For Immediate Release Contacts:
June 20, 2007 Jeong Yeon Hong, 323-937-3703
Dreams Across America Concludes after Dreamers Share their Stories with Congress[Washington, DC] The Dreamers spent their last day in Washington, DC speaking with members of Congress about their personal stories and the stories of those they have met on the Tour. More than 70 visits were made, 15 were with members of Congress including Senator Edward Kennedy, Senator Jim Webb, Senator Robert Casey, Representative Zoe Lofgren, Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Representative Adam Schiff, Representative Neil Abercrombie, and Representative Howard Berman, among others.
The day concluded with a closing press conference moderated by EunSook Lee, Executive Director of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and shared testimonies from 6 Dreamers (Andrew Jung – Toledo, OH; Fermin Vasquez – Los Angeles, CA; Monica Garcia – Waukegan, IL; Tony Wasilewski – Chicago, IL; Cathy Gurney, Chico, CA;` Mohamed Jalloh – Roxbury, MA), Representative Mike Honda (Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus), and Representative Joe Baca (Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus). Aimed at updating the public on their efforts to put human faces to the immigration debate, broad media coverage was generated from national and local media outlets.
“Last year, millions throughout this country came together and marched for just and humane immigration reform. It was like nothing any of us in this country had seen in our lifetime. But there was one thing missing – their stories. Who were these people? What were their hopes, their struggles and their dreams? What was missing was a conversation with each other about the things that bind all of us together as immigrants and non-immigrants. This is why on June 13th, a new and unique conversation began throughout America with the Dreams Across America Tour,” said EunSook Lee, Executive Director of NAKASEC.
As one of six anchoring organizations, NAKASEC and our affiliates – Korean Resource Center in Los Angeles, Korean American Resource & Cultural Center in Chicago, and YKASEC – Empowering the Korean American Community in Flushing recruited five Korean American Dreamers for the tour: Andrew Jung, Kevin Kang (New York), Hee Pok Kim (Los Angeles), Rev. Mie Hae Rhee (Chicago), & Hang Youk (Houston). Their participation, along with a number of other Asian Pacific Americans recruited by NAKASEC, drew attention to the reality of how Asian Pacific American communities are also adversely impacted by broken laws.
All Americans have the opportunity to become virtual participants in the Tour by “Getting on the Train” through the website: www.dreamsacrossamericaonline.org. This innovative site not only allows visitors to virtually join the train tour by signing a petition, but also enables them to share their own immigrant stories through text or video submission. Since it went live on May 1st, the website has seen 10,000 visitors.
Bios are attached. Interviews available upon request. Contact Jeong Yeon Hong at 323-937-3703, extension 204.
The Dreams Across America Tour is a national public awareness campaign to put human faces and stories to the issue of comprehensive immigration reform. One hundred diverse individuals have rode the rails, telling their compelling stories to reinforce what still holds true today – no matter our backgrounds, immigrant or native born, we all cherish the values that make this country prosper. However, only by working together to address our nation’s broken immigration laws, can we continue to achieve and live the American dream. Watch more stories and sign our petition at www.dreamsacrossamericaonline.org.
The mission of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) is to project a national progressive voice on major civil rights and immigrant rights issues and promote the full participation of Korean Americans in American society. NAKASEC was founded as a consortium in 1994 by local community centers that realized that only be coming together can we build and contribute to a national movement for civil rights. They are the Korean Resource Center in Los Angeles, the Korean American Resource & Cultural Center in Chicago and YKASEC – Empowering the Korean American Community in New York.