Press Release | 20 Years after 4.29 (Sa-I-Gu): From Civil Unrest to Civic Action

 

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Immediate Release
April 13, 2012

Contacts:

Morna Ha, NAKASEC, mha@nakasec.org | 202-299-9540
Dae Joong Yoon, KRC, djyoon@krcla.org | 323-937-3718
Sik Son, KRCC, sohnsik@chicagokrcc.org | 773-293-4050

 

 

20 Years after 4.29 (Sa-I-Gu):
From Civil Unrest to Civic Action
NAKASEC, KRCC & KRC Promote Community Organizing and Civic Participation

On the eve of the 20th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Civil Unrest, the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and its affiliates the Korean American Resource & Cultural Center (KRCC) in Chicago and the Korean Resource Center (KRC) in Los Angeles are launching a call to action to Korean Americans. Throughout April and May, community members are asked to participate in events that strengthen communities, encourage political participation and support immigration reform. [See attached document for events coordinated by KRC, KRCC and NAKASEC]

Sa-I-Gu and the wave of attacks on all immigrant and communities of color throughout the 1990s was a call for Korean Americans to become empowered stakeholders and agents of change. The community was confronting devastating impacts of the 1996 welfare reform laws and the passage of the vehemently anti-immigrant Prop 187 in California. The Korean American community was seeking a way to address race and establish a political identity that aligned with people of color, navigated the civic process and built community power.

“Korean Americans learned from Sa-I-Gu that we need to organize and build bridges with other vulnerable communities to advance a shared agenda of economic and social justice. And that’s exactly what we did,” said Dae Joong Yoon, executive director of KRC. “We established organizations like NAKASEC that launched campaigns to build a critical mass of politically informed citizenry that organized from the bottom-up on issues impacting diverse communities nationally.”

Through these campaigns, Korean Americans, young and old, have led the way alongside allied communities to winning many hard-fought battles:  the restoration SSI and food stamp benefits in the 1990s; health care for immigrant children in 2009; and the growth of the movement of undocumented students to access higher education.  NAKASEC and its affiliates, in deep connection to the Korean American community, have become a strong voice in the progressive movement in the United States.

A core component of this work was been the development of a seamless path to voter empowerment from naturalization to voter mobilization for limited English proficient and new voters.

“In 1996 Korean Americans in Chicago through KRCC launched a multi-faceted voter program – the first of its kind for Korean Americans,” said Sik Son executive director of KRCC. “Today our programs have become even more strategic and targeted. As a result of our organizing project, KA VOICE, Korean American voters had the highest rates of turn-out of all Early Voter sites for the March Primary elections. We will take this experience with us as we head into another critical election in November.”

During April and May, community members are being called to participate in voter registration drives, naturalization ceremonies, supporting access to education for all and actions for immigrant and civil rights.

Morna Ha, executive director of NAKASEC, said “During this highly political year, we face a familiar set of challenges as we did in the 1990s. The rights of immigrants, voters and workers are being stripped away, families are struggling to make ends meet and immigrant young people are denied an education. The events taking place from Los Angeles, Chicago to Washington D.C., are an opportunity for Korean Americans to protect what we have won over the last 20 years and continue moving forward with a progressive agenda that is just being realized.”

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The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) was founded in 1994 by local community centers to project a national progressive voice and promote the full participation of Korean Americans as a part of a greater goal of building a national movement for social change. NAKASEC is based D.C. and Los Angeles. NAKASEC also has affiliates in Chicago (Korean American Resource & Cultural Center) and Los Angeles (Korean Resource Center).

 

 

20 Years After Sa-I-Gu:From Civil Unrest to Civic Action
List of Events and Actions coordinated by NAKASEC, KRC & KRCC

 

National

Date

Event/Activity

Contact

April to Early June

(deadline to apply is May 18 – postmarked)

5th Annual DREAM Scholarship Fund!

Apply today or donate and volunteer at grassroots fundraising events in LA, Chicago and Washington D.C.!

Jani Kim, California

jani@krcla.org

 

Youngsun Song, Illinois

youngsun@chicagokrcc.org

 

Joyce Yin, all other states

jyin@nakasec.org

 

Daily

Voter Registration efforts

Register to vote today or inquire about volunteering opportunities at voter registration drives!

Dayne Lee, California

dayne@krcla.org

 

Hey Kyung Eum, Illinois

heyeum@chicagokrcc.org

Los Angeles

Date

Event/Activity

Contact

April 14

AB540 Workshop:

Students and parents are encouraged to attend this workshop led by AKASIA youth members to learn about financial resources for undocumented immigrants students in California

Jani Kim

jani@krcla.org

April 27

Voting Rights and Technology Demonstration with LA County Registrar’s Office

Dayne Lee

dayne@krcla.org

April 28

Naturalization workshop

(part of the national “Become a Citizen Now!” campaign)

Tam Duong

tam@krcla.org

Every Saturday

High School Leadership Program:

Open to all currently enrolled high school students who are eager to learn about community empowerment and promote civic participation

Dayne Lee

dayne@krcla.org

 

 

Chicago

Date

Event/Activity

Contact

April 28

Citizenship Workshop

(part of the national “Become a Citizen Now!” campaign)

Ju Young Oh

juyoung@chicagokrcc.org

 

May 1

May Day

George Lieu

george@chicagokrcc.org

May 8

Springfield Advocacy Day

George Lieu

george@chicagokrcc.org

May 22

Citizenship Workshop

(part of the national “Become a Citizen Now!” campaign)

Ju Young Oh

juyoung@chicagokrcc.org

 

May 25

UPRISE3

Youth Cultural Show Celebrating Leadership

Youngsun Song

youngsun@chicagokrcc.org

 

Washington D.C.

Date

Event/Activity

Contact

April 23 – 24

Vigil in front of U.S. Supreme Court – pre-mobilization for hearing on Arizona’s anti-immigrant law SB 1070

Joyce Yin

jyin@nakasec.org

 

April 25

Rally in front of U.S. Supreme Court -Hearing on Arizona’s anti-immigrant law SB 1070

Joyce Yin

jyin@nakasec.org