워싱턴주 한미연합(KAC-WA, 회장 강줄리) 임원 10여명이 지난 주말 포틀랜드에서 개최된 KAC 전국총회에 참석했다. 특히 신디 류 워싱턴주 하원의원이 KAC-WA의 강줄리 회장과 이승영, 김순아, 이준우, 쉐리 송 등 임원들과 함께 참석해 차세대 한인들의 활동을 격려해줬다.
이번 회의에 어린이 기자로 참가, 행사를 취재한 시애틀의 캐더린 강 양이 컨벤션을 취재한 내용을 바탕으로 작성한 영문기사를 다름과 같이 소개한다.
Are you 100% Korean and 100% American?
By Katherine Kang
The Korean American National Convention, held in Portland, Oregon on September ninth, was the annual gathering of Korean American leaders, professionals, activists, and students from across the nation.
Between the national convention, the regional chapters empower Korean American communities through civic engagement, professional networking, leadership development and mentoring.
Over 150 attendees from eleven chapters attended the event. Ten members of Washington Chapter, including Representative Cindy Ryu participated at the National Convention. About fifty students received scholarships to participate in the 2017 KAC Convention.
One of the new KAC-WA member, Carolyn Kay, shares, "I had a great time networking with other like-minded folks, especially with our non-Korean allies. Now more than ever, we need to be united in identifying and dismantling institutions that support racism and white supremacy. It was inspiring to see the great work being done by Korean Americans in their communities. Mansei!".
The Oregon chapter started the convention with a welcoming reception on Fridayevening. The Oregon chapter convention planning committee members structured the conference in a series of Ted talk format. The theme “Build” encouraged people to build on each other's ideas and make progress as united Korean Americans.
National Chair Shari Song opened the convention with a welcoming speech. Following, Delegate Mark Keam from Virginia presented the history and the impact of Korean American Coalition.
Professor Edward Chang, founding director of the Young Oak Kim Center for Korean American Studies at the University of California at Riverside, also presented, “Korean American Identity and Historical Consciousness” and he emphasized the importance of learning our Korean American history develop collective community consciousness.
Chair Song comments, “I found the variety of speakers educational, inspirational and motivational. We learned about Korean American history and how important it is to build upon it as a community”.
Brenda Barren, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Nonprofit VOTE spoke about the importance of nonpartisan campaign, including voter registration. She was impressed with the work of KAC-WA with the King County Voter Registration Project. However, even with participation in over 40 voter registration events, KAC-WA is seeking our community support to register more voters.
The day was filled with sessions on immigration, women in leadership, Korean American identity, adoption and citizenship, how to be better advocates, institutional racism, among others.
KAC National President Jenny Kim comments, "2017 KAC National Convention was an impactful and progressive conference that tackled issues within the Korean American Community The conference also met with diverse communities of color and faith to discuss concerns affecting us all".
KAC-WA President Julie Kang applauded the KAC-OR planning team for inviting and including non-Korean community leaders to serve as panelists and to collaborate with the KAC National.
The panelists included members of the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, member of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Rabbi, as well as a member of a Muslim Educational Trust. President Kang adds, “In order to make progress, it’s important to work with other ethnic community members and to collaborate with them on issues impacting our community”.
Following Saturday's session on Cultural Appropriation of Food with Deuki Hong, Han Hwang, and Kate Koo, on Sunday, the Korean Food Festival Mukja! introduced Korean inspired food to over 300 people from the convention and the local community members. Some examples include Kimchi tamale, Kimchi fried rice with pork belly with cheese, and Kimbap with purple rice with Kimchi.
While you may have missed out Portland Mukja, you can still purchase tickets to this Sunday’s Kalbi Cook Off event at Steward Park, from 4-6 pm.
KAC-WA Junior member summarizes, “Overall, this convention inspired me to elevate my Korean American identity and I am looking forward to reading and learning more about Korean American history.