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Press Statement: Spreading DREAMS, One Post Card at a Time

By April 30, 2009 No Comments

For immediate release
April 30, 2009

Contacts:
Eunyoung Lee, KRCC, 773-588-9158
HyunJoo Lee, NAKASEC, 323-937-3703
Jung Hee Lee, KRC, 323-937-3718

Spreading DREAMS, One Post Card at a Time

(Los Angeles, CA)  For over eight years, NAKASEC, its affiliates, and Korean American community members from across the nation, have been working towards the passage of DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act, tailored legislation that would provide a path to legalization for eligible immigrant students who grew up in the United States. On March 26, 2009, DREAM Act was introduced in the Senate and House, sparking a new surge of energy and grassroots mobilization within the Korean American community.

Led by Korean American youths and community members in Chicago and Los Angeles, NAKASEC and its affiliates have begun a national campaign to educate and mobilize the Korean American community to pass the DREAM Act. Part of their efforts is to collect 12,500 post cards by Korean Americans nation-wide to show their support for the bill. Addressed to Representatives and Senators, these post cards are part of a national project organized by United We Dream to send 65,000 signed postcards to Members of Congress.

“The undocumented community in the U.S. is diverse and hails from all parts of the world, including South Korea. In fact, 1 out of 5 Korean Americans living in the U.S. are undocumented, including a significant percentage under 18 years of age. That is why NAKASEC and its affiliates, Korean Resource Center in Los Angeles and Korean American Resource and Cultural Center in Chicago, have made it a priority to give voice to those who are living in the shadows and work towards policies that will make real positive change, such as student legalization and access to higher education,” said Jung Hee Lee, immigrant rights project coordinator at KRC.

Students organized in Chicago and Los Angeles have begun a variety of activities with the purpose of spreading the message and urgency of DREAM Act while getting as many post cards signed as possible.

“We will be tabling at churches and in front of Korean markets to try to talk to as many community members as possible about DREAM Act and why we need to pass it this year. We are also organizing workshops to give at our classes and clubs. We want to make sure that everyone knows about DREAM Act and get involved because this is about how loud we can be, and how effectively we relay our message to our elected officials,” said Jae Han Chung, member of KRC’s high school youth group, Rise of Youth to Serve and Empower.

“We are very excited about the potential DREAM Act has this year to pass. And with the energetic involvement of students and community members, we feel that change is possible. DREAM Act has never been introduced in such an encouraging political climate. We have a President that has co-sponsored DREAM Act and already there are 20 co-sponsors in the Senate and 38 in the House. It is imperative that we continue to build momentum and urge members of Congress to state their support for DREAM Act. A great way to do this is to go out and talk with our community members and get them involved, one post card at a time,” said Karn Saetang, youth organizer at KRCC.

Media Interviews
Upon request, interviews are available with Korean American community members in Chicago and Los Angeles who will directly benefit from passage of the DREAM Act or who work with impacted students. To schedule a media interview, please contact HyunJoo Lee at 323-937-3703/ hlee@nakasec.org.

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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 maintains its national office in Los Angeles and an office in Washington, D.C. NAKASEC also has affiliates in Los Angeles (The Korean Resource Center) and Chicago (The Korean American Resource & Cultural Center). Related to immigrant student access to education, NAKASEC is a member of the United We DREAM coalition.