCC, are? Not just the staff, but the community members, volunteers, interns and board members? Well they are the ones who keep us grounded, help drive our campaigns and keep us motivated. You may have seen our seniors on the State Capitol fighting against budget cuts, our young people dancing, singing and shouting out for youth rights or our children playing poongmul (Korean drums) at rallies and marches.

Well, in order for you to get to know us better, we are rolling out our #meetNAKASEC Fridays where we will profile one person within our network.

Today we’re featuring Jani Kim, Immigrant Rights Program Coordinator at KRC! We hope you enjoy!


Q: What’s your name?
A: Hello, my name is Jani Mijin Kim.

Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born in Redondo Beach, grew up in Fullerton, and went to school in Claremont. Now, I work at KRC in Los Angeles!

Q: How did you get involved with KRC, KRCC and/or NAKASEC?
A: I wish I had an inspirational story for this.. but I needed a job! When my current job was ending, someone told me that there was a job opening at KRC, and I applied. I didn’t really know what I was headed towards, but now I am extremely grateful that I am here.

Q: Tell us of a memorable moment with KRC, KRCC and/or NAKASEC (this could be a campaign, action, or even a simple casual gathering at KRC…why it was memorable..)?
A: The KRC Retreat 2011 has got to be one of my most memorable experiences at KRC. About 60 children, parents, seniors, college students, staff members, board members and supporters all came together to talk about their community. Even with language barriers, we were able to understand each other through simultaneous translations and translation headsets. The translations were difficult and sometimes time-consuming, but everyone was patient and understanding. It was moving to see everyone working together and having a great time despite the generation gaps. Even though preparing for the retreat was hard work, it gave me a renewed sense of what community really is and why we are doing the work we do. Also, we discovered some serious marshmallow experts at the campfire!

Q: What hope do you see for the Korean American community?
A: I have a lot of hope for the Korean American youth in our community. During our Summer Youth Empowerment Program, I had the opportunity to work with 14 amazing high school students who reminded me of the importance of investing in our youth. We spent eight weeks together discussing our immigration history, the budget, civic participation, environmental justice, and equality. Some of the topics were tough, but the students were willing to learn. We even started a community garden at the KRC after learning about food justice and accessible organic produce. I hope that the youth will seek to create positive change within our community and always remember that their voice matters.

Q: If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be and why?
A: I do really badly with these kinds of questions. When I was in high school, I interviewed to become a Homecoming Princess (don’t ask me why). My first question was, “If you could have one wish, what would it be?” There are so many possible answers to this question, but I completely froze. I began to notice that I hadn’t spoken for quite some time, and everyone in the room was just staring at me… so I blurted out, “Cheesecake!”  I didn’t win.

Q: What is your comfort food and why?
A: My mom’s kimchi-jjigae. No one can make it like she can, and I always miss it whenever I am away from home.



Meet other folks at KRC, KRCC and NAKASEC!