Ju Hong, an undocumented student at Laney College, just launched his personal website (JoinJu.com) to garner support from the Korean American community for the DREAM Act and immigration reform. He has regularly given powerful speeches in support of this cause, taking grave risks to come out as an undocumented immigrant. Maria at DreamActivist remarks that Ju is not a spectator, but rather a gladiator for the cause. In his circles, Ju is known as ‘The Beast.’ I’ll leave everyone to hear what Ju has to say.
1. What’s your theory of change regarding immigration reform? How do you think we can make real change happen?
My theory of changing the course of immigration system is to pressure Senate and President Obama to pass the DREAM Act as well as comprehensive immigration reform. I believe that this is only way to solve our solutions because our representatives are the one who make ultimate decisions. So it’s really up to us how hard we can pressure Senate and President Obama to pass the DREAM Act.
However, this is not going to be easy. It takes time and dedication. There are several ways to pressure Senate and President Obama to make real change happen. One way is to educate other people and the community by having a workshop or a mini conference to bring social awareness and urge them to call/send letter to representatives. Second, share your story. You can always share your story in school, church, or local community to educate about our side of story. Third, join organizations and clubs to advocate about this issue. Lastly, embrace online blogs like facebook, myspace, wordpress, and twitter to reach out people and encourage them to support the DREAM Act. These are very important tactics and great effective ways to bring awareness and pressure senate and president Obama to be on our side. In short, we must come together and start to organize, mobilize, and take collective action to fix our current immigration reform. That’s the only way to make real change happen.
2. What initially led you to get involved in immigration activism?
I knew I had to do something when my mother was losing her job, and when my sister was dropping out of college. I didn’t have time to wait and wishing for politicians to do something for our family because our situations were getting worse. That’s when I initially get involved in immigration activism. First year in college, I began to join different organizations and participated in different activities to advocate about this issue. I spoke to various workshops and gave speeches to community and local churches.
3. What has inspired you to come out and be so open about your status, especially since most DREAMIEs who are speaking out publicly tend to be fighting deportation?
I, too, just like any other undocumented students, afraid to come out from the shadow. But if nobody else is going to come out, then who will? There are several reasons that I decided to come out from the shadow, and speak on behalf of undocumented students. First, I wanted to bring social awareness and educate other people about OUR situation. Secondly, I wanted to reach out organizations and other DREAMIE’s to build social network. Thirdly, I wanted to show examples and encourage other fellow DREAMIES to come out from the shadow and talk about their story. Lastly, foremost important reason why I decided to come out from the shadow is because it affects my mom, my sister, and me. I don’t want to sit and wait for another ten year to fix the broken immigration system. It’s challenging and risky to come out from the shadow, but I believe this is only way to gain our rights.
4. What do you say to those who ask you to go back to Korea?
It’s very hard-breaking when I hear these things from Korean American citizens. In fact, I had couple of Korean friends who asked me to go back to Korea. I was angry and felt betrayed by my own friends, but I knew they didn’t know my whole side of story. So next time, when other people ask me to go back to Korea, I would surely tell them to listen to our side of stories first before make a judgment call.
5. Your message for other undocumented students.
For the next couple of months, we have to come out from the shadow and work together to pass the DREAM Act as well as Comprehensive immigration reform. We can reach goals only if we start to organize, mobilize, and take collective actions to let our voice be heard. Time is so critical, so we must come together and take direction actions starting today!
Please check out JoinJu.com where Ju blogs regularly.
(Video Credit: BayAreaS4FC)