Summary of Presentations from the 2017 KAC National Convention: BUILD

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History and Impact of KAC by Delegate Mark Keam

Delegate Mark Keam urged Korean Americans to engage in civic life and work together to make government serve our needs. Although there are successful Korean Americans in all industries, their success has been mostly at the individual level and has not always helped the rest of the community. Our immigrant parents have worked hard and built businesses, but all too often, they behaved as if the country did not belong to us, telling us to not do strange things because we are foreigners here. KAC is a civic organization founded in 1983 to advance the claim that we are just as American as other people. When the Russians shot down a Korean Airlines flight in 1983, KAC was one of the few voices that spoke up for the 300 innocent victims who lost their lives. During the 1992 LA Riots, KAC stood up to the mainstream media that sought to pit us against other racial minority groups. When the Environmental Protection Agency targeted dry cleaners owned by Korean Americans that used the same practices as other dry cleaners, KAC lobbied against unfair regulatory burdens. Today, Korean Americans must speak up and share our story to counteract white supremacists who believe in their narrow view of America. Moreover, our voice can promote the peaceful reunification of the two Koreas. We have a special role in preventing another war-torn conflict on the Korean peninsula and in making sure there's not one bullet shot because of ideology. Delegate Keam highlighted the importance of a strong, robust KAC where the members are organized, educated, and empowered.

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Korean American Identity and Historical Consciousness

Professor Edward Chang

Professor Edward Chang motivated Korean Americans to learn history, as it is a source of identity and power. History illustrates what it means to be a Korean American and why we should care about our community, as exemplified by the life of Young Oak Kim. Young Oak Kim grew up in the Korean American community in southern California in the early 1900's. During World War II, when he joined the U.S. Army, Young Oak was assigned as Second Lieutenant to the U.S. 100th Infantry Battalion, comprised mostly of Japanese Americans. At that time, Korea was fighting for independence from Japan, and fearing a potential conflict, his superior officer gave Young Oak the option of serving in a battalion without Japanese Americans. Young Oak replied, "We are all Americans and we're fighting for the same cause." As an officer of the 100th Infantry Battalion, he led efforts to rescue Rome, Belvedere, and Pisa. He successfully helped liberate these cities from German occupation. When his military career ended, he founded several non-profits in southern California, including KAC, the Japanese American National Museum, a Korean American museum, a shelter for battered women, and a Japanese American veterans’ association. While seeing himself as 100-percent American and 100-percent Korean, Young Oak devoted his life to the betterment of humanity. Professor Chang also described how knowing history can help Korean Americans today to build multi-racial coalitions. Both African American and Korean American communities have a shared background of oppression and suffering and are mostly Christian. These commonalities can help us communicate with each other and build trust.

Additional lectures and other videos mentioned by Professor Chang can be found here.

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Women in Leadership Ms. Mari Watanabe

Ms. Mari Watanabe advised Asian Pacific Islander (API) women on how to attain leadership positions. Although APIs are projected to represent 10% of the population by 2050 in the U.S., and 46% of women say they want to make it to the top of their profession, API women are significantly underrepresented as executives. They hold just 0.2% of CEO positions and less than 1% of board seats in S&P 100 companies. To improve these statistics, women can do the following: 1) Find mentors who emulate their values and principles. Then, follow the mentors' advice, even if it means getting out of their comfort zones. Mentors should not be the boss or someone else in the company. 2) Network and build partnerships with professionals of diverse backgrounds. 3) Become a board member. Women can volunteer for positions and don't have to be asked. 4) Achieve Professional Development. Opportunities for training are available through Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Center for API Women, EDI - Executive Development Institute, and Toast Masters. 5) Apply for positions even when they don't meet all of the requirements. Ms. Watanabe described how although women usually do not give themselves enough credit. Women are just as capable as men in leading. When women become leaders, they encourage girls, who see people that look like them in positions of authority and power.

2017 KAC National Convention: BUILD Sponsors

We would like to thank all of our sponsors and partner organizations for their generous contribution.   Scholarship programs for 42 college students, community organizers, and recent graduates were funded by Jin and Julieann Park, Roy Kim, and Oregon Korea Foundation.

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2017 Portland Korean Food Festival Official Contest Rules

This contest is sponsored by the Korean American Coalition of Oregon (KAC Oregon), organizer of the Portland Korean Food Festival. KAC Oregon and festival organizers reserve the right to alter, suspend or conclude the contest at any time.

No purchase is necessary to participate, and purchasing a ticket to the festival will not improve your odds of winning. To enter the contest, it is not necessary to like the KAC Oregon or Portland Korean Food Festival Facebook pages or any of the content on either page.

You have not yet won. By entering the contest, you agree to abide by all rules and decisions of the festival organizer(s) regarding the administration of the contest.  

Eligibility: Entrants must be at least 18 years of age, must be U.S. residents, must be Facebook account holders and must not have already purchased a ticket to the festival as of Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, at 12 noon PST.

Festival organizers do not discriminate on the basis of gender or gender identification, sex, national origin, race, ethnicity, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, ability, use of a service animal or honorably discharged veteran or military status.

The following are ineligible: previous Portland Korean Food Festival contest winners, members of KAC Oregon’s board of directors and their families, festival sponsors and their families, participating chefs and restaurant staff members and their families and event volunteers and their families.

Consent: By entering the contest, participants grant KAC Oregon and the Portland Korean Food Festival rights to use their contest entry, name and photo for all future festival promotions.

Prize description and collection: One winner will receive two free general admission tickets (approximate value: $140 USD) to the 2017 Portland Korean Food Festival. Each general admission includes 12 single-course dishes, in addition to unlimited nonalcoholic beverages and entry to the festival at 2 p.m.

Other expenses incurred at or with the festival, including additional items purchased at the festival and travel expenses, are not included in the prize. Tickets cannot be sold or transferred by the winner or his or her guest.

The tickets can be claimed only by the winner at the Portland Korean Food Festival, held Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, at the Ecotrust building, 721 NW 9th Ave., Portland, OR 97209. Tickets may be claimed only between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. The winner must provide valid identification (a U.S. driver’s license or passport) at the time of ticket collection.

Any local, state and/or federal taxes are the sole responsibility of the winner.

KAC Oregon and festival organizers are not liable for any injury, illness, allergic reaction and/or damages that the winner and/or his or her guest and their property may incur as a result of attending the Portland Korean Food Festival. Contest entrants, the winner and his or her guest agree to release KAC Oregon and the Portland Korean Food Festival from any liability related to the festival.

How to enter: Participants should state their favorite Korean food and describe why it’s their favorite on the Portland Korean Food Festival’s Aug. 26, 2017, Facebook post announcing the contest. Alternately, they may message the page with their response. Portland Korean Food Festival’s Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/kfoodfest.

Only one response per Facebook user will be considered. All responses may become public. Interested parties who do not wish to have their name and response become public should not enter the contest.

Per Facebook promotional guidelines, posts on Facebook users’ personal or friends’ timelines or on shared posts will not be considered. By entering the contest, participants release Facebook from liability. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by or associated with Facebook.

Responses deemed by festival organizers to be lewd, inappropriate, irrelevant, untimely, explicit, violent, illegal, pornographic or otherwise offensive may be disqualified, and comments that may be construed as any of the above may be hidden or deleted.

Entry period: The contest will be announced on Facebook on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, at 12 noon PST. Entries must be submitted by 12 midnight PST on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017.

Finalist determination: At their sole discretion, festival organizers will randomly select the winner. Festival organizers reserve the right to investigate any suspected cheating or tampering with the results.

Winner selection, notification and announcement: The winner will be notified via Facebook. Once the winner has been notified, his or her name will be announced on the Portland Korean Food Festival Facebook page.

Tickets will be available at the door on Sept. 10, 2017, for the contest winner and one guest.

Contact KAC Oregon: KAC Oregon can be reached at 7650 SW 81st Ave., Portland, OR 97223; 971-270-0302; kacoregon@gmail.com; and/or http://kacoregon.org.

Kimchi Princess: A Memoir

Growing up in Tennessee where there were 4 Korean kids in my high school (my brother and I making up 50% of this sad little demographic), I felt that my race always preceded me. I was Asian first and Hannah second. I was Hannah Kim, Asian girl, and that was something that followed my name like a doctorate degree.  It was the typical bullshit, people exhausting their knowledge of Asian countries after asking if I was Chinese or Japanese; comments on my flat face, chinky eyes; assumption of my natural prowess in Math despite my clear lack of skill and intuition on the matter. Overarching these pointed barbs, a general confusion – confusion that I wasn’t white, and confusion why that made me automatically less than.

After graduation, I went to Los Angeles to attend USC and suddenly found myself in a sea of Asian Americans. Far from being a culture shock, I immediately dove in, relishing the feeling of something I hadn’t even realized I was missing. In particular, my close involvement with the Korean American Student Association led me to exciting new heights of comfort and self-discovery. Namely, the ability to be myself without being first and foremost Korean/Asian. The right that white people take for granted (and other majority races in their respective countries) to be judged for who they are as an individual. It’s fine if people don’t like me, I just want them to judge me for being Hannah Kim and not on behalf of the Asian populace, you know? The right to be disliked for myself – what an odd but tangible relief. The feeling of melting into a group of people where your race is such an obvious factor that there’s no need to mention it. [“What the hell is water?”]

I think herein lies the value of community. By joining yourself to a larger group of similar people (through culture or an interest like scuba diving, woodworking, comedy) you’re paradoxically able to become an individual.

Not to mention, how whole I feel around people who have shared my experience of being spread-eagled between two distinct worlds – my feet on two islands as they drift inexorably apart, me, falling into the most uncomfortable splits of all time. Not accepted as Korean or American by either country, shunted into a no man’s demilitarized zone. My “people” are not Koreans, who grew up with the luxury of invisibly blending into a sea of other Koreans, my “people” are Korean Americans. Together we share the joy of eating Korean food without fear of judgment or exotifying bullshit. We mix in Korean words with rapid-fire English, for a hodgepodge that provides a nuanced clarity of meaning. We sing Big Bang and TLC at karaoke, we are able to talk to each other’s parents, we are able to talk about our parents, feeling both guilty and grateful about their immigration struggles.


It’s taken many years, but I think I’ve finally reconciled my identity as a first generation Korean American. Not that there won’t be challenges ahead, but the overwhelming confusion has cleared. After moving to Portland, KAC Oregon has been a big part of my journey in understanding my identity. It’s empowering to be a part of an organization that is so inclusive and works so hard to build community for both Korean Americans and others. My particular experience is far from representative, and it’s likely your own story is different from mine. However, whatever your unique identity and journey, I hope that you find peace and that KAC Oregon can help provide you with a sense of community in the process. Hope to see you at our future events and please reach out via our Facebook page with any questions! 

 

Hannah Kim works in digital advertising and is one of the newest additions to the KAC board. She is a Kimchi princess.

2017 KAC National Convention in Portland

We are excited to announce that KAC Oregon will hosting the 2017 KAC National Convention in Portland. 

The KAC National Conference will welcome and host Korean American community leaders and students from all over the country as well as our community partners,  If you are interested in helping us plan this event or have any ideas or suggestions for the program content, please drop us a line.

Credit

Graphic, Trung Bao   |   Publisher, Michael Minsung Do  |  Photos, Justin Lee

PORTLAND KOREAN FOOD FESTIVAL 2016 OFFICIAL CONTEST RULES

This contest is sponsored by the Korean American Coalition of Oregon (KAC Oregon), organizer of the Portland Korean Food Festival. KAC Oregon and festival organizers reserve the right to alter, suspend or conclude the contest at any time.

No purchase is necessary to participate, and purchasing a ticket to the festival will not improve the odds of winning. To enter the contest, it is not necessary to like the KAC Oregon or Portland Korean Food Festival Facebook pages or any of the posts on either page.

You have not yet won. By entering the contest, you agree to abide by all rules and decisions of the festival organizer(s) regarding the administration of the contest.  

Eligibility: Entrants must be at least 18 years of age, must be U.S. residents, must be Facebook account holders and must not have already purchased a ticket to the festival as of Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016, at 12 noon PST. Festival organizers do not discriminate on the basis of gender or gender identification, sex, national origin, race, ethnicity, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, ability, use of a service animal or honorably discharged veteran or military status.

The following are not eligible: members of KAC Oregon’s board of directors and their families, festival sponsors and their families, participating chefs and restaurant staff members and their families and event volunteers and their families.

Consent: By entering the contest, participants grant KAC Oregon and the Portland Korean Food Festival rights to use their contest entry, name and photo for all future festival promotions.

Prize description and collection: One winner will receive two free general admission tickets (approximate value: $140 USD) to the Portland Korean Food Festival. Each general admission includes 12 single-course dishes, in addition to unlimited non-alcoholic beverages and entry to the festival at 2 p.m.

Other expenses incurred at or with the festival, including additional items purchased at the festival and travel expenses, are not included in the prize. Tickets cannot be sold or transferred by the winner or his or her guest.

The tickets can be claimed only by the winner at the Portland Korean Food Festival, held Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016, at the Ecotrust building, 907 NW Irving St., Portland, Oregon. Tickets may be claimed only between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. The winner must provide valid identification (a U.S. driver’s license or passport) at the time of ticket collection.

Any local, state and/or federal taxes are the sole responsibility of the winner.

KAC Oregon and festival organizers are not liable for any injury, illness, allergic reaction and/or damages that the winner and/or his or her guest and their property may incur as a result of attending the Portland Korean Food Festival. Contest entrants, the winner and his or her guest agree to release KAC Oregon and the Portland Korean Food Festival from any liability related to the festival.

How to enter: Participants should share what Korean food means to them by commenting on Portland Korean Food Festival’s Aug. 12, 2016, Facebook post announcing the contest or by messaging the page with their response. Portland Korean Food Festival’s Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/kfoodfest. 

Only one response per Facebook user will be considered. All responses may become public. Interested parties who do not wish to have their name and response become public should not enter the contest.

Per Facebook promotional guidelines, posts on Facebook users’ personal or friends’ timelines or on shared posts will not be considered. By entering the contest, participants release Facebook from liability. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Responses deemed by festival organizers to be lewd, inappropriate, irrelevant, untimely, explicit, violent, illegal, pornographic or otherwise offensive may be disqualified, and comments that may be construed as any of the above may be hidden or deleted.

Initial entry period: The contest will be announced on Facebook on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2016, at 12 noon PST. Entries must be submitted by 12 midnight PST on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016.

Finalist determination: At their sole discretion, festival organizers will select three finalists by Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016, at 6 p.m. PST. Finalists will be chosen based on the originality and quality of their responses.

The three finalists will be announced on Facebook by Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016, at 9 p.m. PST.

Winner selection, notification and announcement: Facebook users will have until Thursday, Aug. 26, 2016, at 5 p.m. PST to vote on the winner via Facebook. The response that receives the most votes will be deemed the winner. Festival organizers reserve the right to investigate any suspected cheating or tampering with the results. In the event of a tie, festival organizers will determine the winner.

The winner will be notified via Facebook. Once the winner has been notified, his or her name will be announced on the Portland Korean Food Festival Facebook page.

Contact KAC Oregon: KAC Oregon can be reached at 7650 SW 81st Ave., Portland, OR 97223; 971-270-0302; kacoregon@gmail.com; and/or http://kacoregon.org. 

Changed after NCLC

First off, I did not expect to be accepted to this conference because it seemed like something for very extroverted, talented, and special students. But, I wanted more than anything to be part of it and something told me that it would end up being a very special experience. I had no previous knowledge about the Korean community before, and knew nothing about Korean-American history. Listening to so many active Korean-Americans and their stories not only to success but a happy, fulfilling life were both inspirational and motivating, and encouraged me to be more mindful by reflecting on my own life and how I envision my future. I reminded myself to be grateful for what I have and everything that earlier generations of Koreans have gone through to allow me to get to this point. I did not have any Korean-American friends previously, so to suddenly be surrounded by nineteen of them was really something. I had hoped to leave Portland one person, and return a different one. Not only was this the case, I also went home with a support group of students just like me! I can safely say that NCLC has been a heart-warming, unforgettable, life-changing experience.

Mindy Kim is currently a sophomore at Lewis and Clark college and plans to double major in International Affairs and Foreign Languages.  She was born in Seoul, Korea and grew up in Singapore, Taiwan, the US, and Japan.  She attended KAC's National College Leadership Conference (NCLC) in Los Angeles along with students from all across the US.

 

2016 Portland Korean Food Festival - Are You Ready?

We are looking for dedicated volunteers and fans for the upcoming Korean Food Festival, scheduled for Sunday, August 28, 2016.  If you are interested in volunteering or sponsoring our highly anticipated event, please contact us at kacoregon@gmail.com.  We expect around 1,000 people to attend the Second Annual Portland Korean Food Festival!

We are now starting to reach out to potential sponsors and can use your help to reach out to more businesses, companies, and people.  Please share the sponsorship form and help us reach our sponsorship goal of $15,000.

Apply for 2016 KAC NCLC

KAC Oregon is pleased to announce the 36th KAC National College Leadership Conference (NCLC).  NCLC has brought together young leaders in a fun, dynamic, exceptional Korean American teaching experience since 1980.  Participate in this long-standing and successful leadership development program and you will be joining a community of current and future Korean American pioneers in a variety of career fields, including government, finance, non-profit, art, technology, law, entertainment, and many more.


NCLC is an excellent opportunity for young Korean Americans to meet established professionals in their field of interest, learn essential leadership skills to assist them in their future professions, and make friends of other bright, ambitious Korean Americans. The leadership conference builds awareness of current and past issues facing the Korean American community, with an emphasis on the importance of participation and cultural identity.


Past participants include World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and Korean American Actor Ki Hong Lee (Maze Runner).


DATE:  Monday through Friday, June 20 – June 24, 2016

LOCATION: “Paradise Springs” is 135 acre private retreat located less than 30 minutes from both Palmdale and Wrightwood and approximately 90 minutes from Downtown Los Angeles.

COST: The conference, including room and board, costs $690 per attendee.  KAC Oregon will fully sponsor the conference fee and travel costs for up to 2 Oregon college students accepted into the KAC NCLC Program.

HOW TO APPLY: Fill out the 2016 application by Friday, May 27, 2016.  Upload and submit your resume here.  Apply as soon as possible to increase your chances of selection. Only completed application packages are reviewed.  Please email kacoregon@gmail.com once you have completed the online application and uploaded your resume.  We will follow up with the application review committee and track your application for you.  This will also allow us to work with them to sponsor your conference fees and travel costs.

Selected attendees will be notified no later than June 13, 2016.


QUESTIONS: Email kacoregon@gmail.com

Adam Crapser, A Korean Adoptee from Oregon, Detained by ICE!

Adam Crapser (third from the left on the bottom row), KAC Oregon, Adult Korean Adoptees of Portland (AKAP), and NAKASEC (National Korean American Service & Education Consortium) gathered at the Federal Immigration Court in Portland, Oregon in October 2015.

Adam Crapser (third from the left on the bottom row), KAC Oregon, Adult Korean Adoptees of Portland (AKAP), and NAKASEC (National Korean American Service & Education Consortium) gathered at the Federal Immigration Court in Portland, Oregon in October 2015.

 

The following message is from Adoptee Rights Campaign, which KAC Oregon and KAC National helped launch.  Please help share this important message and take action today!

Action Alert: Adam Crapser Detained by ICE!

Adam Crapser, a loving father, a survivor of extreme and sustained child abuse, and Korean American adoptee who lived in Hillsboro, Oregon, was unjustly detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on February 8, 2016. He is being held indefinitely at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington. We need your support!

Adam was adopted from a Korean orphanage by U.S. citizen parents at the age of three. With the promise of being placed in a safe and loving home and a better life, he instead faced chronic and severe child abuse and neglect from two sets of adoptive parents. To compound this, both sets of adoptive parents and the State of Oregon failed to fulfill their responsibility to naturalize Adam. Because of their failure, Adam, now 40, is being held in a detention center and faces the possibility of being deported to a country that is no longer his home - he does not speak the language, remember the country, or understand the culture. Learn more about Adam's story or watch this documentary about Adam and 2 other Korean adoptees.

The country that promised Adam a good family and a better life continues to punish him for its own failing systems. Like other immigrant families impacted by deportation and detention, Adam and his family deserve to live with dignity and support towards building a healthy home. All adoptees deserve to be raised in nurturing and loving families. All survivors of childhood violence deserve compassion and access to mental health services.

Take Action Now! #FreeAdam

To support Adam and the estimated 18,000 Korean American adoptees that do not have U.S. Citizenship, the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), Korean American Coalition (KAC), and several Korean American Adoptee Groups across the US, launched an Adoptee Rights Campaign.

Take Action Now: You can support Adam by taking any or all of these four actions:

  1. Sign a petition in support of Adam being immediately released from detention and removed from deportation proceedings
  2. Write a letter to the immigration judge at the Tacoma Detention Center urging for Adam's immediate release. Please send letters to adopteedefense@gmail.com. These letters will be delivered by Adam's attorney. If you know Adam personally, please indicate that on your letter. Talking points for your letter can be foundHERE.
  3. If you are a member of an organization, ask your organization to write a letter to the immigration Judge Odell at Tacoma Detention Center urging Adam's immediate release. Please send letters to adopteedefense@gmail.com. Talking points for your letter can be found HERE.
  4. Donate to the Adoptee Defense Fund to cover the legal and counseling fees for Adam and adoptees similarly situated.

For more information, please contact adopteedefense@gmail.com.

You For Me For You, by Mia Chung

This was an incredibly well-rounded and honest play. Not only did the actors embody such raw emotion but they also conveyed stoic vulnerability amidst waning humanitarianism and fearful capitalism. To be a North Korean refugee is to be a person torn in half, loyal to your family while being loyal to survival. Showing both sides of the harrowing and terrifying prospects of escaping North Korea (not always surviving without being caught) was very sobering to witness, as an adoptee. There are similar emotions to be had if you were separated from your family, without a choice, as well as, intentionally, post-war. With poignancy, humor, grief and relief, these lead actors were tasked with, creatively, offering a view into the minds and bodies of people traversing an inhumane dictatorship in the hopes of, finally, obtaining freedom. Bordering on the supernatural and surreal, at times, each scene compliments the one before it and prepares the viewer for scenes after. It was a unique and powerful experience to watch this play with an audience, mainly, made up of Korean Nationals, Korean-Americans, Korean adoptees, Chinese-Americans, Japanese Nationals, Japanese-Americans, Korean War Veterans, former Korean-American Congresspeople, refugees and Pacific Islanders. The intensity of lived experiences and level of empathy in the room added to the performance's impact. Two hours wasn't nearly enough time to convey how these experiences shape entire generations, while giving respect to those who perished across the DMZ, but this play manages to get very close to that goal.

The cast is from all over the country and world and I am grateful for their arrival in Portland. Thanks to the KAC Oregon, people are able to see this play as a result of a generous grant. I highly recommend seeing it while it shows through the end of February!

~ Ty, KAC-OR Board Treasurer

For show times and to purchase tickets, visit Portland Playhouse

Susan Hyon, playing Minhee, the older sister left in North Korea

Susan Hyon, playing Minhee, the older sister left in North Korea



Learning to network...

Korean American Healthcare Professional Alliance (KAPHA) and KAC Oregon hosted a professional networking and mentoring session today at PSU.  24 students from PSU, PCC, and Lewis and Clark College attended event and met with professionals from a variety of fields.  In case you missed this event, we will continue to hold a similar mentoring event once or twice a year, so keep an eye out for upcoming events on our website.

Professional mentors with college and graduate students

Professional mentors with college and graduate students


Korean American Day - January 13, 2016

Anna Choe and Don Lee, our KAC Board Members, researched, wrote, and put together this wonderful information sheet on Korean American Day which is coming up this Wednesday, January 13, 2016.  This year, we are celebrating Korean American Day tonight, January 9, 2016 at 5 PM at Portland Central Church with Korean Society of Oregon and hope you will join us.

KAC Oregon will be organizing Korean American Day celebration on January 13, 2017 with Korean Society of Oregon.  If you are interested in getting on the planning committee, please contact us.

Happy New Year! Have you had your tteokguk yet?

Everyone in Korea and many Koreans living all over the world eat tteokguk, 떡국, on New Year's Day because it is believed to bring you good luck for the year.  Also, in Korea, you can't become one year older until you have a bowl of tteokguk.  A common greeting around New Year's Day for Koreans is "Have you eaten tteokguk yet?"  So, have you had your tteokguk yet?

If you are not familiar with theokguk, it is a hot beef broth soup with thinly sliced rice cake (tteok) garnished with marinated beef, thinly sliced fried egg, and dried seaweed (gim).  People also frequently add dumplings (mandu) or scallions (pa).  It is definitely a comfort food perfect for a cold, winter day.

 

Oregonian Article on "What does it mean to be Asian?"

For decades, it didn't matter if a person were Samoan, Chinese or Korean. In data, they appeared the same: Asian and Pacific Islander.

That lump reporting masked a diversity of struggles and successes, says Joseph Santos-Lyons, the executive director of Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon. The United States is now home to 23 distinct Asian American and 19 Native Hawaiian and Pacific Island groups.

"Even though, politically, we have forged alliances, there's such a diversity of experiences and community needs," Santos-Lyons said. "We don't share a language. We don't share a lot of the same understanding of ourselves."

Santos-Lyons and other local Asian activists say a new report will change that. "Community of Contrasts," produced by the national group Asian Americans Advancing Justice, shows that Oregon's 251,000 Asian and Pacific Islander residents come from 29 different groups and experience vastly different levels of education, prosperity and English proficiency.

While some, including Japanese and Indian residents, may far outperform white Americans in attaining bachelor's degrees and high-paying jobs, Vietnamese and Laotians continue to struggle.

For Jenny Kim, president of the Oregon chapter of Korean American Coalition, the report revealed surprises about the community she thought she knew well: A third of Oregon's 20,000 Korean residents qualify as low-income according to the report.

"It is needed work," Kim said. "There are a lot of challenges, despite the model minority myth, a lot of Asians are still struggling to own homes, to be insured, to have access to full-time employment."

The report sheds unprecedented light on Oregon's Polynesian and Micronesian communities, islanders whose slight numbers often carry a large margin of error on Census reports. A Portland group that tried to count Tongans for a 2014 Coalition for Communities of Color's 2013 report did so by examining local church rosters and civic organization membership lists.

APANO plans to use the report to build political power for those groups, Santos-Lyons said. Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are the second-fastest minority group, behind Latinos. Asian Americans are the third-fastest growing. Pointing lawmakers to specific problems and solutions can

"A fast-growing, poor community is a challenge and creates a need for focus and targeted intervention," Santos-Lyons said.

And yet, for Kim, the report also shows how important it is for the different ethnic groups to band together. Alone, the groups makes up only a small percent of Oregon's population. Even the Chinese, Oregon's largest Asian group, has only 40,000 members.

Working together will take a concentrated effort, she said. No matter how the world lumps them together, Asian and Pacific Islander groups remain fiercely individual.

"I might be mistaken for Chinese and Japanese, but the fact that I don't speak Chinese or know their culture makes it difficult for me to connect with Chinese people," Kim said. "But I believe very strongly that we do need to work together. Alone, we don't make enough of an impact as a political influence in any district or even state level. We need to collaborate."

 

Some takeaways:

 

  • Oregon has the country's second largest population of Chuukese, with 537 people from the Micronesian island Oceania.
  • Nearly half of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders are low-income and nearly a quarter live in poverty. About one-fifth of Native Hawaiians live in poverty statewide.
  • The number of Bangladeshis in Oregon increased by 198 percent, to 378 residents, between 2000 and 2010. The number of Fijians grew up 108 percent, to 888 residents, in that time.
  • More than half of Oregon's Japanese residents over the age of 25 have a bachelor's degree, while only 16 percent of Laotian adults over 25 do.
  • Their rate of prosperity vary, too. Indians, for instance, have low rates of poverty, 7 percent compared to 12 percent for white residents. But more Vietnamese residents qualify as low-income, 35 percent compared to 29 percent of white residents.
  • While Vietnamese Americans own more than 3,000 businesses and Chinese Americans own more than 2,500 businesses in Oregon, their populations still report high rates of unemployment. From 2007 to 2013, the number of unemployed Asian Americans increased 83 percent in Oregon, a rate higher than any racial group.


-- Casey Parks

503-221-8271

cparks@oregonian.com; @caseyparks

Source

Portland Korean Food Festival


 

For many people, the gateway to a culture is through their cuisine. With this in mind, KAC Oregon started the Portland Korean Food Festival in 2015 to showcase our dynamic and flavorful cuisine and the interesting and fun ways it is being integrated by our local chefs into their own creations.

The Portland Korean Food Festival, or Mukja!, was the first festival of its kind in the United States. Last year, we had an impressive roster of participants including John Gorham of Toro Bravo, Brandon Kirksey of Girin, Johanna Wares of smallwares, Kyo Koo formerly of Bluehour, Sunny Jin of Bamboo Sushi, Stray Dogs, and Han Hwang of Kim Jong Grillin’. This year, we are planning to continue this event with more participating chefs, with the hope of recruiting some nationally known chefs as well.

Voter Registeration


Did you know that less than 40% of Korean Americans who are eligible to vote are currently registered as a voter in State of Oregon? And, out of the ~40% registered voters, only half of them actually vote?

In order to raise our visibility and influence in our local communities and in the US, KAC OR and other KAC chapters around the country are helping people to register to vote.

Why should you vote? Here are just a few reasons.

  1. It’s your money. The commissioners, mayors, state officials and the Congress and President will decide how they much of our wealth (taxes you pay) to invest in public services and how to share the tax burden.
  2. It’s your children’s education. The public education policy and budgets are set by people you elect. Make sure to vote to have your children and grandchildren well prepared for the future.
  3. It’s your job. Minimum wage, health insurance through your employer, job and pension security and workplace safety are all determined and influenced by the people you vote for and elect.
  4. It’s your health. Actions by the state and federal government relating to Medicare, Medicaid and private insurances will determine your access to health care.
  5. It’s your neighborhood. Do you care about crime prevention, law enforcement, affordable homes, traffic patterns and where the closest parks are? You can all make a difference by electing officials who will represent you and your interests.

To register to vote in the State of Oregon, click here.

You must be 18 years or older, and a U.S. citizen to vote.