Summary of Presentations from the 2017 KAC National Convention: BUILD


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.


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.


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.

2017 KAC National Sponsors 2.jpg
2017 KAC National Sponsors 3.jpg

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.


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

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 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 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