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Civic Engagement


Woori Center leads year-round civic engagement efforts to empower Korean and Asian Americans across the state of Pennsylvania. Woori Center has joined local and statewide coalitions and carries out its civic engagement activities as a coordinated effort within the broader context of AAPI communities and communities of color in Pennsylvania.

2023 Civic Engagement

Civic engagement is a critical component of Woori Center’s work, as it is key to building Korean and Asian American community power in Greater Philadelphia and the United States. This year, Woori Center is focused on culturally competent outreach to our community for the Pennsylvania Primary Election on May 16, 2023 and the General Election on November 7, 2023. We want our people to be among the many Pennsylvania voters who will decide the outcomes of the seats for the PA State Senate, PA State House, PA State Supreme Court, Intermediate Appellate Courts, school boards, and municipal governments.

Below are some of our notable achievements from 2023:

  • We made  40,592 call attempts and sent out 32,778 text messages across Pennsylvania. 

  • We knocked on 625 doors in Philadelphia

  • We distributed 800 copies of the election guide composed by Woori Center and gave out 2,000+ copies of election brochures.

  • We registered 205 eligible voters

  • We provided language assistance via calls throughout the year and in person at 6 polling sites on election days

  • We conducted the Montgomery County Commissioner Candidates Survey on language access and shared the results with our community.

This internship enabled me to appreciate the power of grassroots efforts. I feel that society as a whole focuses on large-scale impact, but Woori has taught me to celebrate and strive for individual-level because they can make the process even more rewarding.  


It (Woori Center) makes personal-level connections with people. There is nothing more interpersonal than being on the streets or going from door to door getting people to have their voices heard. By doing this, Woori is able to humanize a process that often feels overwhelming. 

 

I am extremely grateful for the incredible team behind Worri. I am really glad to have made the friends I did and it made my position such an honor to hold. Something about being able to do what I love with people I love was so great.

 

 
— Avia , Civic Engagement Intern

Montgomery County is now home to Pennsylvania's largest Korean American community and the second-largest Asian American community. Over 70% of Korean Americans are recent immigrants, and roughly half speak English “less than well.” In Pennsylvania, 78% of Asians and Pacific Islanders speak languages other than English at home, and roughly 1 in 5 Asian Pacific Islanders speak English less than well or not at all.
 
A coalition of 16 organizations representing and supporting the vast new American communities in Montgomery County asked the four candidates running for the 2023 Montgomery County Commissioner election about their position on language access in the county. We are delighted to share all candidates’ responses in alphabetical order. Please click the image to see their responses.

2023 Montgomery County Commissioner
Candidates on Language Access

2022 Civic Engagement

In 2022, PA voters decided the outcomes of the seats for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, PA Governor, PA State Senator, and PA State House. Woori Center, our volunteers, and KACP, led multiple rounds of phonebanking and text banking, mailed and hand-distributed election guides, and helped voters register to vote and develop mail-in or in-person voting plans.

 

Over the summer, Woori Center conducted a survey asking Korean American and young Asian American voters in Pennsylvania about their support for our Driver’s Licenses for All campaign and Transformative Justice. 79% of respondents supported Driver’s Licenses for All and 73% of respondents supported transformative justice as a remedy to the current punitive criminal justice system.

 

Below are some of our notable achievements from 2022:

  • We made 48,037 phone calls and texted 31,546 messages to Korean and young Asian American voters in Pennsylvania. 

  • We registered 248 eligible voters.

  • We organized four tabling sites in North Philadelphia and Montgomery County at markets like H Mart in Elkins Park and Assi Plaza in North Wales, as well as at community events like North Penn High School’s Spring International Fest and Kimchi Fest in Love Park. 

  • We knocked on 1,026 doors of Korean and Asian American voters in Montgomery County. 

  • We distributed 1,500 election brochures and 1,300 voter guides in Korean and in English.

  • We sent out 28,845 bilingual mailers statewide.

2021 Civic Engagement

In 2021, Pennsylvania voters decided the outcomes of the seats for PA Justice of the Supreme Court, PA Judge of the Superior Court, PA Judge of the Commonwealth Court, PA Judge of the Common Pleas Court, and other municipal governments. Korean and Asian American voices are as important in local, judicial, and municipal elections as these elected officials have the potential to make a direct impact on our community life.

 

To increase Korean and Asian American voter turnout in 2021, Woori Center led KACP in civic engagement activities around voter education, engagement, and election protection. To provide community members with immediate assistance, Woori Center and KACP continued our One-Stop Help Desk for the duration of the election cycle. 

 

Below are some of our notable achievements from 2021:

  • We made 25,852 phone calls (1,518 contacts) and texted 18,283 messages (515 contacts) to Korean American voters in Pennsylvania. 

  • We registered 138 voters.

  • We organized four tabling sites in North Philadelphia and Montgomery County at markets like H Mart in Elkins Park and Assi Plaza in North Wales. 

  • We knocked on 701 doors of Korean and Asian American voters in Montgomery County, making 193 household contacts. 

  • We distributed more than 2,000 election brochures and 1,800 voter guides in Korean and in English.

  • We sent out 9,158 bilingual mailers statewide.

2020 Civic Engagement

With Asian Americans being the fastest growing racial demographic in Pennsylvania and the United States, our communities exercised our huge potential by showing up to vote in RECORD numbers. 

Woori Center, along with our volunteers and the KACP coalition, led multiple rounds of phone banking and text banking, mailed and hand-distributed election guides, and provided direct assistance at our One Stop Help Desk to help voters register to vote and develop mail-in or in-person voting plans.

In collaboration with NAKASEC, Woori Center conducted a survey asking Korean American and young Asian American voters in Pennsylvania on their support for #CitizenshipForAll and #HealthcareForAll campaigns. 73% of the Korean American respondents and 93% of the young Asian American respondents supported #CitizenshipForAll, and 67% of the Korean American and 82% of the young Asian American respondents supported #HealthcareForAll.

Check out some of our highlights below:

  • We made 189,468 attempted phone calls (that is almost 10% of all phone calls made by 501c3 organizations in Pennsylvania) and had 7,898 conversations with voters!

  • We spoke with 5,837 unique voters!

  • We sent 75,960 text messages!

  • We recruited 210 volunteers!

  • We registered 107 voters!

  • We distributed more than 8,000 copies of election materials, including 5,000 election guides, 2,500 brochures, and 400 voter’s rights cards, and sent out over 30,000 mailers. 

  • We published four articles and four op-eds, reaching 23 hits in total!

2020 Census

The results of the United States Census allocates educational, health, and governmental resources to our communities. However, one in five Asian Americans live in hard-to-count census locales, putting our communities at risk of being missed, including our members with limited English proficiency and/or are low-income. To address these difficulties, Woori Center participated in phonebanks, led textbanking efforts, sent out mailers, and published pieces in Ethnic Media outlets!

Please read below for some highlights:

  • We made 23,224 attempted phone calls and contacted 1,340 community members!

  • We sent 1,821 text messages and contacted 307 community members!

  • In May, we sent out our first mailer to 528 Korean American households!

  • In September, we sent out our second mailer to 3,447 Korean American households statewide!

  • We published six articles on Ethnic Media outlets, reaching 28 hits in total!

Korean Americans for Civic Participation (KACP)

Korean Americans for Civic Participation (KACP)
In 2019, Woori Center formed the Korean Americans for Civic Participation (KACP) and has been leading the coalition to address the barriers limiting Korean American civic engagement by providing in-language education and assistance. KACP aims to empower our communities through its continued efforts of voter education, engagement, and protection for both the primary and general elections. KACP plans to register first-time voters, canvass neighborhoods in Greater Philadelphia, and lead multiple rounds of phone-banking and text-banking. In addition, KACP recognizes the importance of civic education, providing in-language voter education guides, and in-language resources on Korean ethnic media and social media platforms.