Inhe Choi

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Inhe Choi


Inhe Choi is the Executive Director of the HANA Center. Prior to joining Korean American Resource and Cultural Center (Now the HANA Center)’s staff in 2014, Ms. Choi worked as an independent consultant for nine years assisting community-based organizations and foundations with capacity building and strategic planning. Ms. Choi also served as the Program Director of the Crossroads Fund, the Asian American Liaison for the Harold Washington administration in Chicago and a community organizer for the Metropolitan Tenants Organization. She is a co-founder of Korean American Women In Need (KAN-WIN).[1]

NAKASEC officers

NAKASEC officers, as of January 2018;[2]

Illegal Immigration Advocacy at Senator Mark Warner's Office

Illegal Immigration activist Inhe Choi of HANA Center takes over Senator Mark Warner's Office

HANA Center Executive Director Inhe Choi agitates for illegal immigration at Senator Mark Warner's office in January 2018.[3]

Meeting with Tammy Duckworth

Chirayu Patel and HANA Center executive director Inhe Choi met with Tammy Duckworth on January 18 2018. In a tweet, Patel wrote:

"Just met with @SenDuckworth and staff to share my story as an Undocumented American. They promised to pass #DreamAct ASAP. Thanks to @HANACenter & @SAALTweets for support and highlighting importance of #FamilyReunification in our immigration policy. #NoDreamNoDeal"[4]

Colorlines Profile

In December 2010, Bernice Yeung from Colorlines profiled[5] three women's groups: Korean American Women In Need (KAN-WIN), Arkansas Women’s Project and the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center in San Antonio, Texas. The following is the profile for the Korean American Women In Need (KAN-WIN):

"Ten years ago there were no domestic violence organizations in Chicago that catered to the needs of Asian American women, let alone Korean American women. With nowhere else to go, women who faced violence in their lives often turned to Helen Um, a Koreatown community leader.
"Once, a woman came running to Um in the middle of the night. Her husband followed, wielding a knife in one hand and a broken bottle in the other. As she had again and again, Um interceded. Finally in 1990, she and six other Korean American female activists founded Korean American Women in Need (KAN-WIN).
"With little funding, the organization set out to serve as a liaison between battered Korean women and services. It set up a domestic violence hotline, began placing survivors in shelters, and finding culturally sensitive counselors. The leaders of the organization began taking training courses on domestic violence–ones taught in English and created for mainstream America. Then, KAN-WIN adapted all the pamphlets and lesson plans to its needs and translated the materials into Korean. “We were able to train other Koreans in Korean, and it evolved from training ourselves to community building,” said Inhe Choi, a founding board member.
"And because race and culture play a key role in the lives of their clients, the organization goes beyond the role of service provider. “Domestic violence occurs because of social power structures where the roles of men and women are predefined, and domestic violence is how that power is played out,” Choi explained. “But it’s not just gender. Power is everywhere. Look at race and class and sexual orientation. We’re really trying to approach this issue much more broadly, crossing other issues of oppression.”
"Choi continued, “My personal concern is that domestic violence stems from power injustice in society. Society is creating this issue, but the quick remedy, and the remedy that is most used, is the police and the courts. But in some ways, the state itself is an oppressor, so how much are we really revolutionizing? The system is convoluted: on one hand, we’re trying to change it, on the other hand, we’re working with it.”
"Though the organization now receives federal funding, Choi said KAN-WIN is dedicated to 'maintaining our political edge through community organizing and education.' It negotiates the tension between its politics and government funding by dividing the responsibilities of its paid staff members and volunteer board members. 'Staff members, because they’re government-funded, have specific goals geared toward direct services,' Choi explained. 'So the volunteer board takes on the community work. The board takes on the work outside of direct services.'
"This strategy has led the organization to participate in immigrant rights demonstrations and labor rights rallies. KAN-WIN also organizes community events, such as sponsoring Korean “comfort women” to travel to Chicago as part of a film festival showcasing a documentary on the subject. And the organization does extensive community education. Members go to Korean American churches, local schools, and community groups on a regular basis, broaching taboo subjects like dating violence and same-sex violence. 'Because it’s represented in mainstream media and they don’t see an Asian face, [Koreans] don’t think it happens to us,' Choi said. 'Our goal is to make sexual violence a community issue.'
"KAN-WIN also puts its 40 volunteers through a rigorous 40-hour training session infused with politics and an analysis of oppression. Sometimes, the material is met with resistance. 'Some people don’t feel comfortable because of the political aspect,' Choi said. 'It’s a struggling point. How do you talk to a volunteer who is an immigrant woman who is retired and has good intentions, but may not be political at all? How do you talk about race and class, which makes them feel uncomfortable? Sometimes, people tell us that they didn’t come to get lectured on.'
"According to Choi, KAN-WIN often brings up oppression by talking about class–something that immigrants can readily identify with–then drawing the parallels between racism and sexism. The organization asks the volunteers-in-training to analyze the expectations placed upon them as Korean women–bearing sons, serving men–in hopes that it 'wakes them up a little.'
"'To end violence, we do things to change power structures and change how people think about women,' Choi said.

AAPI Immigrant Rights Organizing Table

Close to 150 immigrants and advocates from Black and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities came together in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 5 2017, for a day of action on immigration. Together, the two groups, often unheard in the debate about immigration policy, joined forces to call for a clean DREAM Act and a permanent solution for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders.

Led by UndocuBlack and the AAPI Immigrant Rights Organizing Table, the day featured a news conference with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Rep. Judy Chu, (D-Calif.), Jan Schakowsky, (D-Ill.), and Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.)

“As an undocumented immigrant, woman of color, and a DREAMer, I can attest to the fact that this bill will determine the future of 11 million human lives,” said Angie Kim, who participated in the news conference on behalf of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. “This bill is not just a policy. This bill is not an amnesty. This bill is about true American value, American history, humanity, and justice.”

“DACA changed my life. It allowed me to go to and finish school, get a good job and support my family. A clean DREAM Act must pass before Christmas,” said Jung Woo Kim speaking on behalf of the Korean Resource Center and NAKASEC. “We, young immigrant Americans, are an important part of the future of this nation. What kind of government would throw away its young people?”[6]

References

  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. [3]
  4. [https://twitter.com/cpatel17/status/954056765649440768 , Accessed January 30 2018
  5. Fighting the Many Faces of Violence, accessed January 15 2018
  6. [http://nwasianweekly.com/2017/12/black-and-aapi-immigrant-advocates-lead-day-of-action-in-nations-capitol/NW Asian Weekly, Black and AAPI immigrant advocates lead day of action in nation’s capitol DECEMBER 7, 2017 BY NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY]