Greg Norrish

Greg Norrish was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1986 and was adopted to Northeastern CT when he was about 3 months old. Throughout his childhood, he distinctly remember being perpetually aware of his differences. By the age of 18, he began to process his identity in multiple ways and continued until he was nearing his late twenties, which was when he chose to come to Korea. Greg had no idea of what he was hoping for when he came to Korea. To a certain degree, he wanted to find a purpose while trying to live out the inflated dreams he made throughout his childhood but he was also feeling pressured because he told people back home his decision was to explore his Korean roots. After living in Korea for four years, he stopped worrying about his adoption because he found himself being able to feel comfortable in his own skin and living life through work and meeting people who embraced him as he is. As Greg continues life in Korea, he hopes to continue to process and explore his identity through each moment that comes naturally in his everyday life.

Mandy Hwang

Mandy Hwang was raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma by an American father and Korean mother. She grew up feeling “perfectly half-Korean” thanks to her parents’ efforts to help her feel comfortable in her own skin, especially her father. Mandy moved to Korea with the intention of working in the K-pop industry but after taking a teaching job, she realized this was the career she wanted to pursue. Living and working in Korea has helped her feel more in-tune with her Korean identity and recognize that Korean culture is very different from Korean American culture. For Mandy, being half-Korean is a significant part of her identity and means having the best of both American and Korean culture. She believes that it is important for future generations of Korean Americans to not only be familiar with their Korean heritage, but also to make it their own.

The Last Day

In the beginning of 2021, Mr. Baik and his family made the decision to close down their drop store in Midtown, NYC. March 26, 2021 was the last day. It’s been a year since we followed Mr. Baik, videotaped by his daughter, Deborah, during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the second and final part of their story.

Jason Kim

With his lacerating wit, pop culture savvy and equal fluency with humor and pathos, the Emmy-nominated screenwriter, playwright and producer Jason Kim is one of the most dynamic young voices in the entertainment world. He has written for Girls and Love and is a producer on HBO’s Barry. He also wrote the book for KPOP, an off-Broadway show that won Outstanding Musical at the 2018 Lucille Lortel awards. Currently, he’s developing a series for Amazon called Neon Machine, starring Korean hip-hop star Tablo. Born in Seoul, Jason immigrated with his family to St. Louis, MO when he was ten. He talks to Catherine and Juliana about fleeing the midwest for NYC immediately after high school, his quarter-life crisis as a young staffer at The New Yorker, his decade-long process of coming out to his parents, his grandmother who encouraged him to be a writer and — last but not least – his devotion to his dermatologist.

Our Mission

To capture, create, preserve and share
the stories of the Korean American experience
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Legacy Project

To capture, create, preserve and share the stories of the Korean American experience by supporting and promoting storytelling

Greg Norrish

Greg Norrish was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1986 and was adopted to Northeastern CT when he was about 3 months old. Throughout his childhood, he distinctly remember being perpetually aware of his differences. By the age of 18, he began to process his identity in multiple ways and continued until he was nearing his late twenties, which was when he chose to come to Korea. Greg had no idea of what he was hoping for when he came to Korea. To a certain degree, he wanted to find a purpose while trying to live out the inflated dreams he made throughout his childhood but he was also feeling pressured because he told people back home his decision was to explore his Korean roots. After living in Korea for four years, he stopped worrying about his adoption because he found himself being able to feel comfortable in his own skin and living life through work and meeting people who embraced him as he is. As Greg continues life in Korea, he hopes to continue to process and explore his identity through each moment that comes naturally in his everyday life.

Mandy Hwang

Mandy Hwang was raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma by an American father and Korean mother. She grew up feeling “perfectly half-Korean” thanks to her parents’ efforts to help her feel comfortable in her own skin, especially her father. Mandy moved to Korea with the intention of working in the K-pop industry but after taking a teaching job, she realized this was the career she wanted to pursue. Living and working in Korea has helped her feel more in-tune with her Korean identity and recognize that Korean culture is very different from Korean American culture. For Mandy, being half-Korean is a significant part of her identity and means having the best of both American and Korean culture. She believes that it is important for future generations of Korean Americans to not only be familiar with their Korean heritage, but also to make it their own.

Joshua Hwang

Joshua Hwang was born and raised in Philadelphia as one of five boys in his family. His father was a pastor while his mother ran two dry cleaning businesses. Growing up, Joshua wanted to create an identity for himself as an American. He rebelled from the standard ideas of being a PK, or pastor’s Kid, and tried to avoid the Korean American community as much as possible. His parents eventually saw the recklessness and wanted to find an opportunity for him leave Philadelphia as soon as possible.

Brian Kuh

Brian Kuh was born in South Korea and moved to America at the age of six. He moved around frequently throughout his childhood, which always made him the new Asian student at school. By second grade, he started to realize how much his peers were teasing him and even recalls having rocks thrown at him. Instead of harboring any form of bitterness, Brian just wanted to feel like he belonged and continued to have a lingering feeling of being “in the middle”. With other Koreans, they would say he is too American. With Korean Americans, they would say he was too Korean. Eventually, he realized being between two cultures is a uniqueness not many people have and would allow him to become a bridge connecting two communities.

Joseph Kim

After his family immigrated to America in 1976, Joseph Kim and his brother grew up being one of the only non-white students in their community. Though his parents worked hard to help them fit in, he still endured teasing because of his race and financial status. He recollects when an old teacher at school called him a racial slur–extremely shocked and angry, fourteen-year-old Joseph did not know how to react. Though initially contemplating more extreme action to take his anger out on that adult, he settled on a more peaceful resolution.

Eric McDaniel

Eric McDaniel was adopted at the age of four to a family in Kansas City, Missouri. On the car ride from the airport, his mom opened up a photo album showing four polaroid photos – one of a car, a big house, his Mom and brother smiling, and his bed. Having vivid memories of being abandoned, it finally clicked with him that he was getting a second chance and this was the family he wanted. Eric learned to adjust and quickly understood that fending for himself and fighting fire with fire was not the only way to live. By the time he entered high school, he had lost his Korean identity and became the catalyst to his own racism.

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