[wm_text_block]Stories reveal our common values, demonstrate what’s possible, and call on others to join our efforts to trust and participate in the 2010 Census. Share with us why you are going to participate in the Census by sending them to hlee@nakasec.org. We may highlight your story at www.nakasec.org/census as well as share it with national and local media.

Below are some stories from with our community:

My name is Jong Ran Kim and I am 38 years old. I have 5 children that range from 5 to 13 years of age who attend schools in Los Angeles. As a mom who came to the U.S. fairly recently and still learning English, one of the challenges I still face is language. I remember how hard it was when my oldest son Justin was transitioning into junior high – knowing what the requirements were, how to find a good school, the bus schedule, etc. I was in a group of Korean American moms and because just a handful of us knew English, we had to learn a lot as we went along. Education is very important for my family and I want to make sure that my kids are getting a quality education but also that the school is a place where parents, from all different backgrounds and language preference, can get the chance to fully participate in their child’s education. That is why I believe the census is so important because it allows us to get the funds to address day to day issues like English classes for parents and more support from schools to immigrant parents.

My name is Yong B. An and I have lived in Dallas, Texas for 9 years. I am 39 years old and am self –employed. I first heard about the census through my volunteer work at the Korean Society of Dallas and became the chair of the Korean American Census Outreach Committee. Working with organizations like the Korean American Association, Korean Chamber of Commerce, and the Korean American Women’s Association, we are outreaching to churches and trying to help groups build capacity so that they can assist Korean Americans in filling out the census form. The Korean American community in Dallas is growing and that is why the census is so critical because it will bring resources into our community so that their needs are served.

My name is Dena and I came to the states when I was 14 years old and currently study art at Wright College in Chicago. I am a member of a youth group called Building Sisterhood organized by the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center and it was here that I first heard about the census. I think it’s really important because how else will Korean Americans be recognized? But I can just see my parents getting the survey in the mail and not knowing anything about it… as an immigrant family, a lot of times I have to act as translator for my parents. For example, school grades or bills we get, I always have to translate them. When the survey comes to our house, I’m going to make sure that my parents don’t throw it away but fill it out. I heard the census data can help bring resources to communities and I know there are really long waits for ESL classes – if we get counted, we might get the money so that my parents can take ESL classes. Also, if we show that there are a lot of Korean Americans living in the U.S., maybe next time the forms will be in Korean! I didn’t know the forms were not sent out in our language, which I know will make it hard for people like my parents. So I really think this is the chance to demand attention to what we need.

My name is Vicente Montojo and I came to the U.S. over 25 years ago with a hope to provide a better future for my children. My parents, and even my parents’ parents, have always made education a priority in our family, whether it was through making sure the tuition bills were paid on time, packing me a healthy lunch to sustain me through the school day, or helping me with my homework. I have two daughters of my own—both who love learning and have attended California public schools. Just as my parents did for me, I want to make sure that my daughters as well as the students I work for and get the education they deserve. To do this, I will participate in the Census. Filling out the Census form only takes 10 minutes, but it will result in billions of dollars for public education programs for our kids. The 2000 Census resulted in $8.6 billion allocated to the National School Lunch Program, $2.8 billion for Improving Teacher Quality State Grants, and $3.3 million for Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities State Grants. However, we can’t be sure we will get all the government resources we need unless every family fills out the Census form this year, so make sure to take just 10 minutes to complete it. When you get your Census form in the mail, remember that filling it out goes hand in hand with caring for our own children.

Hi, my name is Eun Jin Kim and I am the community education and outreach coordinator at KAN-WIN in Chicago. KAN-WIN is a not-for-profit community organization that provides comprehensive services to Asian American women and children affected by domestic violence and sexual assault. As a person who works with domestic violence victims and children, I cannot emphasize enough how important the census is because it will directly affect the life of sexual abuse victims and their children. Without funding from government, it is almost impossible to sustain our agency and provide comprehensive services to our clients. Letting government know how many Korean Americans are living in the states and how much our community has been growing the last 10 years can open their eyes in addressing our needs. Also, through this year’s census, I hope that many Korean American will show not only our strong presence in the U.S. but increase our political power to represent ourselves.[/wm_text_block]