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ANNUAL REPORT


LOCAL ACTION, NATIONAL IMPACT N LOCAL ACTION, Korean American Grassroots Conference is the largest network of Korean American voters across the nation.


8

cities in which regional seminars were held

24

states represented in all KAGC programs in 2017

97

congressional districts represented in the 2017 national conference


To have 600 of you raising your voices, letting your views be known, is such a great step forward. I am particularly proud that you are doing this. As Chair of Asian Pacific American Caucus, I know only too well how much need we have to make sure that our voices are represented. Rep. Judy Chu (D, CA-27) Guest of Honor, 2017 KAGC


The largest nation-wide network of Korean American voters, the Korean American Grassroots Conference is committed to uplifting our community through active civic and electoral participation from the grassroots level. With over 30 community partner organizations across the nation, each KAGC national conference draws over 600 attendees from 24 states who lead civic engagement initiatives in local communities and deliver the critical issues of our community to the policymakers on the local, state, and federal level. Since 2014, the Conference has hosted its national conference for three days every summer – joined by 28 members of Congress in both chambers, across the aisle, who celebrated with their constituents the Korean American community’s active civic engagement and role as the bridge between Korea and the United States. In between the national conferences, KAGC helps its partner organizations develop and implement civic education and voter registration programs in each local community. In addition, KAGC offers undergraduate students opportunities for civic leadership development. Through its college program KAGC U, over 800 students from 102 universities have participated in voter registration drives, civic education seminars, and various community action efforts both on and off the campus.


2017 YEAR IN REVIEW Advocacy, Education, Organization – from the grassroots to the Capitol

RAISING AWARENESS On the Opening Day of the 115th U.S. Congress, we led a delegation of representatives to deliver policy priorities of the Korean American community. As part of the 2017 KAGC National Conference, on July 25th, 600 community members met with their members of Congress to discuss the policy priorities.

COMMUNITY EDUCATION We hosted regional seminars in 8 cities with a prominent Korean American population to assist the local community leaders to develop and implement civic education and voter registration initiatives. We hosted two conferences for college students to help develop civic leadership capacities.

CONGRESSIONAL FELLOWSHIP Through our 2017 Congressional Fellowship, 3 undergraduate students served 3 congressional offices, in both chambers and parties, on issues related to Korea and the Korean American community.

ON THE CAMPUS

2017 KAGC National Conference attendees from Rhode Island discuss Korean American policy priorities with U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI).

With the educaton and assistance of KAGC, students at 10 universities hosted voter registraton drive on the campus. In 2017 we hosted education seminars on the legislative process, civil rights of the Asian American community, and history of the Korean American community.

NATIONAL CONFERENCE The 2017 KAGC National Conference drew over 600 attendees from 97 Congressional Districts across 24 states. 18 members of Congress, from both sides of the aisle, joined the 2017 KAGC Gala to celebrate the Korean American community’s active civic engagement and U.S.-Korea alliance.

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Through KAGC U, students hosted voter registration drives throughout 2017.


OPENING DAY OF THE 115th U.S. Congress Educating policy makers on the critical issues of our community On January 3rd, 2017, the Opening Day of the 115th U.S. Congress, KAGC led a delegation of community representatives to deliver the policy priorites of the Korean American community. During this visit, the delegation met with over 20 members of Congress in the Senate and the House of Representatives, on both sides of the aisle. KAGC delivered the policy priorities outlining the critical issues of the community in each Congress, but also the latest development of the Korean American community in each district and state. Throughout the year, KAGC raises awareness of these issues among members of Congress through regular meetings, letter writing campaigns from community members, and community roundtables. The policy priorities for the 115th Congress encompasses largely four categories: immigration, economy, U.S.-Korea relations, and civil rights.

KAGC delivered policy priorities to U.S. Representative Peter Roskam (R, IL-6) on the Opening Day of the 115th Congress.

IMMIGRATION Comprehensive Immigration Reform Protection for undocumented immigrant youth

ECONOMY Assistance for small businesses

U.S.-KOREA RELATIONS Peace and stability on the Korean peninsula Special visa for higly skilled Korean nationals

CIVIL & HUMAN RIGHTS Ensuring voting rights of all Americans KAGC delivered policy priorities to U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) on the Opening Day of the 115th Congress.

Prevention of hate-based harrassment & violence “Comfort Women� issues

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KAGC REGIONAL SEMINARS Empowering local communities and Building a nation-wide network

Following the inaugural national conference in 2014, KAGC began hosting regional seminars with the local community partner organizations across the United States. Through the regional seminars, we are able to help our community partners further develop and implement voter registration and civic engagement initiatives that fit the needs of the local community. More importantly, however, the regional seminars serve as a platform to raise awareness of our mission of uplifting the Korean American community across the country through active participation on the grassroots level. In 2017, in collaboration with our community partner organizations, we hosted a total of 8 regional seminars in 6 states, including New York, Illinois, Texas, California, Washington, and Virginia.

Local community leaders from 12 metropolitan areas across 9 states met in New York City to discuss the policy priorities of 2017 and to plan regional seminars throughout the country. In 2017, a total of 8 regional seminars were hosted in 6 states.

Such collaboration this year led to an increase in geographic diversity among the attendees of the 2017 national conference.

Region of Origin among 2017 National Conference Attendees West 31.0%

East 31.9% On April 29 and 30, 2017, the Korean Society of Dallas hosted a KAGC regional seminar for the Dallas, Fort Worth, and surrounding areas. The first seminar on civic engagement in the region helped raise awareness is the significant Korean American population in northern Texas.

Midwest 22.2%

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South 14.9%


NEW YORK, NY Leadership Summit & NYC Regional February 17 & 18, 2017

CHICAGO, IL Midwest Regional April 1 & 2, 2017 The KAGC local seminar in Orange County, CA focused on civic participation on the grassroots level. With several Korean American public servants in attendance, the seminar drew community members in all age groups, from teens through senior citizens.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH, TX Northern Texas Regional April 29 & 30, 2017

ORANGE COUNTY, CA Orange County Regional May 12, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA Los Angeles Regional May 13, 2017

SEATTLE, WA Pacific Northwest Regional May 20, 2017 On April 1 and 2, KA VOICE hosted a regional KAGC seminar for the midwest, which drew over 100 attendees from the Chicago metropolitan area, Missouri, and Minnesota. Through this event, KAGC was able to reach out to the Korean American communities in states previously not engaged.

FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA D.C. Metropolitan Regional June 10 & 11, 2017

HOUSTON, TX South Central Regional June 15 & 16, 2017

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KAGC NATIONAL CONFERENCE Empowering local communities and building a nation-wide network

The 2017 Korean American Grassroots Conference took place from July 23 through July 25, 2017 in Washington, D.C. With over 600 attendees representing 97 congressional districts across 24 states, this year’s national conference was the largest yet since its launch in 2014. Over the three days, the attendees explored the Korean American identity through history education, discussed the community’s policy priorities in relation to current events, and delivered these issues to their respective members of Congress. On July 25, Action Day of the 2017 KAGC, community members engaged with over 200 congressional offices in both chambers and directly met with 30 members. In the evening of Action Day was the 2017 KAGC Gala, where 18 members of Congress from both sides of the asile joined their constituents in celebration of the Korean American community’s active civic engagement and in support of a robust partnership between our motherland and homeland. All of the distinguished members of Congress in attendance shared their legislative accomplishments over the years and declared their vision for a more vocal Korean American community and for a stronger U.S.-Korea alliance.

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18

members of U.S. Congress who joined the 2017 KAGC

24

states represented in all KAGC programs in 2017

97

congressional districts represented in the 2017 national conference

“It is crucial when those of us in the Congress seek those who have expertise on the issues that are being discussed, the Korean peninsula, we look toward the importance of the Korean American community.” - Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D, TX-18)

2017 KAGC GUESTS OF HONOR

Left to Right: Brendan F. Boyle (D, PA-13), Judy Chu (D, CA-27), Lou Correa (D, CA-46), Mike Coffman (R, CO-6), Bill Foster (D, IL-11), Jimmy Gomez (D, CA-34), Sheila Jackson Lee (D, TX-18), Ro Khanna (D, CA-17), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D, IL-8), Brenda Lawrence (D, MI-14), Grace Meng (D, NY-6), Ted Poe (R, TX-2), Ed Royce (R, CA-39), Jan Schakowsky (D, IL-9), Brad Schneider (D, IL-10), Mark Takano (D, CA-41). Rob Woodall (R, GA-7), Ted Yoho (R, FL-3)

Ambassador Ju Chul-Ki, President of Overseas Koreans Foundation Ambassador Ahn Ho-Young, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the United States Assembly Member Kim Kyunghyup, Vice Chair of the Foreign Affairs and Reunification Committee, the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea

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President Trump’s rhetoric on ‘Make America First’ — I want you to understand: we cannot do that alone. It is with the Korean American community, the bridge to Korea, that we row together. And as you know, if you are in a row boat and you row by yourself on one side, you go round in a circle. The only way we can make this country great is if we help our partners become great, too. That is what you can count on from this administration, from this Congress, and you can count on our support. Rep. Ted Yoho (R, FL-3) Chairman, House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Guest of Honor, 2017 KAGC


KAGC U

KAGC U is the college program of the Korean American Grassroots Conference. Since its launch in 2016, over 800 students from 102 universities have participated in voter registration drives, civic education seminars, and various community action efforts both on and off the campus. The largest conference of Korean American students, KAGC U aims to help students define their own Korean American identity, develop their civic leadership, guide them towards a greater sense of community ownership, and utlimately take initiatives for a meaningful change through civic means both on and off the campus. To realize this mission, in the beginning of each year student leaders are selected for an intensive training to develop civic leadership capacity and action plans for their student organizations. Throughout the year, students in the KAGC U network host civic education seminars and voter registration drives on the campus. Starting in 2017, KAGC also offers undergraduate students an opportunity to serve members of U.S. Congress through the KAGC Congressional Fellowship program— building a pipeline for the next generation of Korean American public servants and providing proper guidance for lawmakers, both current and aspiring.


KAGC U LEADERSHIP SUMMIT Empowering student leaders with means for civic leadership The second in its kind, the KAGC U Leadership Summit in 2017 took place on January 11 through January 13 in New York City. The 51 student leaders, selected through a rigorous application process, explored their Korean American identity through history education and met with Korean American role models like Roy Cho (2014 candidate for U.S. Congress, VP of Distribution at AMC Networks) and Ron Kim (Member of the New York State General Assembly).

51

students who attended the 2017 KAGC U Leadership Summit

31

universities represented at the 2017 KAGC U Leadership Summit

17

states represented at the 2017 KAGC U Leadership Summit

With education by KAGC staff members and by Professors Kornel Chang (Rutgers University-Newark) and Sonia Jarvis (CUNY Baruch), student leaders made connections between public policy and culture and developed programming ideas for action on the campus.

KAGC U WEST COAST Building upon the success of the Leadership Summit, KAGC hosted a second conference specifically for student leaders in the West Coast on April 1 and April 2, 2017 in Seattle, WA. 56 student leaders representing 25 universities were selectected through an application process.

56

students who attended the 2017 KAGC U West Coast

10

25

universities represented at the 2017 KAGC U West Coast

5

states represented at the 2017 KAGC U West Coast

Similar to the leadership summit, this event focused on education on history and civics in order to help students develop action plans to bring back to the campus–voter registration drive, in particular. The studetns were joined by Hyeok Kim, Deputy Mayor of Seattle, who shared her personal and professional experience as a Korean American in public service.


CONGRESSIONAL FELLOWSHIP Paving the way for the next generation of Korean American public servants In 2017, KAGC launched its Congressional Fellowship program. The inaugural class of KAGC Congressional Fellows served three congressional offices in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, from both sides of the aisle, for the summer 2017. Through their participation, the Fellows had the rare opportunity to not only experience the policy making process in the federal legislature first-hand, but also advise the offices on issues related to Korea and the Korean American community as a representative of our community. The Congressional Fellowship program is one of the several ways KAGC paves the way for the next generation of Korean Americans to enter public service.

2017 CONGRESSIONAL FELLOW

2017 KAGC Congressional Fellow Daniel Pak served in the office of Representative Bill Pascrell (D, NJ-9).

Jessica Shin Junior, Public Policy New York University Office of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ)

Even though I was interested in public service, I was intimidated by elected officials at first. From my congressional

Daniel Pak Freshman, Political Science & Economics University of Rochester Office of U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell (D, NJ-9)

experience, I learned to express my voice to decision makers with confidence. At the office of Congressman Pascrell, when issues that relate to Korea or the Korean American community came up, they sought my opinion first and foremost, even if I was the

Ye Bin Kwon Sophomore, Political Science

youngest on the team. It made me feel so proud and humbled to actually represent and help my community.

New York University Office of U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R, FL-27)

Daniel Pak Freshman, University of Rochester

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KAGC U NATIONAL CONFERENCE Bringing together student leaders for a civic change: in the largest scale In parallel to the 2017 KAGC National Conference, KAGC U ran a separate program for student attendees selected through an application process. Compared to the regular program, education material was tailored to the perspective of college students. On the first day, students learned the history of the Korean American community, as well as the history of American immigration policy and its impact of the immigrant communities taught by Professor Kornel Chang (Rutgers University-Newark). In the evening, students reviewed the policy priorities and prepared for Action Day in small groups mixed with attendess of all age groups. In Action Day meetings, many students passionately made presentations of the policy priorities—and showed intergenerational collaboration, often assisting elderly attendees with translation. The 200 students who attended the 2017 KAGC U National Conference also had the opportunity to meet with civic leaders and role models like Roy Cho (2014 candidate for U.S. Congress, VP of Distribution at AMC Networks), Andy Kim (former NSC advisor), Kyung Yoon (Broadcast Reporter, Executive Director of Korean American Community Foundation), and Seung Min Kim (Assistant Editor & Congressional Correspondent at POLITICO).

200

students who joined the 2017 KAGC U National Conference

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45

universities represented in the 2017 KAGC U National Conference

20

states represented in the 2017 KAGC U National Conference


VOTER REGISTRATION Helping students engage peers in civic participation At the core of the mission of KAGC is advocating for and exercising Korean Americans’ voting rights. In 2017, 10 student organizations in 8 states trained for hosting successful voter registration drives through KAGC U. All together, the students assisted nearly 700 peers to register to vote and update their address on the campus throughout the year. As the national partner of the 2017 National Voter Registration Day, KAGC also engaged the students in voter registration efforts through its annual Voter Registration Challenge, where the top entry assisted over 150 first-time student voters within a span of two weeks.

Students at Brown University hosted voter registration drives as part of the 2017 National Voter Registration Day.

Students at New York University ran a voter registration booth at its annual SpringFest in March, 2017.

Students at University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign ran a voter registration booth for 2 weeks for the 2017 KAGC U Voter Registration Challenge.

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I admire the genuine passion powering KAGC. It’s one of the few experiences I have had where I was able to connect with Korean Americans from diverse regions and backgrounds. It is relieving and inspiring to see an organization aim to and then successfully bring a community of Korean Americans for the same goal. Josephine Kim Junior, Wellesley College


EDUCATION ON THE CAMPUS Guiding students towards community ownership through direct education

While the education efforts focused on the history of the Korean American community and introduction on KAGC in 2016, this year’s on-campus education sought to help students make connections between public policy, civic participation, and daily life in ways they can personally relate to.

DEATH OF VINCENT CHIN The year 2017 saw a rapid uptick in violence rooted in racial bias and prejudice. Given the prevalence of such incidents and changing national dialogue, we screened the documentary film “Vincent Who?” which illustrates the civil rights movement of the Asian American Pacific Islander community, following the death of Vincent Chin in 1982. Screening took place at such schools as Princeton University and New York University, where various student organizations welcomed the material. Students easily drew the parallel between current events and the circumstances surrounding the death of Vincent Chin—including the lack of our community’s visibility, representation, and active civic engagement.

KAGC staff explains the U.S. legislative process with examples of past bills that concerned Korea and the Korean American community.

LEGISLATIVE PROCESS & GRASSROOTS ACTION Even with formal courses in U.S. government, the legislative process in Congress can be a complicated topic to many students. In order to help understanding of public policy on the federal level, KAGC hosted a workshop on how a bill becomes a law in relation to means and strategies of grassroots action.

KAGC staff facilitated a group discussion with students at New York University after screening the documentary film “Vincent Who?”

With examples of past bills introduced in Congress in the past that concerned Korea and the Korean American community, students learned how they can express their voice on critical issues through direct meetings, letter writing campaigns, and other means.

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CIVIC EDUCATION VOTER REGISTRATION & MOBILIZATION GRASSROOTS COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION OUR COMMUNITY’S VOICE

601 Pennsylvania Ave NW Suite 900 Washington, D.C. 20004

INFO@KAGC.US (202) 790-4835 https://KAGC.us

Profile for Korean American Grassroots Conference

2017 KAGC Annual Report  

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