Alison Choi was born and raised in Hong Kong, before permanently moving to the United States in 2015. Both of her parents grew up in the United States, and her American roots, coupled with her Korean heritage, gave her a unique cultural identity. While Ms. Choi felt in tune with her American identity, her Korean one was harder to reconcile with growing up in Hong Kong due to the relative lack of Korean-Americans in her community. It wasn’t until she began attending college that she was able to more directly confront and understand her Asian-American identity. She first immersed herself in the history of different ethnic groups in the United States before delving into Asian-American studies. Ms. Choi began to document stories not only about her own family but also about the intersection and interaction between Korean-American and Black communities. Her journey of discovering and exploring her identity speaks to her sense of purpose and her motivation to contribute to the community she is a part of.
All content has been recorded in advance prior to the US outbreak of COVID-19.
Why Heritage Camp?
When our son Bart was only three he voiced emphatic dislike of his handsome Asian face. He wanted to ‘fit in’ to the Caucasian world he’d known since arriving home at age five months. His message was loud and clear, that even at a tender age, his self-esteem was wrapped up with his adoption, Korean heritage and being a “stranger in a strange land”.
K-Dramas & Chill
During the COVID-19 quarantine, many people have tried new things while stuck at home, like baking sourdough bread or crocheting. Of course, it’s hard to be productive 100% of the time when you can’t leave your house, so the most popular quarantine activity by far is probably binge-watching TV. When we first started self-quarantining in our apartment in the Boston area, my fiance and I were already halfway through the k- drama Itaewon Class on Netflix.
L. Song Richardson
L. Song Richardson was born in El Paso, Texas to a Korean American mother and African American father who was a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army. Richardson grew up with strong influences of Korean culture from her mother who always stressed the importance of education which would later contribute to Richardson’s passion for teaching and research. In this Legacy Project, Richardson reflects back on the challenges of growing up mixed race and how her parents fell in love. L. Song Richardson is the current Dean and Chancellor’s Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law with joint appointments in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society and in the Department of Asian American Studies.
K-Pod: David Yoon
Author David Yoon became a breakout star in 2019 with his critically acclaimed YA debut novel, Frankly in Love, which hit the New York Times bestseller list and has also been optioned for a movie. In a Zoom interview, Juliana and Catherine talk to David about his path to becoming a writer, the “surreal” experience of seeing his first novel take off, and his partnership in love and literature with his wife, YA superstar author Nicola Yoon. (“I feel like I won the love lottery with her.”)
In Memory Of
To pass the time, I have started doing Pilates, taking frequent naps. For three weeks, Tom insisted I watch Pulp Fiction. I’ve eaten close to a thousand Oreos in the past month and a half. This is not hyperbole.
Dr. Yuri Doolan was born in an Air Force base to an American father and Korean mother who met in Korea during the 1980s.
Matt Fischer – Part 2
In Part 2, Matt talks about the beauty of starting a new chapter with his family and the joys becoming a father to his own biological sons.
Matt Fischer – Part 1
Matt Fischer was born in Korea and adopted at the age of 7.
K-Pod: Ji Lee
Facebook creative director Ji Lee is one of the most influential graphic designers working in the country today. Born in Korea and raised in Brazil, he built his career in advertising, working for Google Creative Lab, Droga 5 and Saatchi & Saatchi. But it’s his wide range of witty and subversive personal projects — like the Bubble Project and the Instagram sensation Drawings for my Grandchildren, which features the artwork of his 76-year-old father — that are dearest to his heart. Catherine and Juliana learn about his Korean-Brazilian childhood, his unique creative process and his passion for challenging the way we see the world.
Marcus Hahm, also known as Avec Plaisir, is an award-winning sound designer, mixer, and music producer who’s worked with national brands and major labels doing commercial work, songwriting and music supervising.
My Korean American Story: CJ Rooney – Owner of Aerilyn Books
The process of creating a book, regardless of the target audience, is deeply involved and requires a plethora of patience and many hours of revisions.
Hyun Joon Lee
Born in Seoul, Hyun Joon Lee grew up in Indonesia, went to Yonsei University, and ended up in the Bronx working as a medical resident.
Ta Bom: Los Angeles’ Women-Owned Korean Brazilian Food Truck
When Ilse Marques Kim, a former model from Brazil, was laid off from Korea Air’s cargo department at LAX, she struggled to find work for over a year.
HeeSun Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1983, and was adopted by a Chinese American family. You may have heard her rap on the Korean TV program Show Me the Money. Growing up as an adoptee, she felt stereotyped by other Koreans, which led her to write about what she was going through in her music. She shares how the experience shaped her journey in finding who she is.
Profile of Tereza Lee
When asked how it makes her feel to be known as the “Original Dreamer” she responded, “I’m not sure it matters… some undocumented immigrants today are saying that they think the Dreamer rhetoric is something that throws our parents under the bus because it’s exclusive to a certain number of immigrants. We have to fight this one thing at a time and eventually we will fight for comprehensive immigration reform because that’s what this country really needs.”
Artist of “One Thing” Amerie sits down with Julie Young, and talks about her future music, how she was able to break into the music industry as a senior at Georgetown University, and why she can maintain a positive outlook on life.
3 Generations Visit Korea
What would it be like for 3 generations to travel together in Korea? Walk through one family’s journey of discovering and revisiting where they come from, while passing through the natural landscapes of the countryside and modern city of Seoul.
Tell Me a Story
Probably each one of us said it at some point when we were small children. Some of us said it almost every night. Some begged and pleaded. We laughed and giggled and screamed when our pleadings were granted.
KRB Podcast: Charles & Victoria Thompson
In this month’s KoreanAmericanStory on 87.7 FM, Doogaji creators Charles and Victoria Thompson talk about the importance of bicultural identity, and how their books are meant to instill this value in Korean American children.
Unzu Lee, part 2
Unzu Lee, currently a Presbyterian pastor, used to have “zero confidence” in her language abilities due to a sudden move from Korea to Brazil at 14 years of age.
Unzu Lee, part 1
Growing up in a church full of political dissidents, Unzu Lee learned early on that “political activism was just one way of social transformation.”
Sarang Kang is a Korean American female pastor whose visionary and assertive character sometimes ruffles feathers.
Growing up, Charles Yoon moved country-to-country as his dad got new job assignments—interacting with many different cultures.
KRB Podcast: Haewon Latorre
In this week’s KoreanAmericanStory with KRB 87.7 FM, Haewon Latorre talks about her experience as a Korean Latin-American individual, and describes the complexities of an intertwined identity.
KRB Podcast: Ester Fang
In this week’s KoreanAmericanStory with KRB 87.7 FM, Ester Fang talks about her experience growing up as a hapa in Korea.
Aiyoung Choi – Part 2
At 23, Aiyoung Choi fell head over heels for a Cuban man and married him—cutting ties with her parents who disapproved of the pair.
KRB Podcast: Milton Washington – Part 2
In this week’s Korean American Story with KRB 87.7 FM, Milton Washington talks about the tumultuous years of his life after his adoption to America, and how he came to resolve the inner conflicts regarding his identity.
KRB Podcast: Milton Washington – Part 1
In this week’s Korean American Story with KRB 87.7 FM, Milton Washington talks about his childhood in Korea as a half-Korean and half-African American boy. With pride, he shares about his prostitute mother – the essence of love and security up until his adoption to America at 8 years old, and the reason why he was able to endure the unfriendliness of a world that gave him birth.
Julie Young and Nina Lee (the daughter of KoreanAmericanStory.org founder HJ Lee) sit down with rapper and actress Awkwafina at Maru Karaoke Lounge in New York. Awkwafina, or Nora Lum, born to a Chinese-American father and a Korean mother, talks about losing her mother at a young age, her grandparents, her acting career, her passion for making music, and more.
Koreans & Camptowns: Photo Essay by Dayna Choi Fischer
Fred Warnick was a young American working in Korea in the 1960s.
Where Are You Going, Thomas?: The Journey of a Korean War Orphan
This is the story of Thomas Park Clement, an abandoned bi-racial Korean War orphan, who was adopted by a white American family in 1958. He overcame many obstacles to become a successful entrepreneur and a humanitarian.
Seoul-Born, Bogotá-Raised, L.A.-Grown, Brooklyn-Aged: Profile of Chino
Artist, music producer, and entrepreneur Chino (Kyu Min Lee)is “Seoul-born, Bogotá-raised, L.A.-grown, Brooklyn-aged.” He’s dined with diplomats and considers Erykah Badu a friend.
Second Chances in Tijuana: Profile of Dong-Jin Eastern Kang Sim
At age twelve, Dong-Jin Eastern Kang Sim huddled in a tiny cell in Mexico City with his mother and thirteen-year-old brother. They were the only Asians in the jail.
Sulja Lee was born in Japan in 1942 during WWII and her family moved back to Korea after Korean independence from Japan in 1945.
My Korean American Story: Jacquelyn Chappel
Growing up, my mother did not teach my sister and me about Korea. She did not teach us Korean. She did not feed us Korean food, and by middle school, my sister and I balked at her stinky jars of kimchee.
From Seoul to the South: Profile of Susan Knight
Susan Knight (birth name: Yim Hee Jung), 37, was born in Seoul and currently lives in Cumming, Georgia with her husband and three children. This is her story of resilience of growing up in poverty and moving to the U.S. at age eight to join her mother and stepfather, a U.S. soldier.
Love Beyond Measure: Pega Crimbchin
Late one evening while mourning her late husband, Pega Crimbshin (nee Ock Soon Lee), 81, of Cabot, Pennsylvania, found a box that he had handcrafted and shown to her in January 1954. He had informed her that they contained important papers.
Bond of Unlikely Brothers Forged during Korean War
“You know how sometimes you meet someone and it just clicks,” Kleisley said. “That’s how it was when I first met Mark.” That 1951 chance meeting near a stream in Korea blossomed into a 60-plus-year friendship for the Marine from Rochester, N.Y., and the former homeless kid from North Korea.
Haewon Latorre was born in Korea, moved to Argentina as a toddler, then moved to NYC as a teenager.
In popular culture, Asian Americans always seemed concerned with building bridges from old country to new country, first generation to second generation.
Profile of Illustrator/Graphic Novelist Ian Kim
As a child, comic books were Kim’s gateway to art. Some of his favorite comics included Akira (“the greatest work of graphic fiction ever!”), Blade of the Immortal, Ghost in the Shell, Dragonball, X-Men and Generation X. Kim states, “Comics remain my main inspiration. I’m equally interested in storytelling and writing fiction, and comics are a synthesis of those two.”
My Korean American Story: Mark Ro Beyersdorf
Ever since I left Southern California for college in Connecticut, my mother has always waited while I wind through the airport security line. She smiles and waves wildly until I make it past screening and turn around to wave goodbye one last time. Except once.
Legacy Project video of Yong-Hee Silver interviewed by her son, Adrian Silver in New York.
This is a video I made about my mom for my two quappa (quarter Korean) kids. It sums up that special relationship between a Korean grandma and her grandkids. The central figure is Grandmother…and yes, I know I spelled Halmoni wrong but that is just how we roll with it in our family. Harmonie fits our multiracial family better since it is close to “harmony” which is a combination of things that are pleasant together – that’s us!
The Will To Win
“I have to say – and I say this with a record of unblemished heterosexuality – Will Demps is smokin’ hot.”
Profile of Dr. Paul Oh
Robots may once have been reserved for the world of science fiction, but they exist among us now and, more quickly than we realize, are becoming a more prevalent and vital part of our society. Today, around the globe, there are robots that dismantle bombs, aid surgeons and even fight wars.
It’s About How You Feel in Your Heart: Profile of Marja Vongerichten
Never in a million years did Marja Vongerichten think she would become the unofficial ambassador of Korean food to the United States. Her story is well known at this point. Born to a Korean mother and an African-American serviceman father, at the age of three she was adopted by an African-American couple, Colonel James Allen and Margo McKay.
My Korean American Story: Juli Shepherd-Southwell
I was born in 1971 to a Korean mother and an African-American father. My parents met in Germany while my mom was in nursing school.
Heard ‘Em All by Ameriie
Ameriie is a popular Grammy nominated singer who is half Korean and half black, and this music video is a companion piece to the Profile of Ameriie written by Julie Young.
Just as the Sky Is Blue…I Am Who I Am: Profile of Ameriie
I have said this many times and I am here to say it on record. Ameriie is one of the most under-appreciated singers – ever. Full stop. Girlfriend can truly sing. She is blessed with a voice that, for the life of me, I can not grasp why it has not brought her the same notoriety as those other less.
What Makes Myong Feiner Identify Herself As Korean?
What makes Myong Feiner identify herself as Korean?
I posed this question to Myong Feiner, owner and chef of Myong Gourmet, a Pan-Asian restaurant that recently opened in Mt. Kisco, New York. Myong Feiner, simply known as Myong, identifies first as Korean, and second as Jewish.
My Korean American Story: Don Sheu
Born in Seoul of a Chinese father and a Korean mother, people have always tried to locate my identity in fractions, particularly in America.