On January 17th, MinKwon Center's Youth Coordinator Emily Park held an informational session for the applicants of the Spring Semester Youth Empowerment Program (YEP). Topics presented included civil rights and community issues, which the participants will actively work on throughout the semester. MinKwon's Youth Empowerment program is open to high school students from tenth grade to twelfth grade. For more information, contact Emily Park (718-460-5600 / email@example.com)
Korea Daily (In Korean)
As the city council redistricting process is wrapping up, MinKwon Center and Asian American Community Coalition on Redistricting and Democracy (ACCORD) participated in the city council redistricting hearing in Queens. MinKwon's Civic Participation Coordinator James Hong, representing ACCORD, demanded that the 19th and the 23rd districts should accurately reflect the demographics of the community. Following his testimony, with shouts of "Justice! Fairness! Equality!," MinKwon staff and youth participating in the hearing demanded that the community's voice be heard. MinKwon's Advocacy and Organizing Associate Christina Chang also spoke on behalf of the MinKwon Center.
Korea Times (in Korean)
MinKwon's Youth Empowerment Program Announces New Spring Semester Cycle, Orientation On January 16th, MinKwon Center's Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) will hold an orientation for the upcoming spring semester. YEP educates its youth members about social issues that ties in with their daily lives, as well as providing them with the opportunity to participate in youth-led campaigns such as the DREAM Act Campaign. The orientation will include former YEP members sharing their experiences about the group, and as well as explaining about specific program areas. Any high school student in grades 10 to 12 is eligible to join MinKwon's YEP. The orientation will be held at and on:
Location: Flushing Library, 3rd Floor, IRC Room
Date: January 16th, 2013
For further inquiries, please contact YEP coordinator Emily Park at 718-460-5600, and firstname.lastname@example.org
The MinKwon Center, New York DREAM Act Coalition, and other community groups are urging Governor Cuomo to support the New York State DREAM Act. On January 7th, the Coalition sent Governor Cuomo a petition calling for undocumented college students to be eligible to receive TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) benefits, and also for Governor Cuomo to specifically talk about New York State DREAM Act in his "State of the State" address slated for January 9th. MinKwon's Advocacy & Organizing Associate Christina Chang said, “Over 300 Korean American DREAMers came through our doors last year to apply for deferred action; all deserving the chance to afford to go to college. We urge Governor Cuomo to lead the way to extend TAP to these students and future leaders, and cement the Empire State’s reputation as the nation’s gold standard for immigrant rights.”
On November 27th, MinKwon's Civic Participation Coordinator James Hong spoke at Queens Community House's (QCH) and the Flushing Library's New American Program's joint discussion panel: "Local Matters: this is what democracy should look like." The participating organizations educated Queens residents about permanent resident voting rights, issues on participatory budgeting, and redistricting. At the panel, James Hong, presented information regarding redistricting.
On November 27th, MinKwon and the Asian American Community Coalition On Redistricting and Democracy (ACCORD) held a press conference on the steps of City Hall to protest the Districting Commission's new proposals, which would be in effect starting in 2013. ACCORD has endorsed the community-based "Unity Maps" through testimonials and public hearings with the Districting Commission, but the Commission has failed to incorporate much of this feedback. Asian American voters in Bayside and Oakland Gardens were particularly targeted for gerrymandering in the Commission's proposals. At the press conference, ACCORD members strongly urged the New York City Council to reject the Commission's proposals and hold another public hearing for communities to voice their concerns.
On November 17th, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) honored MinKwon's Executive Director Steven Choi with the "2012 Best Lawyers Under 40" Award. The award recognizes individuals in the Asian American legal community under the age of 40 who have achieved prominence and distinction in their profession, while remaining committed to empowering Asian Pacific American communities. NAPABA recognized Steve Choi for his unwavering commitment and accomplishments in advocating for immigrants' rights, playing a key role in political empowerment, and leadership in litigation and legal services.
On Election Day, MinKwon joined the Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund's (AALDEF) nationwide campaign to protect Asian American voters' rights and conducted exit polls in Flushing and Bayside pollsites. On November 7th, MinKwon held a press conference to announce the exit poll results from select Korean American voters in these neighborhoods. MinKwon's Secretary-Treasurer Yu Soung Mun presented the exit poll analysis at the press conference, which included details on voters' age, problems at the polling sites, voters' voting tendencies, and issues that most concerned the voters. The announcement also included analysis of the election results and winning candidates. For a detailed look at the exit poll results, please click here.
For AALDEF's full analysis of the entire Asian American vote, including Korean American voters across the country, click here.
In August 2012, New York State introduced a new online voter registration system that allowed voters to register through the Internet for the first time. The system requires voters to create an account through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website first, however. In order to properly navigate the system, MinKwon Center's Civic Participation team has created a step-by-step "Guide to Online Voter Registration in New York State.
Click here for the guide (PDF required). Please register to vote to exercise your rights and vocalize your concerns!
On October 26th, MinKwon, the New York Immigration Coalition, and 9 other allies celebrated a major milestone in registering their 10,000th new immigrant voter in 2012. The New York Immigration Coalition and its coalition groups launched the New Citizen Voter Registration Project in 1998, which has registered more than 300,000 total voters at citizenship ceremonies and in registration drives around their neighborhoods since then. MinKwon has been a proud part of NYIC's New Citizen Voter Registration Project since 2004, and has registered over 50,000 new citizens over the years as part of the Project.