2009 has ushered in tremendous possibilities during one of the most difficult of times. We have had many close to us hurting --- from the loss of jobs, health care, or homes to the growing attempts to criminalize, discriminate, and deny basic rights to immigrant, people of color, and LGBT communities. As an organization founded to meet the full human needs of our community from social service and culture to education and organizing, our work is more vital in these times. It is the time to reach out beyond ourselves, and lift as we climb.
Julie Kil Joo Lee Kurumada
Board Chair, National Korean American Service & Education Consortium
1 Power Vote
2 America’s Future Starts With Healthy Children SCHIP Campaign
3 Deep and Sustained Organizing
4 We also….
2008 was a historic election for America that saw the political clout of the Asian Americans and Pacific Islander electorate increase markedly. NAKASEC was central in these efforts by registering 10,592 new votes, educating 132,708 community members, assisting 7,021 through our hotline number or face to face for walk-ins; robo-calling 23,017 voters to get out the vote; and phone banking and/or precinct walking to 20,606 voters in Illinois and California. This deep work in Illinois and California was coupled with the collaboration of local Korean American groups in 10 different states to distribute civic engagement materials and voting rights advocacy efforts on the national and local level.
America’s Future Starts With Healthy Children SCHIP Campaign
An ambitious campaign to re-authorize and expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), the America’s Future Starts with Healthy Children campaign engaged thousands of community members and families. Organized through the Health Rights Organizing Project, activities ranged from petition deliveries to all major Presidential candidates to two national children’s art exhibits in Washington, D.C during the heart of the SCHIP policy debate this past January. By highlighting children’s desire to be healthy through their artwork, the message was driven home online (www.iwanttobehealthytoo.org) and with a robust media and communications strategy. In total over 400 pieces were collected from 23 states from multiple sources, like public school classrooms, after school programs, and community group organized workshops. Not only then was the artwork viewed by thousands of people walking through Union Station and the Rayburn House Office Building, but also online and in the media with a special press conference organized by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. On February 4, 2009, NAKASEC was one of several community organizations invited to attend the bill signing by President Barack Obama.
Deep and Sustained Organizing
NAKASEC worked closely with our affiliates to provide technical assistance in their efforts to organize Korean Americans. They include:
Community Health Promoters (CHP) is a group of Korean American seniors who first came together to oppose welfare reform and have stayed together, growing to 100 members promoting access to health care and protecting language rights.
Korean Americans United for Equality is a multi-generational alliance between straight and queer Korean Americans committed to promote sexual and gender equality.
Immigrant Organizing Committee is composed of 22 members including a growing number of immigrant mothers supporting comprehensive immigration reform policies.
Parents for America’s Children is a group of immigrant parents working for health reform and equity issues and recently expanding to online organizing in the Korean language blogosphere.
Youth Leadership Groups: Seeking to train, build leadership and collaborate together towards immigrant access to higher education, they are:
Fighting Youth Shouting out for Humanity (FYSH), a 20 member youth council in Chicago composed of low-income, largely immigrant high school students;
Building Sisterhood is a 10 member AAPI girls’ group in Chicago that studies and acts on gender equity issues impacting them;
Rise of Youth to Serve and Empower (RYSE), an 8-member youth group made up of high school students in Los Angeles; and
KRC’s Dream Committee, a network of 20 student leaders from eight college campuses in Southern California organized to provide a support network for AB540 and undocumented students. 2009 was also the second year for the youth network to sustain a national scholarship fund for AAPI immigrant students and refining the NAKASEC-affiliate youth organizing curriculum.
Organize campaigns and activities to advance health reform policies that are inclusive, affordable and eliminate disparities and immigration reform policies that are comprehensive, humane and just.
Develop leadership skills and critical political thinking through the education and training programs for 364 young people.
Provide comprehensive financial empowerment programs counseling and educating 1,400 individuals on improving credit and keep their homes or prevent foreclosures.
Serve 10,209 community members enabling them to file income taxes, naturalize, apply for public health programs, learn English as a Second language, become computer literate, apply for in-state tuition, and file for worker rights claims.
Promote multiculturalism through performances and classes on Poongmul (traditional percussion ensemble)