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 Dayne Lee, one of KRC’s Civic Participation Coordinators! We hope you enjoy!
Q: What’s your name?
A: Dayne Lee. Its the same as my Korean Name 이대인, pronounced like “Yi Dae-In.”
Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born in LA and grew up all around but mostly in Diamond Bar and Rowland Heights, so I identify as being rooted in the Korean peninsula and Los Angeles County.
Q: How did you get involved with KRC, KRCC and/or NAKASEC?
A: KRC and NAKASEC facilitated an immigrant rights workshop for the Asian American Mentor Program that I was involved in at Pomona College in Claremont, California in 2008. I thought that the consortium did amazing work so I applied to become a NAKASEC intern to learn more about community organizing and social justice work. After I graduated from college last spring, I was working in politics when I had the opportunity to return to KRC to work as the Civic Participation Coordinator. It’s been a blast ever since!
Q: What was one of the first actions or campaigns you remember being involved in?
A: To be honest, I’m not very good at reflecting back on the past, but one memory I have is attending the May Day rally in 2009. It was my very first march, and it was awesome just being part of a mass movement that united groups fighting for racial justice, labor rights, immigration reform and more. Until then, I had been part of smaller campus events, or had conversations with my community at home and shared in my community’s challenges, but I had never gone out and been part of a mass movement doing something about these problems and sharing each others’ struggles. It was a beautiful experience.
Q: Why do you do the work that you do with KRC, KRCC and/or NAKASEC?
A: In a nutshell, I want to work to empower the community and foster social justice for future generations.
Q: Tell us of a memorable moment with KRC, KRCC and/or NAKASEC
A: The most memorable moments at KRC for me are the ones where I’m just out talking to regular community members and learning about their experiences. Its good to get away from the books, the theory, the activist fire and brimstone ideologies, the constant work plans and strategizing, and all that, and just get back to the roots of why we’re doing this work you know?
Q: What hope do you see for the Korean American community?
A: I hope that our community continues to grow and that we come together to not only achieve social justice against racial and class barriers, but also challenge ourselves. I hope that the successful support instead of ignore working folks, that we challenge and reduce the internal inequalities of class or gender or sexuality within our community, and that the community develops a reputation for being strong advocates for social justice, and not just for producing good breakdancers or successful students or crazy nightlife.
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 would trade places with Malcolm X or Richard Aoki for a week to go back to the 60’s and 70’s, when times were tough and the social and racial justice movement were just beginning. I think that spending a week in their shoes, I would be able to appreciate all the progress and privileges I live with today, but also I would hope to learn some lessons from the determination, strength, and energy that the movement had back in those days.
Q: What is your comfort food and why?
A: If I had to choose just one comfort food, it would definitely be Carne Asada Fries from Alberto’s or Molca Salsa. For those who don’t know, Carne Asada Fries are are french fries smothered in carne asada, pico de gallo, guacamole, hot sauce, salsa rollo, and sour cream, and garnished with Jalapenos and those spicy, Mexican, marinated carrots. Good stuff!
Meet other folks at KRC, KRCC and NAKASEC!