Incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1983, KACLA advocates for the interests of the 1.8 million strong Korean American community. As recent immigrants and members of an ethnic minority group, Korean Americans face many barriers in their pursuit of full and meaningful participation in American society. KAC was established to serve as the vehicle through which to overcome those obstacles. KAC's priorities have remained untouched since its inception: advocacy, empowerment, organizing and outreach, education, and multi-generational collaboration. As a bilingual and non-partisan membership organization, KAC has been bridging the inter-generational gap and galvanizing multi-generations of Korean Americans into taking civic action.
One of the major turning points in KAC's history was during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, when KAC emerged as the voice of the Korean American community. KAC represented the concerns of a community that had been devastated by inner-city violence to mainstream media, elected officials, and government agencies.
Throughout the years, KAC has developed various programs aimed at empowering and educating the community. Over the course of 38 years, KAC has assisted over 40,000 immigrants to become U.S. citizens and registered voters; co-founded the Black Korean Alliance in 1988, and launched the 4.29 Center in 1997 to provide dispute resolution and inter-ethnic outreach; coordinated victim relief efforts after the 1992 Los Angeles Riots; successfully lobbied for bilingual voter registration forms and sample ballots in California; conducted forums, seminars, and workshops on the American political process and pressing social issues; trained more than 800 college students in leadership development and community organizing; and sponsored over 200 college internships. KAC has continued to work closely with government agencies and elected officials to promote more responsive governance and policy making that impact the community. KAC also developed broad coalitions with other ethnic communities around shared concerns.