NOP3 | Looking Back on Maryland from California

By Jamie Jung Eun Kim | New Organizing Project blogger

From July 26th to August 5th, youth leaders from NAKASEC affiliates, the Korean Resource Center (KRC) in Los Angeles and the Korean American Resource & Cultural Center (KRCC) in Chicago came together in Washington D.C to partake in NAKASEC’s first ever Social Justice Camp and Maryland DREAM Summer program.

A few weeks ago, we introduced you to youth participants from KRC and what they were looking forward to.  Today, we share each California participant’s reflection from the week long program.

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At the airport on the way to Washington, DC. From Left to Right: Sally, Isaac and Ryan (Photo Credit: Sally Kim)

Ryan Kim

  1. What was your most memorable moment?
    My most memorable moment was when we went precinct walking. It was essentially the last thing to do before we left Maryland. I had a nice talk with one of the interns, Doo Young Shim, and it was interesting to learn more about the non-profit world and see issues from an intern’s perspective. I also remember it vividly because it was really hot.
  2. What new skills did you acquire? What did you learn that you didn’t know before?
    I learned how to better approach people by actively engaging them to support various issues. Most importantly, I learned how to keep their attention and how not to get the central message lost. I also realized how difficult it might be for people that table, precinct walk, and phone bank, so I have a bit more respect for them now.
  3. What kind of responses did you receive from Maryland constituents when talking to them about the Maryland DREAM Act?
    The responses were mixed and many were indifferent, which was understandable. Since the issue most likely had less relevance in some Maryland constituents’ lives due to them being citizens, they were probably less inclined to actively support the issue. However, I was surprised at how many people actually did want to vote and support the act without much persuasion. A few were outright against it though, which was sad.
  4. What was it like to work with Fighting Youth Shouting Out for Humanity (FYSH) members from KRCC?
    It was nice to work with them, especially since all of them were so nice.  Each of the FYSH members were interesting in their own way,  Maybe it was because we’ve seen each other for a week straight, but I’ve found them to be very cool and relatable people. It was also interesting how they were sometimes more experienced in these matters than I was. Yet I felt equal with them and shared many difficulties with themduring the trip. Overall, it was nice to work with them, and I think that they were a significant part in making the trip very memorable and enjoyable.
  5. What was your biggest takeaway from the entire trip?
    I think my biggest takeaway was the friendship with the people I met in the Social Justice Camp. Even though I learned lots of things and became exposed to a different world, the thing I remember the most vividly and value the most of the trip is the opportunity I had to meet all these great people.
  6. Describe the trip in one word.
    Memorable

 

 

At the Casa De Maryland rally in Maryland (Photo Credit: Jessica Uruchima)

Isaac Yi

  1. What was your most memorable moment?
    My most memorable moment of the entire DC trip was when I went to the Capital and the National Mall. I loved all of the sightseeing and touring over the Capital because I was overcome by feelings of awe and honor at the center of our country’s  power. In addition, I love the subject of politics and history, so the Capital personally felt like a Mecca for me.
  2. What new skills did you acquire? What did you learn that you didn’t know before?
    I was able to learn the skills of community organizing and grassroots communications. The Social Justice Camp held by NAKASEC has helped me become a better activist overall. I learned tremendous things about DC, like its constituent demographic and other interesting information.  But, the most important lesson I acquired is that people have different ideologies all over the world.  I was able to engage this exact notion as I was campaigning for the Maryland DREAM Act.
  3. What kind of responses did you receive from Maryland constituents when talking to them about the Maryland DREAM Act?
    For the most part, I was glad to see positive responses. Due to the fact that most of Maryland residents and local government officials are in favor for the Maryland Dream Act, I was able to garner more supportive responses from the residents of Maryland.
  4. What was it like to work with Fighting Youth Shouting Out for Humanity (FYSH) members from KRCC?
    It was the most amazing thing ever. People in our world are connected to others through blood, ethnicity, and etc, but I was connected to these FYSH members through a common shared belief: a vision for comprehensive immigration reform. Through this common shared belief, I felt more bonded to these awesome people through that as opposed to other common connections in our world.
  5. What was your biggest takeaway from the entire trip?
    The fact that I was able to contribute my time and effort for the people that I truly believe deserve a chance for higher education; also, the fact that I am helping our country move closer to better immigration reform. However, there are also other important intangible things that I was be able to take away from this trip such as making new friends, gaining more knowledge, meeting NAKASEC staff, eating awesome food, visiting the Capital, etc.
  6. Describe the trip in one word.
    Marvelous

 

 

 

On the way back from a long afternoon of tabling (Photo Credit: Carla Navoa)

Sally Kim

  1. What was your most memorable moment?
    The most memorable moment is when we were tabling in front of Korean Markets; I actually utilized my fragmented Chinese skills to persuade a Chinese American to sign a pledge in support of the Maryland DREAM Act. Being in different places can make people discover a new side to themselves.
  2. What new skills did you acquire? What did you learn that you didn’t know before?
    I learned respect for people who partake in civic participation in our everyday lives. Tabling and phone-banking required many acts of public speaking.  It took awhile to get used to having a constant energy flow to face the public. I also learned about effective storytelling at the social justice camp at the NAKASEC office and how effective language can be used to describe ourselves and the world around us.
  3. What kind of responses did you receive from Maryland constituents when talking to them about the Maryland Dream Act?
    I got 6 pledges signed from tabling and 3 yes’ from phone-banking. Most of the people we talked to said that they had no time or just didn’t care about the Maryland DREAM Act or voting itself. I met one lady who said she doesn’t support the Act because it gives free tuition to undocumented students. I informed her that the Act does not allow that and that the students still have to pay for tuition and other requirements.
  4. What was it like to work with Fighting Youth Shouting Out for Humanity (FYSH) members from KRCC?
    The FYSH members were absolutely WONDERFUL. I still keep in contact with all of them through Facebook and other social media applications. The first few days the LA KRC crew and Chicago FYSH crew did not really bond, but as the days went by we got closer and closer and created positive teamwork for the efforts of the Maryland DREAM Act.  I miss them very badly and hope to see them again soon.
  5. What was your biggest takeaway from the entire trip?
    My biggest takeaway from this program is the skills I have learned from the wonderful staff at NAKASEC, the irreplaceable bonds with the FYSH members, and the work that our team has done. Being with so many amazing people for one mission was an enlightening experience.
  6. Describe the trip in one word.
    LIFE-CHANGING