Innovative organizer amplifies the voices of Asian Americans in the pursuit of justice for all
The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) is a grassroots network that organizes Korean and Asian Americans to achieve social, racial, and economic justice. NAKASEC’s members represent a diverse cross-section of the Korean and Asian American community, including those who identify as low-income, recent immigrants, limited English proficient, undocumented, youth, women, and senior citizens.
Over the years, NAKASEC has established itself as a highly creative, innovative Asian American leader and organizer. NAKASEC has led impactful campaigns and collaborations that elevate the stories and leadership of undocumented Asian Americans in the national conversation over immigrant justice, as well as forming multi-racial alliances.
For example, in November 2019, NAKASEC completed an 18-day, 250-mile March for DACA & TPS, from New York City to the steps of the Supreme Court. They intended to elevate DACA back into the mainstream conversation—garnering 50 media hits and meeting hundreds of people along the route.
Having an Asian American group spearhead this and other similar actions has also served to broaden the public narrative about who is a DACA recipient, who would be harmed if the program ended, and the diversity of people that immigrant policies impact.
NAKASEC also frequently partners with other immigrant-led groups, for instance UndocuBlack Network. In addition to partnering in demonstrations together, they held a convening in 2018 entitled “Woori Ujima,” woori meaning “our” in Korean and ujima meaning “collective work and responsibility” in Swahili, to cultivate a space where Black and Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) immigrants could understand how each community differently and similarly navigates America within the historical and current context of immigration policy, and to deepen collaboration.
Advancing social, racial, and economic justice for Asian American immigrants
Additionally, NAKASEC is committed to supporting the vision and leadership of young people, and is growing into a political home for Asian American youth.
Over the summer of 2018, 20 young members who identify as AAPI completed a 36-day, 1,800 mile bike trip from Seattle to San Diego, where they engaged over 1,000 non-AAPI community members in conversations about local issues and the need for citizenship for all.
NAKASEC defines full citizenship beyond papers, and also to include access to quality food, housing, healthcare, education, communications, transportation, and healthy and safe environments. For this trip, NAKASEC also partnered with faith leaders, and was supported with lodging, food, and supplies by the Franciscan Action Network, Church World Service and the Disciples of Christ.
Unbound Philanthropy has supported NAKASEC since 2017, its work advances our System and Public priority areas.
People who marched from New York City to Washington D.C. in November 2019, in support of DACA
Photo 1: Home Is Here March, NAKASEC
Photo 2: NAKASEC bike tour