Over 200 people crowded into the Korean Education Center auditorium in Los Angeles on February 8th to celebrate the Korean Resource Center’s 20th Anniversary.Remarks were made by the outgoing Founding Chair of the Board Jimmy Choi and by Kim Man Pyung the incoming Chair.The celebration was marked by a performance by the Korean cultural troupe, HanNuRi, and a Gosa ceremony, as well as songs and poetry. Speeches were made by founding activists Giwan Hong and Yoon Han Bong, who traveled from Korea for the event.Both recalled the early days of hardship and humor, back in the early 80s when KRC was first founded.They told of the birth of an organization propelled by both domestic concerns as well as the movement for civil rights, democracy and the desire for peace in South Korea.
The founding Korean American activists came together to protest the hate crime murder of Chinese American Vincent Chin in 1982 and the lack of regard for his life by the American criminal court system.Activists also called for peace on the Korean peninsula and democracy in South Korea, then controlled by a military dictatorship.The culminating event in 1980 was the May 18th Kwangju People’s Democratic Uprising.During the 1980s the volunteer-based KRC realized the burgeoning need for social services for the growing and diversifying Korean-American population, as well as advocacy for greater political and civic engagement by our community.
Grandmother Lee Joo Young for whom the Lee Ju Young & Chung Man Soo scholarship is named was honored in a speech by staff member Yoon Myung Ju, who spoke of being inspired by Grandmother Lee’s life of dedication to her community.Even now at her advanced age of 92, to this day Grandmother Lee collects cans to donate for an annual scholarship to help a young person from the community to attend college.
After the reflections on KRC’s history of 20 years, newly elected board chair Kim Man Pyun spoke of his vision for KRC’s future of furthering community voice and empowerment, strengthening our community education programs and the Saturday Roots school program for elementary school children.