Serving as executive director of KAC has been one of the most humbling and exciting periods of my life. As a team, we often found ourselves deep in the trenches to create meaningful impact for the community we serve.
Whether it was the Korean-language sample ballot issue affecting voters in the 34th Congressional District election, the highly publicized Airbnb discrimination case, supporting our most vulnerable with Section 8 housing, taking a stance on key immigration issues (DACA, ICE ruse tactics, and the Muslim travel ban), raising awareness of the homeless in our community (Invisible Neighbors documentary), developing young leaders, galvanizing the community to be more civically engaged (voter registration and local engagement), and telling our Korean American story as it relates to North-South Korea relations to a national audience - I feel proud of our work and the hard-fought battles we undertook to uplift, support, and advance our community.
All of our accomplishments were made possible by the unrelenting work and dedication of our staff, board of directors, advisory board, membership, volunteers, and our philanthropic partners. As I reflect on my tenure, I am most humbled and inspired by the grandmothers and grandfathers who came to our office for help. They are the reason I started my career in community work. Whether reading a gas bill and helping fill out complicated forms or searching for housing solutions in the face of poverty and isolation, it has been in helping and meeting these individuals that I have found the deepest meaning in my work. I became witness to the debilitating effects of language barriers, economic inequality, limited affordable housing options, and cultural differences to the seniors in our community. This is the reason why I will be making my transition as CEO of a national organization that advocates for and works on behalf of the aging community, our elders.
My decision to leave KAC was not an easy one to make. It was the result of months of conversations with family, friends, community members, and mentors. As I step into a role at a senior service and advocacy organization, I am energized by the knowledge that I will be able to expand my impact to the aging community that needs our support. During the past month, our organization has been thoughtfully executing my succession plan and I am confident in my successor's ability to lead the organization with fortitude. I will remain committed to KAC as a board member, and look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve this community that I know and love.
It has been an honor to steward KAC's mission as its executive director. Thank you for standing with us and I hope we can continue to partner together with the important work ahead of us.
With warmest regards,
Korean American Coalition
방준영 사무국장의 감사 편지
한미연합회의 사무국장직에 위임되면서 저는 제 인생에서 의미 있는 순간들을 보냈습니다. 가족같은
팀원들과 동고동락을 같이 하며, 우리는 가끔 우리가 맡게 된 지역 사회 문제에 중점에 서 있는 모습을
제34지역 하원 의원 선거에서 유권자에게 영향을 주는 한국어 표기 문제, 지난해 있었던 에어비앤비
인종차별 사건, 오랜 기간 기다려 오던 섹션 8 개방, 가장 중요한 이민 문제 (DACA, ICE 계략 및 무슬림
여행 금지), 지역 사회의 노숙자 (Invisible Neighbors)의 다큐멘터리에 대한 인식 제고, 젊은 리더 육성,
지역 사회의 활발한 참여 (유권자 등록 및 현지 참여), 그리고 관련된 한국계 미국인 이야기, 남북 관계
등의 한국 이슈를 미국 언론에 보도하기 등등.... 저는 우리가 이뤄 놓은 성과에 자부심을 느끼며 지역
사회를 발전시키고 지원하며 열심히 활동해온 일들을 자랑스럽게 생각합니다. 저는 이 모든 결과가
직원, 이사회, 자문위원회, 회원, 자원봉사자 및 자선 파트너의 끊임없는 노력과 헌신으로 가능하게 된
그러나 한편으로 마음 아픈 일들도 있었습니다. 사무실에 각종 영문 서류와 편지 등을 가지고 힘겹게
방문하신 할머님과 할아버님들을 뵐 때마다 깊은 고민에 빠져들 수밖에 없었습니다. 그것이 제가 지역
사회에서 일해야 하는 이유이기도 합니다. 가스 요금 청구서를 설명해 드리면서, 빈곤과 고립에
직면하여 언어 장벽이나 주택 해결책을 찾기 위해서는 좀 더 근본적인 해결책이 있어야 한다는 것을
뼈져리게 느꼈던 것입니다. 그러한 문제들은 우리 지역 사회의 시니어들을 위축시키며 더 나아가서는
한인 가족 간의 붕괴를 가져 올 수도 있다는 사실도 알게 되었습니다. 이 문제 해결을 위해 한발 더
나아가고 싶은 것이, 제가 고령화 사회를 대표하여 일하는 내셔널단체의 CEO로 전임할 이유입니다.
한미연합회를 떠나기로 한 저의 결정은 쉬운 일이 아니었습니다. 가족과 친구들, 주위의 여러
멘토분들과 몇 달간 대화한 결과입니다. 시니어들을 위한 서비스단체에서 임무을 수행하며, 저는
우리의 지원이 필요한 노령화 된 공동체에 영향을 미칠 수 있다는 생각에 힘입어 더 애쓸 것입니다.
지난 한 달 동안 우리는 조직의 인수인계를 위해 신중하게 계획했으며, 저는 제 후임자가 불굴의
정신으로 조직을 잘 이끌어 나갈 수 있다고 확신합니다. 저는 이사회 임원으로 앞으로도 한미연합회와
동행할 것이며, 제가 알고 사랑하는 이 커뮤니티에서 계속해서 관심을 가지고 지켜 볼 것입니다.
다시 한번, 한미연합회의 사무국장 임무를 맡은 것을 영광스럽게 생각합니다. 우리와 함께 해 주셔서
감사드리며, 앞으로도 중요한 대업을 이루기 위해 계속해서 협력할 수 있기를 바랍니다.
방준영 사무국장 올림
KAC's Letter to Mayor Eric Garcetti re: Three Korean American Angelenos Barred from LA City's Homeless Solutions Workshop
KAC Praises Historic Meeting of North and South Korean Leaders and Calls on President Trump To Pursue Peace
Watch executive director Joon Bang and Korean American Angelenos
interviewed by ABC7 Eyewitness News, below.
Los Angeles, CA – On April 27, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met at the Peace House in Panmunjom on the southern side of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) to discuss inter-Korean relations. The summit marks the first meeting between leaders of the two nations in 11 years. History was made as Kim and Moon pledged to end war on the divided peninsula and pursue complete denuclearization.
“We find hope and inspiration in these moments when countries and leaders at odds seek dialogue and peace rather than isolation and war. We acknowledge North and South Korean leadership for taking bold steps and authoring a new chapter in Korean history. KAC now calls on President Donald Trump to proactively seek diplomatic solutions ahead of the US-North Korean summit building upon the progress made today. We are hopeful that this moment in time would serve as the beginning of a new path towards a unified Korean peninsula,” said KAC Executive Director Joon Bang.
KAC is excited to invite all of our community members to join us for embRACELA's "100 Dinners on Race." Volunteers across Los Angeles will open their homes to host a dinner between April 16 and 20. "100 Dinners on Race" aim to empower communities through a citywide communication about race and racism to challenge and change inequities by fostering honest, open, and meaningful conversations around the dinner table. Apply to attend at www.embracela.org/join_a_dinner by April 1.
From March 2 to 4, the Korean American Coalition’s (KAC) Model United Nations (MUN) students attended their final MUN conference of the year: the 66th annual session of the Berkeley MUN Conference (BMUN) at the University of California, Berkeley. BMUN was the world’s first United Nations simulation and continues to be one of the world’s premier and largest MUN conferences.
In competition with nearly 2,000 students from 117 schools and 5 countries, KAC MUN’s 21 students brought home a total of 10 awards: 4 research awards and 6 commendation awards.
KAC congratulates our MUN students on their outstanding work over the last few months in preparation for this conference, as well as on their personal accomplishments this weekend, whether speaking in front of a room of over 100 students, collaborating with large groups of students, leading their committees, writing resolutions, or supporting one another.
Media Coverage: Koreatown Daily, Korea Times, YTN Radio, Korea Daily, Radio Seoul, Korea Herald, Ppuri
On February 28, KAC joined 25 organizations in signing on to a letter to Congress, calling for a permanent solution for DREAMers and bringing forth the DREAM Act for a vote.
In February, KAC Executive Director Joon Bang was selected as a finalist for the 2018 Social Innovation Fast Pitch & Showcase on March 22, 2018. The 10 finalists will make three-minute pitches to a panel of judges and an audience of approximately 600 philanthropic, business, civic, and nonprofit leaders, competing to win awards totaling over $40,000.
To attend the Fast Pitch Event and see our Executive Director present his pitch on behalf of KAC, purchase your tickets here!