KRC follows a holistic empowerment model that combines social service, education, and culture with advocacy and organizing. Annually, KRC assists 11,000 individuals access public health care programs, naturalize, register to vote, file their income tax, protect their home from foreclosure, and apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). We also believe in the power of an informed and engaged citizenry. By mobilizing our community, young and old, KRC and the Korean American community have won significant legislative victories benefitting all low-income families and immigrants at the local, state, and national levels. To strengthen our community’s voice, KRC has been building a robust membership program and currently has over 700 dues-paying members throughout southern California.
Last October, we expanded into Orange County, opening up a new office in Buena Park where we have been building our base of seniors, parents, and youth. Over the past year, we have provided vital services to our community and engaged in exciting campaigns throughout Orange County, including putting district elections on the November 2016 ballot in Fullerton.
Next year, KRC will open two new low-income senior apartments in Koreatown Los Angeles, which has been ten years in the making. This was made possible thanks to our incredible partner, Little Tokyo Service Center, and our passionate senior activist group, the Community Health Promoters, who have worked tirelessly to advocate for more affordable housing in Los Angeles.
We are looking forward to continuing this work in the coming years. There are still challenges ahead --- realizing just and humane immigration reform, ensuring health access for all Californians, advocating for vital health and human services for immigrants, and expanding affordable housing development for seniors. But we are emboldened as we look ahead because we know that the community stands with us.
Julie Kil Joo Lee Kurumada, KRC Board Chair
Jenny Seon, KRC Interim Executive Director
Dream Riders Across America
This trip taught me how to face my fears, challenge myself, and grow. - Ellie Wingfield - Los Angeles, CA
In the summer of 2015, 12 Asian American, Latino, and African American youth, known as the Dream Riders, embarked on a road trip to amplify the voices of young people of color and immigrants and build the power of youth throughout the country. The Dream Riders included immigrant youth and allies. Some are undocumented or recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); some are the children of hard-working union members; and almost all come from low-income and working-class families.
The Dream Riders traveled through the Deep South where they shared their personal stories of migration and experiences living in the United States, hopes for their families and country, and how young people can become agents for social change. By sharing their stories, the Dream Riders learned from each other, as well as other youth and community leaders about different issues impacting their communities and their ideas for solutions.
Something I took away from Dream Riders is that the fight for immigration rights and racial justice is just beginning. I hope to continue to be part of this fight to get rid of these injustices. - Victor Huynh - Annandale, VA
One primary mission of Dream Riders Across America was to inform communities about immigrant rights, including the deferred action programs, and issues facing communities of color, particularly African Americans. Throughout this bus tour, the Dream Riders met with policymakers in Washington, DC proposing recommendations and sharing their experiences as undocumented immigrants with and without DACA, along with their stories of having been racially profiled as African Americans.
We will have that opportunity to make our voices be heard in 2016. We need to make sure that our elected officials will stand up and say “Enough!” when another family is broken apart due to deportation or police brutality. - Leticia Velez - Los Angeles, CA
KRC also assisted community members applying for DACA, and engaged in a petition campaign that engaged local city councilmembers urging public support for the new DACA program.
- DACA app assisted: 541
- DACA petitions signed: 1,750
Community Health Promoters
The Community Health Promoters (CHP) is a group of Korean American senior citizens at KRC who advocate on health and immigration-related issues that directly impact them, their peers, and their community. Throughout the years, CHP has identified key principles critical to ensuring that all Californians have access to linguistically appropriate and culturally competent services in public health programs. They have participated in legislative visits in Sacramento, petition drives to make Orange County a welcoming place for all immigrants regardless of status, and voter registration drives in Los Angeles. CHP has been a leader in the fight for affordable senior housing units, resulting in the construction of two new low-income senior apartments in Koreatown Los Angeles.
KRC educated and mobilized tens of thousands of voters for the November 2014 General Elections. In Orange County, after doing voter engagement in the area for 10 years since 2006, for the first time KRC was able to recruit local volunteers at its new Buena Park office.
KRC reached out to voters in Los Angeles and Orange Counties through mass mailing, phone banking, robo calling and precinct walking, educated voters on Anaheim’s Measure L and M district elections issue, Deferred Action and immigration reform and criminal justice system reform.
- Naturalization Assistance: 1,129
- Voters Registered: 450
- Voter Contact Attempts: 39,787
- Voters Contacted: 3,824
With overall population growth and the influx of Asian American and latino populations, dozens of cities across California are at the cusp of an electoral system change, from an at-large system to a district based election system. Such change has the potential for a dramatic improvement in local representation and community participation in city government.
In Orange County, this change was led by a coalition of organizations in Anaheim culminating in a November 2014 ballot measure. KRC is working with the community in the cities of Anaheim, Fullerton and Buena Park so that voters are educated about the issues and to ensure full participation in the transition process.
KRC believes that the strength of our organization comes from the involvement and leadership of our community members, particularly young people. KRC boasts several robust youth programs that seek to develop progressive Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) young people in Los Angeles and Orange Counties through social justice and political education, discussion about AAPI history and identity, service, and fieldwork.
The College Access Series is a 7-week workshop series aimed to prepare low-income AAPI youth for higher education and their post-college careers.
Future Organizers Rooted in Empowerment (FOREground) is a year-round social justice program for college-aged youth in Orange County that seeks to educate youth about identity, power, and privilege as they develop their own campaigns and execute field programs.
Serve. Organize. Educate. Empower. (SOEE) Academy is an 8-week intensive organizing and campaign management training for college-aged AAPI youth in Orange County. SOEE Academy is held during the summer.
The Youth Power Academy is a quarterly program targeted at high school students in the greater Los Angeles that combines education, identity, and community service to develop progressive high school youth in Los Angeles.
KRC provided free services to its members including consultation, application assistance and referrals on: naturalization, Deferred Action (DACA), undocumented immigrant student college admissions (in-state tuition AB 540, financial aid AB 130 & 131), driver’s license for undocumented immigrants (AB 60), Covered California, Medi-Cal, Medicare Part D, My Healthy LA, Cal MediConnect, financial literacy, affordable housing, foreclosure prevention, and voter assistance.
Little Tokyo Service Center, the Decro Group and KRC started building two low-income senior apartments in Koreatown, temporarily named “LDK Apartments”. The project started in 2005. Thousands of community members applied to the two apartments in November, and the apartment is slated to open doors in April of 2016.