Meet NAKASEC – Shawn Kim

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 Shawn Kim, Civic Participation Coordinator at KRC! We hope you enjoy!

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Q: What’s your name?
A: Shawn Kim

Q: Where are you from?
A: Born in Seoul, came to the US in 6th grade and been in Irvine ever since.

Q: How did you get involved with KRC, KRCC and/or NAKASEC?
A: When I was a legislative staffer, I got to know a lot of Korean American organizations in Southern California. It seemed to me that KRC was one of the organizations that really wanted to do good and is able to really navigate itself as a premier service organization.

Q: What was one of the first actions or campaigns you remember being involved in?
A: This isn’t related to KRC, but the first ever action I took was protesting school funding cuts back when I was in high school. As a bando and the president of the orchestra, I was very concerned when the County of Orange faced bankruptcy, which in turn triggered cuts to our science and music programs. This resulted in our music director resigning in protest. I organized a rally with the PTA and music program students to restore funding as well as to hire back our music teacher. Although that was a little awkward because I was also a member of the Associated Student Body (ASB). The meeting with the principal was.. yeah… awkward.

Q: Tell us of a memorable moment with KRC, KRCC and/or NAKASEC
A: It would have to be the legislative visit to Sacramento. I trained the senior members and they were tentative but willing to really do their part when they got to Sacramento. And the great part was that they were able to really convey their message and really convince state legislators to listen to them.

Q: What hope do you see for the Korean American community?
A: I think there are still a lot of untapped potential for people to do good, especially among young people, but a lot of times they really don’t know where to turn. I think if the community can come together and provide them with an opportunity to really give back to their own community and instill pride about their heritage, I think we’ll start to make real progress. But someone in the leadership position right now needs to lay the groundwork.

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: There are too many people I want to trade places for a week. But I’ll pick two: one fiction, one non-fiction. My paternal grand-father who lived an interesting life, being a life long military man and a part of Korean history, I’d be interested to live in his place for a week. For fiction, Toby Ziegler from The West Wing series, mainly because I want to yell at people and be grumpy. Ok, maybe not that, but the character’s ability to say things honestly and having the courage to stand up for his conviction. It’s a trait rarely seen now.

Q: What is your comfort food and why?
A: Ice cream.  Anything really frozen that’s ice cream-ish. How can you say no to something like that? It’s smooth, delicious, sweet, comforting and so good. It starts with the texture then your taste buds immediately recognize the sweetness and creaminess. Then smoothly go down your GI tract into your stomach where it soothes it… Ok, I’m gonna go get ice cream now.

 

Meet other folks at KRC, KRCC and NAKASEC!