(**Thank you so much to all the well wishes that came through here and in person as well as on MySpace, Facebook, etc. I’m a very happy and lucky sarahkim [so much so that I'm referring to myself in the third person].)
Many, many thanks to the folks at KAWAN…… I just found out that I will be able to attend the U.S. Social Forum next week in Atlanta!! (How funny that I was just in ATL last week when the weather forced me to spend the night inadvertantly. Thank you a million times over to M. and L.T. for the great food and great company that night!)
D.C. was an amazing experience, and I met some wonderful people there, many of whom are involved in a New York-based group called Nodutdol (a Korean community development organization). I arrived on a red-eye into Baltimore and managed to make my way to the AFL-CIO building in D.C. for the teach-in, which was comprised of two panels of trade experts as well as a lobbying workshop. On Tuesday, we spent the day running among the Congress office buildings (for those familiar with the terrain, my meetings were primarily in Longworth and Rayburn).
As an overall team of 14 people, we managed to get to 34 different Senators and Representatives (as well as the Ways & Means Commmittee). I was paired with another person and talked with staff members (not the Congresspeople directly) from Jim McDermott (WA), Adam Smith (WA), Ron Kind (WI), and John Sarbanes (MD). At one point, I misspoke and told a receptionist that we were with Korean Americans for Free Trade. D’oh! I also took it upon myself to inform one of Jim McDermott’s staff members about the American military occupation of the Korean peninsula, only to be told later that a better term is “American military presence” (doesn’t put people back on their heels so much apparently).
The amount that I learned cannot be summarized here, but needless to say, I am incredibly grateful and happy that I decided to become involved in Sahngnoksoo. I am feeling more and more connected with the API community beyond Korean adoptees. Since I’ve been back from D.C., I’ve had meetings with the ACLF Community Leaders Program, the founder of Chinese Adoptee Links, my fellow co-director of KIDS Culture Camp, and a fantastic Sahngnoksoo study group meeting where myself and J.B. talked to our members about issues facing Korean adoptees. (I also tried Patron for the first time on Saturday night and have since become a convert.)
So I am busy, but as I told H.P. tonight, this is the kind of busy that I like–rather, love. I don’t like school-busy…… but traveling, networking, meetings with people/organizations that I care about–I’m addicted.
USSF is going to be an amazing experience, and I am SO excited to be there along with:
- Almost everyone I lobbied (sp?) with in D.C.
- Sahngnoksoo folks from Seattle
- M. and L.T. (Atlanta-ites–is that even correct?)
- Harlow’s Monkey and KPN (I think?? I heard this through the grapevine?)
Yay! This means, though, that I really have to get my act together this week. Laundry, e-mails, organizing, cleaning, unpacking (I should really just leave my suitcase out), working out, etc.