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RELEASE: Korean American and Immigrant Youth Impacted by Immigration Send a Strong Message to Keep Families Together

By November 14, 2013 No Comments

For Immediate Release

November 14th 2013

Contact:

Dong Yoon, NAKASEC, dkim@nakasec.org

Korean American and Immigrant Youth Impacted by Immigration Send a Strong Message to Keep Families Together

Washington, DC- Each day 1,120 deportations occur, breaking families apart. Each day, families are waiting to be reunited with their loved ones, some waiting more than 20 years. At this critical time, many immigrant rights organizations and community members have escalated their actions reiterating their call for immigration reform legislation. For the past few months, community members have engaged in direct actions ranging from civil disobedience and sit-ins to the recently launched Fast for Families. Today, its time to hear from young people. NAKASEC (National Korean American Service & Education Consortium), KRC (Korean Resource Center), and KRCC (Korean American Resource and Cultural Center) have sent its youth from Los Angeles and Chicago to tell Congress that the Asian American community believe in and support immigration reform.

Civil rights veterans from the Children’s Crusade of 1963 who marched and were arrested joined 150 immigrant youth from across the nation and shared their stories of struggle in the fight for social justice.

At 11 AM, 150 immigrant youth, including Woo Suk (Justin) Kim from Los Angeles, Tredayne Cabanlit from Chicago, Jonathan and Leo Vazquez from Chicago, participated in a public dialogue with civil rights veterans, who were involved in the Children’s Crusade in 1963 and Congressmembers on the importance of social justice and immigration reform.

At 12 PM, participants marched from the Church to the US Capitol, to tell the House Leadership that it was time to call for a vote on citizenship.

Woo Suk (Justin) Kim is from Los Angeles, who is 17 years old and a US citizen. He is looking forward to voting next year. “I have been a volunteer with the Korean Resource Center since the 4th grade. I participated in the March for America and marched in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Arizona standing with undocumented immigrant families in their struggle for citizenship. When I come of age in 2014, immigration reform will be a deciding factor for me. I will be a college freshmen and I intend to tell my peers about why they should care about immigration reform and the rights of immigrants when they vote.”

Tredayne Cabanlit came to Washington, D.C. from Chicago to join the Youth in Action events, and to participate in the Fast for Families. For the past few weeks, he has been monitoring his diet; reducing his meal portions and other steps to join the fast. On Wednesday, November 13, Tredayne joined the Fast for Families. He was welcomed warmly by the fasters who were overwhelmed by his dedication. He said: “I am 18 years old and I am humbled to meet civil rights veterans who took a stand for their rights at a younger age than me. They risked arrest by committing civil disobedience. Yesterday I joined the Fast for Families by doing a solidarity one day fast. I had the chance to hear stories that reminded of the stories of my parents when they were undocumented. I will be a naturalized citizen soon and will continue to advocate to the best of my ability for our immigrant community.”

Jonathan and Leo Vazquez, both US citizens, came from Chicago to join the Youth In Action to advocate for immigration reform, on behalf of their mother who is undocumented. They are brothers who are 15 and 14 years of age and have four other siblings who all depend on their mother. “We want immigration reform to happen so that my brother Leo, Kassandra, Alex, Perla,

and Ximena, and I will no longer have to worry about our mother. She means the world

to us and our family would not be the same if all six of us were separated from her,” said Jonathan and Leo Vazquez.

“This is my third day on the Fast for Families and NAKASEC, KRC, and KRCC is actively engaged in the community for immigration reform. I am inspired by the youth who have taken the time to come to DC and speak passionately about their families and community. They are speaking for millions of others who could not be here today. All are simply and sincerely aspiring to live up to the American Dream. Today I see 150 immigrant youth who are going to become our leaders for social justice,’ said Dae Joong Yoon, NAKASEC Executive Director.

To support our youth leaders and community fasters, please call Boehner’s office today at: (202)-225-0600.

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The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) was founded in 1994 by local community centers to project a progressive voice and promote the full participation of Korean Americans on major social justice issues. NAKASEC maintains offices in Annandale, Virginia and Los Angeles, California. NAKASEC has affiliates in Chicago (Korean American Resource & Cultural Center) and Los Angeles (Korean Resource Center).