On Tuesday, August 5, the K.W. Lee Center for Leadership will host a public forum about intercountry adoption with guest speakers, a short film screening, and a question and answer session. The event will take place at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center at 1145 Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles.
The K. W. Lee Center is the sponsor of the Korean American Youth Leaders in Training (KAYLT), which gives a group of high school students the chance to organize an event within Koreatown to try to tackle important community issues. This summer’s project is the public forum.
Panelists at the event will include Korean American adoptee and Los Angeles-based hip hop artist Daniel Matthews (DANakaDAN); Emile Mack, an adoptee who serves as Commander of the South Division of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD); and Julayne Lee, who has worked with the Association of Korean Adoptees of Southern California (AKA-SoCal), an organization that serves as a link between Korean adoptees and the community, and has also served on the steering committee of Adoptee Solidarity Korea (ASK), an organization focusing on intercountry adoption from a human rights point of view.
The short film will be comprised of clips from “First Person Plural,” the account of Deann Borshay Liem as she tries to reconcile her life as the adopted daughter of an American family and uncover her unknown past in Korea, and “In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee,” the personal story of a woman who lied about her identity for 40 years.
Afterwards, the audience will be given the opportunity to have any questions answered by additional panelists during the Q&A session.
In an interview, JSR asked two of the 11 high school participants to describe the KAYLT program and how it has impacted them.
According to Lexine Kim, “I believe that you learn more through experience and the fact that I was able to band [together] and work with ten other people people has taught me more than I could’ve by working alone.”
“This program, like the name KAYLT implies, improved my leadership skills,” stated Joshua Choi.
“Before,” Choi continued, “everything had been set up for me; I had my own definite role… Here, we organize a large majority of the project ourselves, and that has really improved my leadership skills.”