Woori Center is a grassroots non-profit organization based in Greater Philadelphia. Meaning “us” or “we” in Korean, our name, Woori (우리), reflects unity in our collective work to uplift the whole community—the whole of us. We empower and cultivate the leadership of our marginalized community members including the low-income, recent immigrant, limited English proficient, undocumented, women, seniors, and young people, in Greater Philadelphia and beyond.
Woori Center believes in a holistic approach to the community. We facilitate services to meet the immediate needs of vulnerable members of our community, and build power to address root causes of the needs and make lasting systemic changes.
We conduct our work through five key program areas: community organizing, civic engagement, community services, youth leadership development, and arts & culture. We are one of the few Asian American organizations in Pennsylvania that leverages community organizing, advocacy, and services to build power and achieve progressive changes for our people at local, statewide, and national levels.
Woori Center is an affiliate of the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC).
Woori Center was founded in late 2018, but our community organizing history can go back to the early 1990. Many of the founding members were active with the Korean American Community Center (KACC), organizing the Korean community of Philadelphia around Korean democracy and peace movements until the late 90s. With roots in the Korean democracy movement, KACC organized the Korean community of Greater Philadelphia until the late 90s. In 2017, several KACC founders began to meet with other progressive Korean Americans in Philadelphia to discuss the pressing issues facing our community, such as immigrant rights, access to health care, and youth development. These conversations revealed the urgent need for an organization that could serve our community by organizing Korean and Asian Americans to address these issues and ultimately led to the Woori Center’s founding.
We formed and currently lead Korean Americans for Civic Participation (KACP), a coalition of Korean organizations in Pennsylvania seeking to increase civic participation in the Korean American community. Since 2019, we have been running robust civic engagement campaigns for the primary and general elections, conducting workshops, registering voters, and developing the leadership capacities of community members, from youth to senior citizens.
As a NAKASEC affiliate, we are part of a national network organizing for #Citizenship4All by mobilizing undocumented and immigrant Asian Americans in Pennsylvania to win a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. We meet with legislators, participate in direct actions, and mobilize our community to uplift the diverse voices of Asian American immigrants to shed light on the wide-reaching impact of immigration policies on our communities.