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On May 15, 2013, New York State Assemblymember Ron Kim conducted a special lecture at the Asian Historic Justice Internship class. The Asian Historic Justice Internship is an educational internship program run jointly by the Korean American Civic Empowerment and the Kupferberg Holocaust Center.

Assemblymember Kim stated that he learned about the “comfort women” when he visited Korea five years ago, and stopped by the House of Sharing on the way. He learned about the “comfort women” for the first time, and began to take interest in the issues that torment the survivors till today.

Although the survivors are old and frail now, they were young when they were subject to horrible war crimes committed against them. When the survivors shared their experiences with Kim, he was greatly moved.

Mentioning the Mayor of Osaka’s ridiculous statement, Kim stated that the mayor does not speak for all of the Japanese people, and some nationalists still fantasize that they are living in the 1920s-30s. As global citizens, people must admit their wrongdoings and open a new era, but it appears that the nationalists are not ready to go out into the world. Kim also mentioned that the Japanese nationalists are misogynists. Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka, stated that the “comfort women” were a necessity, and he urged the American Marines to use the red-light districts in Okinawa. Kim stated that such ignorant comments can only come out if they are stuck in the 1920s’ state of mind.

Because of these facts, Kim underscored the importance of the roles of Korean American Civic Empowerment, the Kupferberg Holocaust Center, and the interns in the program. As the survivors pass away one by one, each and every one of those interns must be a witness to spread their testimonies.

The interns asked about how Ron Kim came to be elected, and his role as a 1.5 generation Korean American.

The interns are currently preparing to interview the survivors in June.

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KOREAN AMERICAN CIVIC EMPOWERMENT
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