Joseph Jeon was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1971. Two years later, his family immigrated to the United States when his father entered a medical residency program in Barberton, Ohio. Currently a professor of English at the University of California, Irvine, he is also the director of the UCI Center for Critical Korean Studies, an institution aiming to centralize Korean Studies at the university and support students and faculty in their work. His experience of raising a daughter has helped him discover how racial dynamics in American communities have shifted over the past few decades and provided him with a positive outlook on the future. His process of learning how the different places in a person’s life shape the culture in which they grow up has, in turn, helped strengthen his commitment to contribute to his community. All content has been recorded in advance prior to the US outbreak of COVID-19.
A member of Generation X and a second-generation Korean-American, Alexander Kim was born in Los Angeles. He currently works as a consultant working with local government in order to connect government and local communities, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. The 1992 L.A. “Saigu” riots had a significant impact on his passion for political science as he came to realize that there was a need for Asian-American leaders in office, not only in L.A. but also throughout the United States. After his college education at UC Irvine, Mr. Kim took his first job working for the city of L.A. at the mayor’s office. Throughout his 15-year career in politics, he gained experience working with different communities of people from all different kinds of backgrounds. His commitment to making his community a better place is a testament to his extraordinary drive and dedication.
Linda Chen was born in the United States, a few years after her parents immigrated to America and began operating a grocery store in East L.A. Growing up in a predominantly white school community in Arcadia, Mrs. Chen remembers her struggle to discover and embrace her identity. As a girl, she taught herself how to read and write in Korean and continued to take Korean classes in college at George Washington University. In college, she decided to participate in a summer program at Yonsei University in South Korea. Once there, however, she experienced the discomfort of prejudice against “foreigners” and became the victim of a traumatic assault. Despite all this, Mrs. Chen has maintained her love for her culture and her belief that one can be anything they desire. Her story is one that explores the importance and power of identity.
Stephen Gill was born in the rural area of Geumsan, South Korea as Gill Moon Geun. After graduating from high school in the city of Daejeon, he attended Seoul Business College and Graduate School. After working as an employee of a government-owned business in Tokyo, then New York, he decided to remain in the United States for the sake of his children and their education. Several years later, Mr. Gill began to operate a Hallmark card store, continuing to support his children through three harrowing robberies and other challenges. In 1987, he became an American citizen. Mr. Gill is no stranger to hardship and adversity, but his story demonstrates the overwhelming power of courage and family.
Stella Gill was attending kindergarten and learning how to play the piano when she recalls the Korean War breaking out when she was just 4 years old. After several years of living as refugees, her family finally returned home only to find that their father never came back. Stella went on to get married and settled with her new family in America. However, 25 years ago, she received a mysterious letter in the mail sent from North Korea that turned out to be her long lost father. Communicating through letters until his death, she describes the emotions she felt at that time learning about her father’s new life and family.
Kwan Ho Chung was born in South Korea in 1937, during the year the Second Sino-Japanese War began. Growing up, he heard stories from his mother about his father’s college education in the United States at the University of Pennsylvania. He made his way to America to retrace his father’s journey, visiting the University of Pennsylvania campus in person and learning about his father’s educational history there. Mr. Chung would spend years piecing together his father’s story in America and publish a biography titled “Father’s Footsteps.” Eventually, Mr. Chung would also come to live in the United States, in search of more opportunities for his sons and a new life in a new country. His father’s story motivated Mr. Chung to seek opportunity and fulfill his own ambitions, continuing a remarkable legacy of determination and perseverance.
Mikey Fresh is the Senior Artist Relations Manager at Genius, a digital media company known for providing unique insight about the stories behind the most popular songs. From showing up awkwardly to a hip-hop magazine interview in a full suit and a fake resume, Mikey Fresh is now one of the top experts in the hip-hop industry. Mikey shares with Julie how he fell in love with hip-hop culture growing up as a young Korean American in New Jersey and how he’s found his way creating a unique career out of his nontraditional passion.
In this #NotYourAverage, Athina and Florence share with Julie Young how they started from just a simple idea to being met with overwhelming demand from their Kickstarter that launched them into establishing their own company.
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.
Resilience Runs in the Family | Perilla Diaries | Ep. 5
For our final episode of Perilla Diaries, we asked Thomas and Andrew where they got the resilience to carry on throughout all these pandemic challenges. Without hesitation, they pointed to the strongest people they know – their mothers. We asked the two restaurateurs to phone them for a short interview about their respective journeys starting new jobs and lives in America.
Day In the Life of a Parent During Covid-19
Julian Kim is an editor, producer, filmmaker, and father of Ian, his 20-month-old son. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many families have experienced a dramatic change within their household when it comes to parenting, especially for those with young children.
Korean Hot Sauce in Minneapolis
KC Kye is the founder of K-Mama Sauce, a Korean hot sauce company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. KC initially was preparing to go into ministry but pivoted into starting a business after a conversation with his mentor and pastor, Reverend Dr. Jin. Like many small businesses, KC and his team faced challenges and had to adapt to new rules and restrictions due to COVID-19. KC has found much love and support from his church and hopes that K-Mama Sauce will continue to grow to support the greater Minneapolis community.
KAS 2017 RECAP REEL
2017 was an extraordinary year for KAS. Here’s a look back at some of our highlights from last year.
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.