On March 10th, MinKwon Center held a postcard drive pushing for immigration reform at the Presbyterian Church of New Jersey in Palisades Park, New Jersey. The postcards will be sent to the “Gang of 8” member Senator Robert Menendez, urging legislators to ensure family unity, guarantee a pathway to citizenship, and refrain from excessive enforcement in consideration of immigration reform. MinKwon had previously coordinated the sending of 7,000 postcards to Senator Charles Schumer as well.
On March 6th, the 13% and Growing Coalition of APA groups in New York co-led by the MinKwon Center held a kick-off press conference in front of the City Hall. At the press conference, Coalition members and as well as Councilmember Daniel Dromm, were present. The Coalition demanded fairness in the city budget for the Asian American community, which comprises nearly 14% of the total population. Christina Chang, MinKwon Advocacy Associate, stated, “The Asian American community is the fastest growing group in New York City, and the City should increase its budget to serve the low-income Asian American communities.”
Korea Times (in Korean): http://ny.koreatimes.com/article/781950
On February 25th, MinKwon Center held a forum on immigration reform for various leaders in the Korean community, including the Korean American Association of Greater New York. At the meeting, MinKwon’s President S.J. Jung emphasized the importance of immigration reform and the current political landscape and asked for the leaders' cooperation. The leaders especially expressed interest in the postcard campaign addressed to Senator Charles Schumer, as well as the Washington, D.C. rally on April 10th. President S.J. Jung stated, "The American public agrees on the importance of immigration reform, and it is time now to focus on convincing those who oppose it otherwise."
Read More: Korea Daily (In Korean)
On February 27th, MinKwon Center, along with 75 other members of the New York Immigrant Coalition, came together at the state capitol in Albany to voice the immigrant community’s concerns on the state budget and legislation. The day started with a round-table discussion attended by about 150 people from the member organizations, who presented the top 10 legislative priorities relating to the immigrant community. Member organizations then visited the offices of the legislators to express issues of the community. MinKwon Center’s Social Services Director Kathy Chae and DREAMers from KORE participated, and visited State Senator Kenneth LaValle, chair of the Higher Education Committee, Senator John Flanagan, and Assemblyman Karim Camara and urged for the passage of the New York State DREAM Act. The DREAMers were recognized in the floor of the General Assembly, and emphasized the need for speedy passage of the New York State DREAM Act.
On February 28th, MinKwon Center and other APA organizations held a press conference at the Asian American / Asian Research Institute (AAARI). Participating groups committed to joining the Washington D.C. mobilization on April 10th and a postcard campaign for immigration reform. On March 28th, APA organizations will also hold a joint Town Hall Forum to voice the Asian American community's call for immigration reform. Christina Chang, MinKwon's Advocacy and Organizing Associate stated, "Immigration reform is a key issue for Asian Americans, so we need to participate actively to voice our concerns."
On February 19th, the MinKwon Center, MFY Legal Services, and the Queens Volunteer Lawyers Project (QVLP) held a joint workshop on foreclosure prevention. With Korean homeowners present, the workshop touched upon issues like the Federal credit refinancing program, scam prevention, and difficulties in getting loans. The MinKwon Center and its partners plan to use this workshop as a starting point to expand foreclosure prevention services to homeowners at risk.
Read More: Korean New York Daily (In Korean)
The Queens Housing Coalition, of which MinKwon Center is a member, has initiated a “Week of Action” to ensure that affordable housing for low-income residents is a part of the Willets Point development plan. From the 17th, QHC members began gathering petition letters addressed to Mayor Bloomberg. On the 17th and the 21st, members of MinKwon's Tenants' Meeting gathered petition signatures at a Korean church and Assi Plaza respectively.
On February 12th, the Higher Education Committee of New York State Assembly passed the New York State DREAM Act with an overwhelming bipartisan majority. New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, main sponsor Assemblyperson Francisco Moya, and other elected officials held a joint press conference and urged for a speedy passage of the New York State DREAM Act. MinKwon's DREAMer activist Emily Park participated in the press conference, stating that the passage of the bill in the Higher Education Committee created a foundation for its eventual passage. Ms. Park also stated that the New York State DREAM Act would pass in the State Assembly so that undocumented immigrant youth would be able to receive tuition assistance to continue their education and achieve their dreams.
Read More: Korea Times (In Korean)
On February 12th, MinKwon Center, MFY Legal Services (MFY), and Queens Volunteer Lawyers Project, Inc. (QVLP) held a press conference to announce the expansion of foreclosure prevention counseling services in response to the Queens Housing Court's decision to reduce its backlog. The organizations will provide legal counseling and representation in Korean for limited-English-proficient Korean immigrant homeowners, and will also hold an informational workshop on February 19th at 7:00 p.m. If you would like more information about the workshop, please contact Elisa Gahng, Housing Legal Counselor at 718-460-5600 x204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more: Korean New York Daily (in Korean)