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Building Youth Power: Access to Education & Beyond

By July 26, 2012No Comments



Social Justice Camp & Protecting the Maryland Dream Act

From July 26 -August 5, ten youth from California, Illinois and Virginia will convene in Washington, DC to participate in NAKASEC’s first ever Social Justice Camp, a 10 day hands-on training for young Korean American and Asian Americans passionate about immigration issues to develop organizing skills, learn from each other and become part of efforts to educate and mobilize the community in support of the Maryland Dream Act. In 2011, Maryland passed a state legislationto provide in-state tuition benefits to eligible students regardless of their immigration status. However, the bill was put to a referendum by a petition in June 2012 and a statewide vote on the legislation will take place in November 2012. While this legislation specifically impacts youth living in Maryland, young people across the country recognize the significance of this fight and they are coming to Maryland to protect the fundamental right to an education for all.

The Social Justice Camp is in part made possible by the support of Southwest Airlines.

Meet the student who inspired the DREAM Act: Tereza Lee

KRCC’s youth organizing council, FYSH organized a presentation on the Deferred Action announcement on July 25. About 40 members from FYSH, Korean media, and community attended the event. During the presentation, Tereza Lee, a talented concert pianist, who at age 12, found out that she was an undocumented immigrant, spoke about her family’s immigration stories, including the postwar hardships and the fear of being found out by others about their undocumented immigration status. Tereza contacted Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) to ask for help, and shortly afterwards, he began collaborating with other legislators to draft and propose what became known as the DREAM Act. Tereza stressed the importance of sharing stories and becoming active in the immigrant rights movement for meaningful immigration reform. After she spoke, KRCC awarded the DREAM Scholarship Awards. DREAMers both at KRCC and across the nation have continued to push for the bill in the following 11 years.


KRC Organizes the Community Forum:
“Local and National Movement”

In Los Angeles, on July 24, KRC and its youth group AKASIA held a community forum that addressed several immigration campaigns that KRC is involved in, particularly focusing on the Maryland Dream Act. About 20 community members attended the event and shared stories of how the immigration system affects them and their families. During the event, Heather Jun, the co-leader of AKASIA, shared her personal stories as an undocumented youth. The main discussion topics of the forum were: local activism, Georgia activism, and Maryland activism. The forum participants also discussed what they can do to help broader immigrant communities. Through this event, KRC hopes to continue building a safe space where undocumented youth and their families can share their stories and support each other.

5th Annual DREAM Scholarship Fund Awarded

Through generous donations from community members and fundraising efforts led by our affiliate youth groups, Fighting Youth Shouting out for Humanity (FYSH) and Alliance of Korean American Students in Action (AKASIA), NAKASEC and its affiliates are awarding 12 scholarships at $1,000 each that will go towards higher education expenses of low-income immigrant young people regardless of their immigration status. This year, we received applications from California, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Virginia. Thank you to all those who contributed to DSF and in support of hardworking students! Check out the bios of the awardees!

How can you become part of this work?

Show your support for access to education for all and put a face to the other issues that impact AAPI communities, submit a photo to NAKASEC’s AAPI Families Campaign!

Donate now to the Social Justice Camp and Maryland Dream Act efforts

Join the events taking place in  Los Angeles and Chicago!

If you or someone you know will benefit from the Deferred Action announcement, spread to word to sign up  here for the most up to date information.