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Immigrant Communities Awaken

By April 24, 2006 No Comments

The passage of the extremely harsh and inhumane H.R. 4437 in the House of Representatives in December 2005 has galvanized immigrant communities across the country. The bill proposes to criminalize the 11 million undocumented immigrants and penalizes anyone who has any contact with them. In unprecedented numbers, community members have taken to the streets in support of humane immigration reform and against H.R. 4437. NAKASEC and our affiliates played a key role in mobilizing the Korean American community to these events and demonstrating that all our communities have a stake in the immigration debate.

On March 10, more than 300,000 people clogged the streets of downtown Chicago, virtually halting traffic and business for the day. With short notice, the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center rallied together their poongmul troupe and community members to join in the historic march.

Just two weeks later, Los Angeles communities participated in the Weekend of Action and revealed the might of immigrants. On the 25th, a sea of a million people marched vociferously during the “March for Immigrant Rights,” the largest mass mobilization in Los Angeles. The Korean Resource Center conducted intensive outreach including mailing and phonebanking to 4,000 people and flyering to another 10,000. Hundreds of Korean Americans from young people to seniors marched through downtown chanting to the spirited performance of the poongmul troupe.

On March 26, KRC joined the United Farm Workers and the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ for a procession and the Cesar Chavez commemoration mass. Dae Yoon, executive director of KRC, delivered a stirring speech and enlivened the crowd of more than 3,000 farmworkers with chants of “legalization” in both Korean and Spanish. Again, KRC’s poongmul troupes excited the crowd with drumming performances. Long time KRC supporter, Shin Hwang Jin, recited a prayer in Korean during the Mass dressed in traditional Korean clothing.

The National Day of Action for Immigrant Rights will take place on April 10 in more than 100 cities across the country. NAKASEC, our affiliates and friends are mobilizing the Korean American community to participate in events planned in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.