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 Participated in Biggest Non-Party Sponsored Event in the Heartland
(Los Angeles, CA) Braving the wind and ice, 5,000 people from all over Iowa and the rest of the country descended upon Des Moines’ Hy-Vee Hall to hear five presidential hopefuls offer solutions to everyday American concerns about healthcare, jobs, immigration, the environment, housing, and clean elections. Moderated by Cathy Hughes, Sen. Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Barack Obama and Rep. Dennis Kucinich shared the stage one at a time (with the exception of Senator Hillary Clinton who could not attend due to the inclement weather and participated over the phone) with 30 community leaders other political notables.
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 - mobilized 55 Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) to participate in the Iowa Heartland Presidential Forum. Il Kwa Nori, KRCC’s cultural group and one of Illinois’ celebrated ethnic musical talent, closed out the Forum with a rousing poongmul performance.
“It was great to see so many different people in one place, under one roof. I thought it was a very well-organized event and it was very heartening to hear the candidates talk about their plans to make a healthcare system for all. 1 out of 2 Korean Americans do not have health insurance, so we fully understand that suffering and the urgent need for real solutions,” stated Hee Pok Kim, 84-year old community leader from Los Angeles and member of KRC’s Community Health Promoters.
“Inhe Choi, a long time volunteer with KRCC, was one of the community leaders on stage. In an economic system that has been driving down wages and working conditions to a race to the bottom, her important question about ensuring workers’ rights and a true living wage echoed our belief as Korean Americans and Asian Pacific Americans that all workers must be treated fairly and justly,” stated Becky Belcore, Executive Director of KRCC.
“There was great representation of the diverse Asian Pacific American communities in our delegation – Korean, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, and Vietnamese American. Ranging in ages from 14 – 84, we had participants from New York, Los Angeles, and all over the Chicago area, ” stated Lily Kim, a participant from Chicago and President of the Asian American Media Coalition.
“Our presence magnified the call for community values by adding the voices of immigrants and Asian Pacific Americans. We know that only together, we can build America’s future,” stated Ju Bum Cha, Advocacy Director of YKASEC.