In a series over the next few weeks, we’re featuring a few of the recipients of our Voter Education Fund who make a difference in our communities.
Taking a holistic approach to voter education is a great way to empower voters within a specific community. The Korean American Coalition – Washington (KAC-WA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to strengthen the Korean American community not just through civic education and participation, but also through leadership development, community advocacy and networking.
“Korean-Americans need to have their voices elevated, and also need to join in solidarity with other people-of-color groups on policies that impact our communities,” said Yunee Ham, Executive Board Secretary and Director of Voter Registration for KAC-WA.
Yunee explains how KAC-WA focuses on Korean Americans in Washington State, working to increase community access and exposure to public policy on the local and federal level.
“One of our main goals is to strengthen and empower the Korean-American community and to enhance its profile and influence through civic education and participation,” she said. “We believe that civic engagement is a crucial part of voicing our opinions.”
A participant in the Voter Education Fund since 2016, KAC-WA believes that civic education and participation is important to the Korean-American community. It is the organization’s mission to make civic participation more approachable and create opportunities for the community to participate in voicing their opinions.
“Voter education is an important way to demonstrate the power of people and ensure that elected officials are held accountable to their constituents,” said Yunee.
As a result of the work KAC-WA is doing, Yunee hopes to see all Korean-Americans who are eligible to vote – regardless of their time in the U.S. – understand how policy decisions impact their livelihoods. She explains that KAC-WA is working to empower Korean-Americans to see themselves as leaders in public service, whether by running for local office or learning about a candidate’s political agenda.
“It’s critical for Korean-Americans to understand that their vote counts, change can happen, and that change can only happen when communities work together.”
Yunee encourages everyone to support voter education by attending community events, staying informed by reading up on the policy issues and starting a dialogue with others. She shares that KAC-WA posts upcoming events on its Facebook page and official website that all people are welcome to attend.
KAC-WA started in early 2002 as the Korean American Voters Alliance. In October 2006 it became the official Washington State chapter of the National Korean American Coalition which facilitates the Korean American community’s participation in civic, legislative, and community affairs. In January 2008, Korean American Professionals Society (KAPS) of Seattle merged with KAC-WA to combine the resources and purposes of the two organizations, and to further strengthen the Korean American community.
Pictured: KAC-WA regularly holds outreach events and informational opportunities to reach community members of all ages and inform them of their voting power.