Remembering the 1992 LA Riots 25 Years Later
LA City Council President Herb Wesson
On April 25, KAC's Executive Director Joon Bang had the pleasure of joining community members at the residence of LA City Council President Herb Wesson to engage in open dialogue about the 1992 LA Riots and race in Los Angeles. KAC would like to thank Council President Herb Wesson for his leadership and invitation to join this insightful event.
"Remembering Saigu" at UC Irvine
On April 27, KAC's Executive Director Joon Bang took part in UC Irvine Korea Law Center's "Remembering Saigu" forum as a panelist. The panel brought together speakers from across groups and generations to speak on Saigu and its impact on the Korean American community.
Statement of Unity
On April 28, KAC's Executive Director Joon Bang stood with legendary civil rights activist Connie Rice, Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League Amanda Susskind, and Deputy Chief Commanding Officer Robert Arcos to present a Statement of Unity in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the LA Riots before the LA City Council.
"Hands Across City Hall"
On April 28, KAC joined LA City Council President Herb Wesson, the LA City Council, and community members at City Hall. In a gesture of unity, cross-cultural support, and understanding, those in attendance stood together with hands clasped in an effort to reclaim one of the most destructive and divisive days in Los Angeles history.
"Hands Across LA"
On April 29, KAC partnered with the Unification of Disabled Latin Americans for "Hands Across LA" to bring together members of the diverse Los Angeles community to join hands and promote unity, healing, and reconciliation in commemoration of the 25th year of the LA Riots.
"Wet Sand: Voices from LA"
On April 29, KAC partnered with the 33rd Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival to present "Wet Sand: Voices from LA." The 33rd Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival takes place from April 27 to May 4, 2017 at the Aratani Theatre at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, Downtown Independent, Tateuchi Democracy Forum at JANM, CGV Cinemas, and additional cinemas in the Los Angeles area.
KAC Takes Action
On Friday, April 7, 2017, the Korean American Coalition (KAC) contacted both parties embroiled in the Airbnb host and guest exchange that has since been at the center of a media firestorm highlighting the discriminatory language used by the host.
On April 10, KAC held a press conference with Airbnb user Dyne Suh to acknowledge and applaud her courage in speaking out against the discrimination she experienced from an Airbnb host, Tami Barker. The screenshots of the exchange, in which Ms. Barker made racial and discriminatory remarks and denied Ms. Suh access to an Airbnb residency, went viral, and KAC offered Ms. Suh a platform to speak through this press conference. The Executive Director of KAC Joon Bang said, "We don't want to use this opportunity to vilify someone for his/her actions, rather we want to highlight the courage of Ms. Suh for sharing her story and encouraging others to speak up against discrimination."
KAC also brought attention to the Alternative Dispute Resolution Center (4.29 Center) as a resource for anyone in need of mediation and dispute resolution. The 4.29 Center places special focus on working with the diverse ethnic populations of Los Angeles County to resolve disputes outside of the courtroom.
Media coverage: Korea Daily, Korea Times, Koreatown Daily, Radio Korea, LA18, SBS Evening News, MBC America, KBS America, RKTV
On April 18, KAC commended Airbnb host Tami Barker on her formal apology. After sending her apology to Ms. Suh, Ms. Barker contacted KAC and provided a copy of her apology. Ms. Barker stepped up and formally apologized to Ms. Suh, with her attorney saying "Ms. Barker is deeply sorry for the comments she made. She asks your forgiveness for grossly stereotyping in a racist way the Asian community, and, specifically, you. Overtired and stressed, Tami made the statements out of heated frustration - but that's merely a reason, not an excuse, as she explained to me she fully understands. She knows there was no basis for her ad hominem attack."
"It takes courage to admit wrong and seek forgiveness in the face of public scrutiny. Given the climate of race relations in the nation, it's up to us now to move forward and perhaps be willing to engage one another in tough conversations to bridge gaps between diverse people and communities," said Joon Bang, Executive Director of KAC.
Media Coverage: Korea Daily, Korea Times
Korean Immigration Forum
KAC, LAPD Olympic Division, the Office of LA City Council President Herb Wesson, and the Office of Assemblymember Miguel Santiago partnered to host an immigration forum on April 13th at MAGA Methodist Church of Los Angeles.
LA City Attorney Mike Feuer, Field Representative Jackie Kim from California Assembly District 53, Deputy Jamie Hwang from Council District 10, Captain David Kowalski from LAPD Olympic Area, Deputy City Attorney Veronica Soto from the Neighborhood Prosecution Program, Senior Pastor Peter Park of Christian Total Ethos of CA, KAC Board Member Alex Cha, Esq., Korean Consul Sang Wook Park from the South Korean Consulate, and Community Development Manager Jong Ran Kim from the Korean Health Education Information and Research (KHEIR) answered the Korean community's questions and provided information about immigration fraud, immigrant rights, and the immigration process.
Media Coverage: LA18, Korea Times, Korea Daily
Congressional District 34 Special Primary Election
On April 4th, the 34th Congressional District election took place and decided the two candidates to continue to the run-offs on June 6th: Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez and Robert Lee Ahn. Gomez led with a total of 10,728 votes, and Ahn, who would be the only Korean in Congress if elected, came in a close second with 9,415 votes. Korean voter turnout is widely regarded as the reason for Ahn's impressive performance.
Erroneous Korean Language Sample Ballots in Congressional District 34
Last month, KAC fervently fought to bring attention to the error on Korean language sample ballots in the Congressional District 34 election. KAC held press conference, released statements, spoke at the March 28 LA County Board of Supervisors Public Hearing, and met with Registrar-Recorder/City Clerk Dean Logan and Board Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas' staff. The sample ballot issue is now being reviewed by the Voting Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division.
NCLC & SCIP
The National College Leadership Conference
The Korean American Coalition is pleased to announce the 37th National College Leadership Conference (NCLC). Every year, KAC brings together Korean American college students from across the nation to meet with accomplished Korean American leaders and established professionals from a variety of fields.
NCLC is the perfect place to get inspired by professionals from fields like government, finance, non-profit, art, technology, law, and entertainment. NCLC's wide range of speakers offers access to information about an extensive variety of careers and ideas for what to do post-grad. For students who have already decided on a career path, NCLC provides opportunities to network with and learn from established professionals in your field of interest.
NCLC also offers connection. Attendees learn about and discuss Korean American issues, identity, and history--all of which unite and connect attendees and speakers. Come meet fellow Korean Americans from all over the country, with their diversity and unique (but likely familiar) experiences. You'll learn more than you think. Wonder what we mean? See what NCLC 2016 had to say here.
Make sure to apply before June 1 to take advantage of this opportunity to meet established professionals from a variety of fields, learn essential leadership skills, and get to know your accomplished Korean American peers from all over the US.
2017 National College Leadership Conference Details
Date: Monday through Friday, June 19 - June 23, 2017
Location: University of Redlands,
1200 E. Colton Ave, Redlands, CA 92374
Cost: The conference cost is $395, which includes room and board. Financial aid is available for students who qualify.
How to Apply: Submit the completed online application by June 1, 2017. Consideration of applications and phone interviews will take place on a rolling basis.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 213-365-5999.
The Summer College Internship Program
KAC's Summer College Internship Program (SCIP) builds on NCLC by connecting students with 8-week internships (four days a week) in Los Angeles and providing community advocacy training (one day a week). To learn more, visit our website. Attending NCLC is a requirement for taking part in KAC's Summer College Internship Program, which you can apply to here, but you can choose to attend NCLC without applying for SCIP.
Applications are due June 1!!
Model United Nations
Southern California MUN
On April 1st and 2nd, nine of KAC's MUN students competed at USC in their final conference of the year. In competition with 400 delegates from all over Southern California, our team came home with a Best Research and a Best Delegate award. Congratulations on your hard work and all of your successes this year! We're proud to see how much you've grown. KAC would also like to acknowledge our MUN advisors, Daniel Park and John Yi, for all that they've done to support our students. Thank you!
Royal Thai Consulate-General
KAC's MUN students visited the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Los Angeles on April 25 to learn more about Thailand, its policies, stances, and priorities on international and domestic issues. KAC would like to thank the Thai consul-general for meeting with our students, answering their questions, and informing them of the Thai perspective.
2017-2018 MUN Applications: Now Open
You've been following the progress of our 2016-2017 MUN students all year--now it's time to join the team. Applications for KAC MUN 2017-2018 are now open, so learn more about the program on our website before applying online here. Make sure to apply if you are a student, remind your children to apply if you are a parent, and share this opportunity with all of the middle and high school students you know! The application deadline is August 21, 2017, but the sooner the better. We look forward to meeting you!
KAC in the News
An AsAm News article from April 2, reporting on the effects of President Donald Trump's immigration policies on the Asian community, quoted KAC's Executive Director Joon Bang on the fears in the Korean community and the impacts of such fears.
On April 11, KAC's Executive Director Joon Bang was quoted on Korean American voter turnout and political engagement in a KPCC article about the results of the April 4 Congressional District 34 election.
KCRW's "The Mixer"
On April 14, KAC went on KCRW radio show "The Mixer" hosted by Steve Chiotakis to discuss concerns about North Korea nuclear and missile testing. KAC Executive Director Joon Bang went on air to describe how this escalation of fear affects the Korean community in Los Angeles. To listen to the segment, please click here.
A CNN article from April 28 depicts KAC's Alternative Dispute Resolution Director Andy Yoo's experiences of the 1992 LA Riots.
LAPD Video Policy
John Kim Memorial Fund
A community member recently contacted KAC to inform us about the passing of a beloved father, educator, and mentor in the community. If you would like to contribute to help the single income family and to help cover funeral costs, please visit their GoFundMe page here.
Overseas Koreans Foundation
KAC would like to highlight this month's major donors:
Thank you for your involvement, contributions, and support for KAC and the work that we do.
KAC: Where Are They Now?
Jeanne Min: External Affairs Coordinator (2001)
How were you involved with KAC?
I was hired to be the External Affairs Coordinator in May 2001 - Nov 2001. During that time some of the projects and issues I managed on behalf of KAC: Koreatown redistricting at all levels of government, establishing a new Wilshire Center/Koreatown Neighborhood Council, partnering with the Legal Aid Foundation of LA to provide free legal services to KAs who needed assistance with immigration, and strengthening relations with our local legislators.
Why is KAC important to you?
I don't believe it was an accident I started working at KAC. Though I was clueless about the makings of government or politics at that time, I quickly learned KAC gave voice to the KA community here in Los Angeles. People relied on the organization's existence. Looking back, 25 years ago, KAC was the ONLY voice speaking for the community, which was still vulnerable to racism, discrimination, and its lack of political representation. Thanks to our leaders - past and present, much has been done, but KAC is not done yet...there is still much to do.
What are you up to now?
After my stint at KAC, I was hired to become a field deputy with LA City Councilmember Tom LaBonge (4th District). I later became his Chief of Staff. In 2013, I was tapped to serve LA City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell (13th District) as his Chief of Staff where I have been for the last 4 years.
Is there a message you'd like to share with the Korean American community?
KAC has always been fighting and advocating for you. Whether you know it or not, the mission of KAC has positively impacted you. Though we have come far economically and politically, the Korean American community needs to stay engaged and be strengthened by its own diversity of beliefs/values. Only then can we also embrace other communities and continue to work for the common good.