For Immediate Release
October 8, 2014
National Contact: Healy Ko, NAKASEC
Virginia Contact: Emily Kessel, NAKASEC
NAKASEC Calls on the Virginia AAPI Community to Support Ferguson Mobilization and Civic Participation
Annandale, VA- Today, the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC) was joined by Shirley Ginwright from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to call on Virginia’s Korean American and wider Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community to stand in solidarity with the family of Michael Brown and the African American community in Ferguson, Missouri.
Community members were encouraged to raise their voices nationally and locally to fight racism and address the ongoing systemic problems of police brutality in low-income African American and immigrant communities by joining the National Convergence in Ferguson happening on the weekend of October 10, signing on to a statement of support, donating to the cause, and spreading the word over social media.
What is happening in Ferguson is an important issue that ties the AAPI community to other immigrant and minority communities. We need a political and government system that reflects and respects the demographics and diversity of our community. What happened in Ferguson reminds us that people of color and immigrants need to raise their voices and build political power during the mid-term election. Our community needs to register to vote in Virginia by October 14 to hold our policymakers and criminal justice system accountable. Many Korean Americans and AAPIs still have not yet registered to vote. In 2013, approximately 63,310 U.S.-born and naturalized Korean American citizens were eligible to register and vote.
Diana Bui, NAKASEC’s Campaign Associate said: “We as a united front across all communities have been amplifying our work to address these issue on racism, discrimination and police brutality. This is about building solidarity with the Black community and bridging our connected experiences as racial minorities in this country. Ferguson magnifies the ongoing injustices and criminalization of people of color that affect us all, including the AAPI community. We have seen mass detentions and deportations of immigrant families, an estimated 1100 families ripped apart each day. I personally will be going to Ferguson this weekend with other AAPI members from New York, Virginia, Illinois and California. We will be actively showing up, side by side, in solidarity at events and actions lead by organizations like Organization for Black Struggle and Hands Up United because black lives matter, our lives matter.”
Shirley Ginwright, President of NAACP’s Fairfax County Chapter said: “Ferguson is one of several cities experiencing this level of racism and discrimination. If something isn’t done, we will continue to see this narrative again. I wanted to have a forum called Not On My Watch to make known that as long as I am President of the Fairfax County NAACP, we will not have a ‘Ferguson’ here in Fairfax. We are currently working with the Fairfax Police Department to make sure that something like Ferguson does not happen again. I am proud to see NAKASEC and other organizations standing with us to build a united front. With all our voices, we can make a difference.”
Dong Yoon Kim, NAKASEC’s Program Associate said: “Currently, there is a large gap between the number of eligible voters and registered voters, but there is still time to register and vote to ensure that incidents like Ferguson do not happen again. With immigration reform at a standstill and community members speaking out on what is happening in Ferguson, we strongly encourage the Korean American and AAPI community to register to vote by October 14 and hit the polls on November 4. NAKASEC, KRC, and KRCC are dedicated to making this process easier. Our phone lines (703-256-2208) are available, and our door is open to community members.”
Currently, with the Virginia Voter Photo ID law, a barrier for many community members, still in effect, many community members do not have photo identification. The Office of Elections provides a free photo ID to community members without photo IDs, which can in turn be used to vote. November 4, Election Day, is just around the corner, and community members can come prepared to vote and know what issues are at stake. On July 1, 2014, the Voter Photo ID law was implemented in Virginia. When it was announced, approximately 200,000 Virginia voters did not have proper photo identification. To find out more about voter photo IDs and the requirements, please visit here: https://nakasec.org/3177.
Community members who need assistance registering to vote, finding their polling location, or acquiring voter education information, please call the NAKASEC Virginia office at 703-256-2208.
Background on AAPI Support for Ferguson:
NAKASEC is a civil and immigrant rights organization that grew out of the Los Angeles Civil Unrest of 1992. After the four police officers who severely beat Rodney King were acquitted on almost all charges, the African American community of Los Angeles, similar to Ferguson, took to the streets to express their outrage and demand justice. During the unrest, many small businesses in Koreatown, primarily owned by Korean Americans, were damaged. Instead of responding to their calls for help, the police dispatched officers to guard the predominantly white and wealthy suburbs. Such naked disregard for the mostly working-class African Americans and immigrants in Los Angeles’ urban core awakened Korean Americans; we were a community of color now rooted in the United States, and it was time to build a strong and organized voice to advocate for social, economic, and racial justice. It is with this distinct, but shared experience of a community becoming empowered and coming together that NAKASEC and its affiliates align our work and root our struggle for social, economic and racial justice with the people of Ferguson, Missouri.
Information to get involved:
- To view the AAPIs in Solidarity Call to Action, please visit: https://nakasec.org/3733
- To sign on to the statement of support: bit.ly/aapis4ferguson
- To tweet messages of AAPI support, please use the following hashtags: #AAPIs4Ferguson #HandsUp #Ferguson #FergusonOctober
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).