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May 2009

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Nodutdol Updates

Nodutdol at APA Heritage Day Festival

We need your support!
This summer, Nodutdol will be running our very first college internship program. We are excited about this new step in developing leadership skills in the Korean American community. The interns will play a critical role in the Peace Treaty Campaign by organizing events, developing workshop materials and launching an online forum. But all of this will not be possible without your help.
We are calling on you- if each person donated just $20, we would have enough money to run our program AND give our interns a modest stipend. Please click on 'Donate' in the right column. It will link you to our secure online donation page. Help guarantee the future of grassroots organizing in the Korean community!

March for Respect and Dignity for Immigrant Workers!
On April 19th, Nodutdol participated in a local march for immigrant rights. We marched down Roosevelt Ave. with community organizations and individuals demanding respect and dignity for all immigrant workers, stopping at sites of police harassment of day laborers in Woodside and fraudulent work agencies that scam undocumented workers out of money. Nodutdol looks forward to future actions!

Nodutdol participates in the CAPA Asian/Pacific American Heritage Festival
Despite the cold and rain (in May!), Nodutdol went out to table and outreach at the 30th annual APA Heritage Festival in Dag Hammerskjold Plaza with dozens of other Asian American organizations and vendors. Even in the rain, we met and talked with lots of people, gaining support for our campaign to End the Korean War, Peace Treaty Now. Go to for more information or email to learn how you can get involved!

Save the Date! Saturday, June 20- Fundraiser for DPRK Exposure and Education Program (DEEP)
The 2009 DEEP delegation to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea will leave in July. Come out and help us raise enough money to bring much needed medical supplies to the DPRK.
Location and Program TBA

Nodutdol commemorates the Gwangju Massacre with Art and Poetry

Hong Sung Dam, Leaflets of Warriors 1, 1985 Woodcut

The Gwangju Massacre of May 1980 was an important moment in Korea's history, a turning point for Koreans on the peninsula and in the U.S. It was an episode that sparked the democratization movement in Korea, as it exposed the reality of its military dictatorship – and the true relationship of the U.S. government and military to South Korea and the Korean people. The impact was felt by many Korean Americans as well, and in that way, led to the eventual founding of Nodutdol.

In 1980, trade unionists, students and ordinary people all over South Korea had been protesting for months for worker’s rights and democracy after 19 years of military dictatorship. The previous dictator, Park Chung Hee had been assassinated and Major Chun Doo Hwan had just taken power in a coup and began to brutally suppress the democratization movement.
In Gwangju, the sixth largest city in south Korea, people rose up against the Chun Doo Hwan dictatorship in May 1980. The dictatorship sent in military forces and paramilitary groups into the city, resulting in over 2000 casualties and several hundreds of people, including children, were massacred in the streets, and then thrown into mass graves. For many years, this was suppressed history, and mention of the uprising and massacre was dangerous. Only in 1997 were Chun Doo Hwan and others convicted of their crimes, and in 2002, finally, a memorial cemetery was built to honor those who fought and died for democracy.

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Highlight on the Film A Song for Ourselves

It’s Asian Pacific Heritage month, and a new documentary film, “A Song for Ourselves” by Tadashi Nakamura is a timely reminder of the beginnings of the Asian Pacific American movement.
The film profiles the life and too-early passing of a figure from the movement – Chris Iijima. A Japanese American born in NY, Chris, along with Nobuko Miyamoto and “Charlie” Chin, became known as the “voice” of the Asian American movement in the early 1970s. Their group, Yellow Pearl, which produced the 1973 album A Grain of Sand: Music for the Struggle by Asians in America, was an important part of the development of an Asian American identity at that time. Yellow Pearl would travel to different cities and communities, singing at meetings, schools, rallies and protests, making visible and ear-catchingly audible, the voice of a progressive Asian American movement that was aligned with the anti-Vietnam war movement, pro-Black and Latin power movements, that stood with Korean progressives calling for U.S. troops to get out of Korea, and more.
This was at a time when the term “Asian American” was just coming into existence. In fact, Chris’s mother, Kazu Iijima, a long time activist herself, was one of the founders of NY’s first Asian American activist organization, Asian Americans for Action (Triple A) in 1968.

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About Nodutdol eNews

Nodutdol eNews is the monthly e-mail newsletter of Nodutdol.Through grassroots organization and community development, Nodutdol seeks to bridge divisions created by war, nation, gender, sexual orientation, language, classes and generation among Koreans and to empower our community to address the injustice we and other people of color face here and abroad. Nodutdol works in collaboration with other progressive organizations locally, nationally and internationally as part of a larger movement for peace and social change.

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