Vote for America’s Future, Korean Americans Press On for Immigrant Rights in D.C.

For Immediate Release
Monday, February 11, 2008

Contacts:
Sookyung Oh, 267-334-5918, soh@nakasec.org
Mary Moreno, 202-339-9316, mmoreno@communitychange.org

A Vote for America’s Future
Korean Americans Press On For Immigrant Rights in DC

The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and its affiliates – the Korean American Resource & Cultural Center (KRCC) in Chicago, the Korean Resource Center (KRC) in Los Angeles, and YKASEC – Empowering the Korean American Community (YKASEC) in Flushing, New York will participate in several critical national gatherings focused on promoting universal healthcare and the ongoing need to fix the broken immigration system, including passage of the DREAM Act. The event below represents the combined efforts of two community-based organization networks – the Fair Immigration Reform Movement and the Health Rights Organizing Project – working together to highlight the urgent need for a healthcare system that covers all of America’s children

WHEN: Tuesday, February 12, 2008, 10:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

WHERE: Department of Health & Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W. – Washington, D.C.

WHO: Nearly 100 immigrant rights and healthcare reform organizations representing 30
states.

WHY: Building upon the Iowa Heartland Presidential Forum in December 2007 and at the height of this critical election season, NAKASEC and affiliates continue to support the Campaign for Community Values. The Campaign brings non- immigrant allies together with immigrant rights groups under the belief that when we work collectively to solve our country’s shared problems of healthcare, immigration and the economy, we all win.

This press event in front of the Department of Health & Human Services spotlights the concern that future policy decisions on universal healthcare
could fail to include the most vulnerable members of our family. Healthcare for all means healthcare for all, especially America’s children. Ju Yeon Ryu (see bio below) will be one of two parent leaders speaking at the event.

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NOTE TO EDITORS: Attached is the profile of a Korean American parent leader from Anaheim, California who will be speaking at the February 12th press event to be available for interview.

Ju Yeon RyuAnaheim, CA

Almost eleven years ago, I came to the United States from Korea to study dance theory. While in Philadelphia at Temple University I met my future husband volunteering at a local Korean American community center. After my graduation, we moved to Anaheim, California so that my husband could continue his education. Cliff is now an acupuncturist running a small community clinic in Maywood, California. Our lives became fullest when we were blessed with our baby, Jongsun who was born 15 month ago.

One day, Jongsun caught a cold that quickly developed into a high fever. He looked as if he was unconscious and I became scared for his life. My husband and I took him to an emergency room at nearby hospital where he was X-rayed and treated for his fever. I was so grateful I had Healthy Families, California’s State Children’s Health Insurance Program. As a parent, I cannot imagine what I would have done without it; there is no way that I could have afforded the medical treatment on my own. I know that Congress failed recently to reauthorize a long-term SCHIP expansion, which leaves the Healthy Families Program’s future undecided. What if it runs out of money, a very real possibility within the next year or two, without any real substitutions for our children’s healthcare? That is why I am here today, as a parent advocate with the Korean Resource Center in Los Angeles, to share my story.

Millions of parents across the country now face the harsh possibility of losing their little ones’ protection due to last month’s failure of the expansion of the State Children’s Health Program last month. As a mother and an immigrant, I am also worried that we are being told that the only way we can afford universal healthcare, is to deny it to certain groups. Healthcare for all should mean healthcare for all, especially for children. Let us not politicize the issue. We need to include everyone in our healthcare policy, because there is enough to go around and it is the right thing to do. We can build America’s future together and create a healthy system that cares for all American children.

JuYeon Ryu is a parent advocate with the Korean Resource Center in Los Angeles, CA. She is the proud mother of a healthy boy and lives in Anaheim, Orange County.

To arrange an interview, please contact:
Irene Dokko, Korean Resource Center, 323.937.3718, irene@krcla.org