On March 20th, 2012, the MinKwon Center, along with other members of the Asian American Community Coalition on Redistricting and Democracy (ACCORD), and other civil rights organizations such as the Center for Law and Social Justice and La Fuente, held a press conference at City Hall to demand fair redistricting process for New York City Council. The groups demanded that the Redistricting Commission include individuals who can represent the City's diverse communities, and emphasized the importance of keeping the redistricting process transparent and protecting the political voice of minority communities. MinKwon’s Civic Participation Coordinator James Hong said,“ACCORD is continuing its campaign to ensure that district lines do not disadvantage Asian American voters in New York, and that we have a voice in the shaping of our democracy.”
Korea Daily: http://www.koreadaily.com/news/read.asp?art_id=1379084
On March 20th, 2012, the New York State DREAM Coalition and the members of the New York City Council came together to demand passage of the NYS DREAM legislation at a press conference on the City Hall steps. The MinKwon Center, the New York Immigration Coalition, and other Coalition members were joined by Councilmembers such as Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), Chair of Immigration Committee Daniel Dromm (D-Queens), Margaret Chin (D-Manhattan), Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn), and Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan). MinKwon’s Executive Director Steve Choi, who led a chant “DREAM Act now!” said "the Korean American, Asian American and immigrant communities we work with demand that New York's elected officials pass DREAM legislation." Mr. Choi applauded the City Council for standing up on this critical issue, and called on state elected officials and the Governor to include DREAM in the state budget and make New York youth's dreams a reality.
MinKwon’s Advocacy and Organizing Associate Christina Chang testified at the hearing saying that most undocumented students are children of low-income families who desperately need tuition assistance to obtain highereducation. She urged the NYC Council to pass resolutions that can influence the decision of the State Legislature. After the public hearing, the NYC Council approved a resolution to urge the passage of the NYS DREAM legislation (Res. 803) and to request the formation of the NYS DREAM Fund Committee (Res. 1219).
Korean New York Daily: www.newyorkilbo.com/sub_read.html?uid=10966§ion=sc8§ion2=%B9%25
On March 18th, 2012, marked by the MinKwon Center as a “Day of Action,” we conducted petition and fund-raising drives for two of our major campaigns: to demand passage of the New York State DREAM bills, and to stop the deportation of Ms. Hwang, an immigrant mother. In one afternoon, we successfully collected over 1,000 petitions and $800 towards Ms. Hwang’s bail, for a total of nearly 2,000 petitions and $5,000 raised. The MinKwon Center will continue our efforts to collect petitions and raise funds to prevent Ms. Hwang from being separated from her family. To sign the petition and donate, please click HERE. For the DREAM bills campaign, we also now have over 2,000 petitions signed.
Korea Times: http://ny.koreatimes.com/article/718346
On March 14th, 2012, the MinKwon Center brought 100 people to join this year’s Immigrants’ Day of Action in Albany, with the New York Immigration Coalition. MinKwon’s group consisted of community members, the members of Won Kwang Community Service Center, Korean Community Services, YWCA of Queens, and Korean Americans for Political Advancement. A record-breaking number of 1,300 immigrant rights activists gathered in Albany. MinKwon’s Board President S. J. Jung spoke at the rally about the need to expand and protect services for immigrant communities and New York State as a whole, and that the DREAM bills are a true investment for our future. MinKwon’s Executive Director Steve Choi, staff and community members then met with State Senators Toby Stavisky, Joseph Addabbo, and Michael Gianaris, and State Assemblymembers David Weprin, Margaret Markey, and Grace Meng. During the visits, Minkwon requested their support to pass the New York State DREAM bills, end state/local law enforcement’s participation in immigration enforcement, and to increase access to social services for immigrant communities. On this day, State Senator Stavisky joined a number of other state legislators who support the DREAM bills by signing the New York State DREAM Coalition pledge.
Korea Daily: http://www.koreadaily.com/news/read.asp?art_id=1376072
On March 11th, 2012, the MinKwon Center conducted petition drives at The Korean Church of Queens for two of MinKwon’s current campaigns: to stop the deportation of Ms. Hwang, a Korean American immigrant mother, and to support the passage of New York State DREAM legislation. MinKwon staff and volunteers gathered approximately 500 signatures on this day. MinKwon Center marked the upcoming Sunday, March 18th as the ‘Day of Action’ to engage in extensive petition drives at four locations at churches and markets in New York and New Jersey.
Korean New York Daily: http://www.newyorkilbo.com/sub_read.html?uid=10818§ion=sc8§ion2=%BB%E7%C8%B8%BA%B9%C1%F6
On March 8th and 9th, 2012, MinKwon’s Jae Sup Song and Christina Chang joined thousands of civil rights activists, community members, and both civil rights and immigrant rights organizations from across the country to march from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama. Last year, Alabama passed H.B. 56, an anti-immigrant law that allowed local law enforcement to participate in immigration enforcement and public school teachers to question their students’ immigration status. The march was organized by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) to both re-trace a historic part of America’s civil rights movement, and to shed light on present-day issues such as voting rights, workers’ rights, and immigrant rights. In front of the Alabama State Capitol, Mr. Song and Ms. Chang, along with the leaders of other immigrant organizations, delivered the voice of the Korean American community.
On March 8th, 2012, MinKwon’s Executive Director Steve Choi and “Dare to DREAM” campaign coordinator Emily Park led a presentation on New York State DREAM legislation for the Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s Office Immigrant Rights Task Force. They were joined by the New York State Youth Leadership Council and Make the Road New York. About 50 representatives from various community groups, government agencies, and interested community members attended the presentation.
On March 8th, 2012, MinKwon’s “Dare to DREAM” campaign coordinator Emily Park and other MinKwon staff met with State Senator Tony Avella. Senator Avella, who has shown strong support for the DREAM Act as well as the DREAM Fund, signed the New York State DREAM Coalition pledge and commended the MinKwon Center for its work for the immigrant community. So far, MinKwon has also gathered pledges from NYS Assemblymembers Grace Meng, Edward Braunstein, and Rory Lancman.
On March 7th, 2012, New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) held a press conference at the NYIC office to unveil top ten state budget and policy priorities for 2012 as we gear towards March 14th Immigrants’ Day of Action in Albany. The priority list includes demanding passage of New York State DREAM legislation, support for adult English classes, and ending state/local law enforcement’s participation in immigration enforcement. MinKwon’s President S.J. Jung participated on behalf of the MinKwon Center and noted that it is critical to protect immigrant services and programs especially during the economic recession. He emphasized that providing support for the low-income and immigrant communities will, in turn, benefit the State’s economy. The MinKwon Center is mobilizing 100 community members and arranging transportation to go to Albany and participate in the Immigrants’ Day of Action on March 14th. If you would like to join us, please call us at (718) 460-5600.
Korean New York Daily: http://www.newyorkilbo.com/sub_read.html?uid=10756§ion=sc23§ion2=%B9%CC%B1%B9%C0%AF%C7%D0%C0%CC%B9%CE
Korea Times: http://ny.koreatimes.com/article/716358
On March 1st, 2012, the MinKwon Center announced the launch of a new, ambitious “Vote 2012: Your Voice, Your Vote” Campaign, a comprehensive set of voter engagement efforts designed to empower community voters for the 2012 elections. The campaign would include a new voter registration drive aiming to register 5,000 new immigrant voters; extensive voter education including a bilingual Korean-English voter guide, print materials and a summer public candidate forum; and a major voter mobilization drive through direct contact and phone banking.
New York Ilbo: http://www.newyorkilbo.com/sub_read.html?uid=10640§ion=sc1§ion2=%C1%A4%C4%A1%C7%E0%C1%A4