Becky Belcore, 773-506-9158, English
Jubum Cha, 718-460-5600, Korean
Inhe Choi, 773-506-9158, English & Korean
Yongho Kim, 323-937-3718, Eng., Kor. & Spanish
On the Road to Iowa: Asian Pacific Americans Participate in Biggest Non-Party Sponsored Event in the Heartland
(Los Angeles, CA) Five presidential hopefuls will stand before a crowd of 5,000 to offer solutions on everyday American concerns about healthcare, jobs, immigration, the environment, and housing on December 1, 2007. As the largest gathering of likely Iowa caucus-goers joined by thousands of others from all over the country, the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium and its affiliates – Korean American Resource & Cultural Center, Korean Resource Center and YKASEC – Empowering the Korean American Community – are mobilizing 55 Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) to participate in the Iowa Heartland Presidential Forum.
“The Heartland Presidential Forum speaks to our belief as Korean Americans and Asian Pacific Americans that all communities share common values. It is visible in our ongoing work to magnify this call by adding the voices of immigrants. Earlier this year, we coordinated two major national mobilizations to send home the message that only together we can build America’s future. On December 1st, 55 Asian Pacific Americans will be boarding a bus from Chicago to once again to send home that message,” stated EunSook Lee, Executive Director of NAKASEC.
“Entering the 2008 election season, we need to publicly identify cases when immigrants are being scapegoated for political means. Time and time again, we have seen how anti-immigrant sentiment simply leads to hate & ignorance and does not offer real solutions.
Inhe Choi, one of our community leaders, will be on stage with the candidates to share her personal insight on the need to fairly and practically look at ways to address our failed immigration system,” stated Becky Belcore, Executive Director of KRCC.
“All over the country, friends, families and communities will be gathering in front of their televisions or computers to watch the forum live on CSPAN1 or online at the Movement Vision Lab website and to dialogue amongst themselves to make informed political decision In Los Angeles and New York, we are organizing such viewing parties,” stated Dae Joong Yoon, Executive Director of KRC.
“We are traveling under the banner of ‘Together, We Are America,’ to remind political leaders of our interwoven histories and common vision for a brighter America,” stated Yu Soung Mun, Executive Director of YKASEC.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Attached are profiles of community members who will be on the ground in Des Moines, Iowa for the Heartland Presidential Forum and are available for interview.
For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Sookyung Oh at 267-334-5918 or Jeong Yeon Hong at 213-820-6412.
Becky Belcore currently serves as the Executive Director of the Korean American Resource & Cultural Center (KRCC), where she has volunteered since 1996. Before her employment with KRCC, Becky worked with the Quality Education as a Civil Right Campaign and the People’s Organizing Committee in New Orleans, LA. She serves as a board member of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant & Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and the Coalition of African, Asian, Arab, European and Latino Immigrants of Illinois (CAAAELII). She is a member of Young Koreans United (YKU) and a founding member of a Korean adoptee organization, Helping Adoptees Lead Together (HALT).
Inhe Choi is Vice Chair of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium and a longtime volunteer with the Korean American Resource & Cultural Center. She is one of the community leaders that will share the stage with the presidential candidates at the Iowa Presidential Heartland Forum. Inhe immigrated to the United States from South Korea in 1973 at the age of 12. Educated in Chicago public schools and then the University of Chicago, Inhe currently works at the Crossroads Fund, a public foundation that support community organizations working on issues of social and economic justice in the Chicago area. Previously, she was one of the founding members of KAN-WIN, a Korean American domestic violence agency in Chicago.
Jerry B. Clarito was the top vote getter in the last April 5, 2005 Consolidated Local election for Skokie Park District Commissioner. He is the first Asian American elected in that position. He also served the Skokie Human Relations Commission from year 1999 to 2005. He is currently the interim executive director of the Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE). He sits in the board of the Coalition of Asian, African, Arab, European, and Latino Immigrants of Illinois (CAAAELII), the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) and the Illinois Veterans Equity Center (IVEC). He currently works for the Lutheran General Children’s Day Care in Des Plaines, Illinois as its systems and finance supervisor. Prior to this, he worked for Aleri Inc. (formerly mpct Solutions, Corporation) Chicago, USA as a business analyst for its global banking system. From 1994 to 1997, Jerry worked for Fuji Bank, Chicago as its Risk Manager and Vice-President for Funds and Foreign Exchange Department. From 1986 to 1994, he worked for Banca Nazionale Del Lavoro as its Controller and Assistant Vice President for Operations.
Hee Pok Kim is a tireless community activist and leader in Los Angeles, CA. More widely known as “Grandma Kim,” she advocates for low income people of color and immigrant communities with the Korean Resource Center and Bus Riders Union. She was born and raised in Korea during the time of Japanese occupation and supported her parents who were fighters in the Independence movement. She immigrated to the United States, leaving a painful history of family separation during the Korean War. Her parents and siblings were born in North Korea, and before the war, she got married and moved to South Korea. She has not been able to see her family since. In June 2007, Grandma Kim was one of the 105 Dreamers on the “Dreams Across America Tour,” a national public awareness campaign to humanize the issue of immigration reform by presenting compelling storytellers to the American public & lawmakers.