Community organizing is a core principle of Woori Center and a critical component of our theory of change. We believe the key to building a society wherein everyone lives and thrives together is building the progressive power of our most vulnerable community members through organizing.
Woori Center thus organizes the Korean and Asian American community in the Greater Philadelphia and beyond to collectively address immigrant justice issues. There are nearly 2 million undocumented Asian Americans living in the United States and roughly one out of every seven Korean Americans is undocumented. Pennsylvania is home to more than 42,000 Korean Americans. Given the sizable impacted population in Pennsylvania, Woori Center believes it is essential to organize our community here to make our city, state, and country a better place to live for all. We believe everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and to live together with their loved ones without the fear of separation, and we believe this can be achieved by building our collective power to make change.
On a national level, Woori Center has joined NAKASEC and its affiliates in Illinois (HANA Center), New York (MinKwon Center), Texas (Woori Juntos), and Virginia (Hamkae Center) for the #Citizenship4All campaign to win a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. At a statewide level in Pennsylvania, Woori Center works alongside local immigrant justice organizations to advocate for legislative policy solutions for the immigrant community, including driver’s licenses for all and tuition equity. We have focused our community organizing work on three specific immigrant justice campaigns.
Citizenship for All
The NAKASEC network believes all people deserve full citizenship. Citizenship is more than a piece of paper; full citizenship means having full equality and access to all of the rights and responsibilities of being American, which include the human rights to quality food, housing, education, health care, jobs, communications, transportation, and participation in our democracy. Our Citizenship For All platform supports the following:
Pathway to Citizenship For All: Every immigrant, from the undocumented to TPS holders to lawful permanent residents, deserves U.S. citizenship for full participation in this country. We demand legalization of all 11 million undocumented immigrants living in this country, without exception.
Family Reunification: Strong families are a cornerstone of the United States and are critical to the social and economic health of this nation. Family immigration, strengthened by the Reuniting Families Act, must continue to allow them to remain together and have the opportunity to reunify in a timely manner.
Citizenship For All Adoptees: Despite being adopted by U.S. citizen parents as children, thousands of intercountry adoptees do not have citizenship. All adoptees, regardless of background, deserve citizenship. We support a clean and inclusive Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019.
Abolish ICE/CBP: Detentions and deportations tear families apart and contribute to our communities’ trauma in ways that hurt us all. Furthermore, every year, the number of individuals detained rises. Looking back over the past twenty years, the number of individuals locked in immigration detention centers skyrocketed by over 600%. We demand the abolition of ICE and CBP, and a moratorium on deportation through executive action. We also support defunding the police!
LGBT Equality Act: It is still legal to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans in 29 states. The Equality Act would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service.
Driver’s Licenses for All
Driving PA Forward (DPF) Coalition
Lacking a driver’s license restricts people’s ability to accomplish basic daily tasks like going to work, going to the grocery store, dropping their kids off at school, or fully participating in civic and community life. To protect our community’s basic human right to movement, Woori Center joined the Driving Pennsylvania Forward Coalition (DPF) in 2020 to expand access to driver’s licenses for all Pennsylvanians, regardless of immigration status. With the proposed legislation, all Pennsylvanians would receive safety and accountability, insurance savings, economic participation, and basic human rights.
DPF is a statewide coalition composed of advocacy, faith, businesses, farmers, labor, and community organizations that work together to pass legislation that will make a standard driver’s license accessible with strict privacy and data protections for all Pennsylvanians, regardless of immigration status. Both Woori Center and the DPF Coalition prioritize the leadership of the immigrant community and welcome everyone who believes in the importance of changing what is politically possible for the immigrant community through grassroots and legislative efforts.
Tuition Equity and Inclusion Campaign
The Tuition Equity and Inclusion Campaign believes all graduates of Pennsylvania high schools should have equal opportunity to attend college, regardless of their immigration status. Allowing all immigrant students equal access to higher education can help address the falling enrollment at Pennsylvania State schools, community colleges, and private schools.
Woori Center joined the Tuition Equity and Inclusion Campaign in 2020 to ensure all of our community members have access to higher education. With the proposed legislation, all students who graduate from a Pennsylvania high school or attend two years of high school in Pennsylvania and receive the equivalent of a diploma are eligible to receive in-state tuition rates at community colleges, member institutions of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, and private universities that receive state funds. The bill also extends Pennsylvania’s state-funded financial aid to all financially eligible students and provides an alternative FAFSA application process.
In the long term, achieving tuition equity and inclusion would increase revenue for public institutions of higher education, benefit state economies, encourage population growth, reduce brain drain in young people, and help both students and their families contribute to Pennsylvania’s economy.
Know Your Rights Workshop
Woori Center hosts “Know Your Rights” Workshops throughout the year. These workshops provide essential information on enforcement trends at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); basic rights for immigrant communities interacting with law enforcement, ICE, jails, and courts; and preparation of emergency plans.
Please check back for our next Know Your Rights Workshop. You can find additional information on Woori Center’s social media pages (@WooriCenter).
If you have any questions, contact email@example.com.