By Keish Kim | New Organizing Project blogger
If you haven’t heard, Korean Resource Center and NAKASEC are celebrating their respective anniversaries by throwing a fundraiser banquet!
So this anniversary is sort of like their birthdays! KRC is celebrating its 29th anniversary and NAKASEC its 18th year anniversary. It is an opportunity for the whole community to come together to reflect on the year’s accomplishments, goals and growth as organizations of social justice. If you didn’t know, it is happening THIS FRIDAY. I have attached complimentary informational flyer/invitation. Please feel free to share the invitation and come join the celebration with such amazing people who made so much happen this year!
Within the action packed program, there are special guests invited to celebrate the anniversary with KRC and NAKASEC. These are the recipients of this year’s Standing Up for Justice award and the DREAM in Action award.
Channeling the inner reporter in me, I decided to interview Jaye Cho, the special events coordinator who made this amazing banquet happen, for more information on each awardees!
I see that there are two different categories of awards. What is the Standing Up For Justice award?
Jaye: The Standing Up for Justice Award recognizes community organizations that work towards advancing greater social change that NAKASEC and KRC believe should be honored and recognized. This year’s awardees are SCOPE (Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education) and Freedom University of Georgia.
Can you tell me more about each of the organization? And why they were awarded?
Jaye: SCOPE was nominated for their outstanding campaign efforts this past year to place tax reform initiatives, like Proposition 30, on the Novemeber ballot. They also organized low-income communities of color to hold elected officials accountable for the needs and issues that affect community members through voter participation. This was a great example of empowering community members to directly practice their rights as citizens of this country.
Freedom University not only provides much needed access to higher education to undocumented youth in Georgia, but was nominated for giving undocumented students a voice and critical skills/tools necessary to take part in vocalizing the need for access to education for all- regardless of one’s race, class, gender, immigration status, sexuality, or ability. This was a bold move by the organizers in Georgia because the state currently bans undocumented students from the top five public universities solely based on individuals immigration status.
This year’s theme of KRC and NAKASEC’s annual joint fundraiser is “United in Action: Generations Making Change,” which reflects our work to bring together all of our community to build a movement for social change. Because of organizations like Freedom University of Georgia and SCOPE, we are inspired to work collectively to move youth and seniors, immigrants and second generation, long-time community activists and budding leaders alike into action in order to realize a just, humane and equitable America.
What about the DREAM in Action Award? Who are the recipients and why were they awarded?
Jaye: The DREAM in Action Award is awarded to young individuals who displayed crucial leadership with the immigration reform we have been advocating for over a decade. This year’s recipients of this award are Scareltte Kim and Allen Tu.
Scarlette Kim is a full time college student and long time KRC volunteer, always advocating various services that KRC offers. Whether it’s Naturalization, Deferred Action or youth program, Scarlette has shown great leadership in stepping up to help out and getting involved without hesitation. Her leadership role has shined through her participation among high school youth and fellow peers as a facilitator of SYEP (Summer Youth Empowerment Program) as well as a leader of AKASIA.
Allen Tu is a youth leader of FYSH-KRCC based in Chicago Illinois. FYSH stands for Fighting Youth Shouting Out for Humanity and is a social justice-oriented youth leadership council located within the Korean-American Resource & Culture Center. Allen was nominated for this award due to his dedication and energy with the recent Maryland DREAM summer program and his enthusiasm and initiative to engage Asian American voters to support the Maryland Dream Act.
Thank you Jaye for granting me your valuable time out of your hectic schedule! I really appreciate it!
Awardees are flying from Georgia and Illinois to join KRC and NAKASEC at the fundraiser banquet! (More reasons for you to attend!)
I also personally know Scarlette from my internship at KRC this summer. So I had the opportunity to talk to her about how she feels about receiving this award.
“I am most comfortable working in the background- helping out with various workshops and events- so it feels a bit weird for me to be in this spotlight and attention. I am very grateful and humbled but I recognized the crucial role other undocumented youth played in order for me to be here. I owe it to them, and it is the collective strength that needs this recognition…This award gives meaning to my experience as an undocumented youth. It keeps me grounded that it is not about myself but the greater community. Again I feel comfortable working with community members and I am honored to be learning from them. This is the best kind of award for me!” (though she will hang the award proudly on her wall^^)
Scarlette was so humble throughout the interview. I just had to say YOU DESERVE IT!!
Although I would love to tell you guys more about each awardees, it looks like I exceeded the word count limit (yes we do have one) once again. For more information, please visit the respective organization’s websites to learn more or meet them in person this Friday.
KRC and NAKASEC also has ongoing annual DREAM scholarship funds if you would like to donate please click!!
Freedom University: http://www.freedomuniversitygeorgia.com
Oh and P.S. Scarlette and Harry will be the emcees of the banquet!