Our Organization in Greater Context

Case by case and child by child our organization rescues defector children, and guides the development of the already rescued children with volunteer educators, mentorship, and donations.

In context to an entire nation of people famine and oppression, our work may easily seem futile. With every child we save, there are always countless others that we cannot reach.

But there is a much grander plan to our efforts, we work with these children:

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Because they have the potential to become an entire generation of individuals like them:

Left to Right; top: Song Byeok, Shin Dong-Hyuk, Park Yeon-Mi bottom: Lee Seung-chul with a choir of North Korean defectors, Kang Chol-Hwan

Left to Right; top: Song Byeok, Shin Dong-Hyuk, Park Yeon-Mi
bottom: Lee Seung-chul with a choir of North Korean defectors, Kang Chol-Hwan

Amazing individuals who lead the international movement today for North Korean human rights as activists, political artists, and authors.

The prolonged suffering these children faced on their journeys to seek freedom, at such young ages, did not leave these children’s spirits damaged, but made them stronger. From teaching and mentoring these children, we have seen their extraordinary tenacity in reaching their goals, and an uncommon resiliency to changes in their lives. With guidance, support, and proper education, we know that these children can grow up to become a generation of leaders for the human rights movement, and more.

The ultimate solution to ending North Korean oppression is reunification, and the North Korean defectors also have the binational experience to stand between the North and the South as a living bridge to reconcile the differences between the two sides, and bring the divided nation closer together to catalyze a peaceful process of unification.

We consider each of our efforts as an organization to be an investment in the international movement for both North Korean human rights, and Korean reunification.

Preparing for the 3rd Annual Korean Dinner – WIHI Chapter

With our 3rd Korean Dinner, we hope to continue our pattern of annual growth with more food, guests, and entertainment for all. All of the funds we raise will be used to help our cause of improving the lives of North Korean defector children, and supporting their education with our scholarship program.

We owe our dinner entertainment to the generosity of Eun-Gyung Lee, who will perform solo traditional Korean dances; Hansori, Eastern Michigan University’s Korean Samul Nori percussion group; magician Jee-Il Han; and contemporary dancer Joo-Ri Jung.

Additionally, the Everyone’s Free Organization thanks all of the generous stores and restaurants (below) who have promised donations to make our third annual Korean Dinner at Washtenaw International High School possible.

Hana Korean Restaurant

Hana Korean Restaurant

BeWon Korean Restaurant

BeWon Korean Restaurant

Hyundai Market

Hyundai Market

Galleria Market

Galleria Market

Manna Oriental Market

Manna Oriental Market

We also thank Nagomi restaurant and the Soo Park Law Office (not shown above) for their generous donations.

St. Paul’s Co-ed College Raises Awareness of the Plight of North Korean Refugees, Shows Parts of “The Interview”

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For the Hong Kong Chapter of Everyone’s Free, an awareness-raising campaign was held with the enthusiastic support from the local team members and teachers. The campaign displayed pictures, posters and artworks showing the current situation of North Korean refugees, with the team members acting as narrators to provide more detailed explanations to the schoolmates. Participants also watched a few interesting clips from the recent comedy “The Interview”. In the end the chapter president Charlie Wang gave a speech on how students could contribute to helping the North Korean refugees. The participants all expressed that they have not only gained much more knowledge on North Korean refugees, but also had a great time.
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Christmas 2014 at Kumkang School for North Korean Children

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Everyone’s Free Greenhills members, Jee-Hyun Kim and Alex Wegrzyn unloading our gifts

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aThis yeat, a few Everyone’s Free Greenhills chapter members spent their Christmas in Korea at Kumkang School for North Korean children. They brought the gifts for the school we have prepared and served as mentors and volunteer teachers for the students throughout their winter.

Holiday Gifts for North Korean Orphans at Kumkang School

Gallery Walk 2014 003Knowing that the students at Kumkang School greatly enjoy the holiday season as well as that many of these students suffer from malnourishment having come recently from North Korea, we decided to gift a personlized letter as well as a year’s worth of vitamins to every student at Kumkang School for North Korean Children.

These gifts will be brought to the students this summer during our annual winter teaching visit to Kumkang School.

 

Update: N. Korean Refugee Children of Laos Face Execution and Prison Camp

Last year, 9 North Korean refugee children were forcibly repatriated from Laos by the North Korean embassy due to the disturbing, 17 day inaction of the South Korean embassy to retrieve the children from the Laos Police.

The truly grave consequences of the South Korean embassy’s inaction have finally materialized as 2 of the 9 refugee children were executed, while the rest were sent to Camp 14, a horrific North Korean prison camp notorious for egregious human rights abuses where most of its inmates spend their whole lives.

For further reading: http://www.everyonesfree.com/2013/06/01/9-north-korean-orphan-refugees-repatriated-most-likely-to-face-death/

UN Resolution Pushes for North Korea Referral to ICC

http://www.dailysabah.com/asia/2014/11/19/un-pushes-against-north-korean-human-rights-record

http://www.dailysabah.com/asia/2014/11/19/un-pushes-against-north-korean-human-rights-record

With a 111-19 vote and 55 abstentions, the United Nations passed a resolution urging the Security Council to prosecute North Korea in the International Criminal Court. This was incited by a report by the United Nations Human Rights Committee’s report on North Korea’s widespread human rights abuses.

Although this was a significant step forward for the international human rights regime, more needs to be done as China and Russia, nations that have voted against the resolution, both have veto power in the Security council and will most likely oppose any efforts to bring North Korea to justice in the ICC. In addition to the actions of China and Russia, North Korea has also opposed the international humanitarian efforts agains them by making tactical concessions such as releasing american prisoners (including Kenneth Bae), threatening further nuclear testing, and discrediting the North Korean defectors who have brought first hand testimony against North Korea. Attacks againts North Korean defector and humanitarian activist Mr. Shin Dong-Hyuk were especially severe: “They put my dad in the media, and broadcasted my life is a complete lie, threatened me and my family, and list is exhaustive” described Mr. Shin Dong-Hyuk.

By opposing bringing North Korea to the ICC despite the clear evidence that establish North Korea’s regime as the worst human rights abuser in the world, China and Russia would be placed in very difficult situations as world superpowers that turn a blind eye towards egregious crimes against humanity. It is the hope of the Everyone’s Free Organizations that China and Russia realize the valuable opportunity to intervene in North Korea that would be missed as well as the greatly detrimental precedents their actions would set for the international community.

Gallery Walk: The Reality in North Korean Prison Camps

Gallerywalk 2014 (2) We wanted to raise awareness of the unjust treatment the people of North Korea suffer in prison camps to the whole of Washtenaw International High School. Thanks to the generosity of the South Korean Consulate General in Chicago, we were able to hold an exhibition of their gallery set detailing conditions in the prison camps after school. We hope that this exhibition will inspire both students and teachers alike to stand action against the conditions of the North Korean prison camps.Gallerywalk 2014 (5) Gallerywalk 2014 (10) Gallerywalk 2014 (11) Gallerywalk 2014 (4) Gallerywalk 2014 (7) Gallerywalk 2014 (1) Gallerywalk 2014 (6) Gallerywalk 2014 (9) Gallerywalk 2014 (12) Gallerywalk 2014 (13)

Gallerywalk 2014 (8)

Washtenaw International High School Chapter’s 2014 Movie Night to Save a Life

This event would not have been possible if not for the dedication and teamwork of our new and more experienced members alike and the generous support of their parents.

This event would not have been possible if not for the dedication and teamwork of our new and more experienced members alike and the generous support of their parents.

To kick off the year, we held our second annual Movie Night to Save A Life at Washtenaw International High School. We continued our tradition of pampering our guests by serving a wide variety of complementary foods and drinks including ramen, pizza, sushi (freshly made by our members), soda, and bubble tea (also made by our members).

This year’s film choice was Welcome to Dongmakgol, a culture rich comedy set during the Korean War where North and South Korea soldiers are forced to live amongst each other in a secluded village where people know nothing about the war.

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We also added an element of worldly education for our event by holding an exhibition that raises awareness of North Korea prison camps and their brutal conditions, courtesy of the Consulate General of South Korea in Chicago.

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From the Office of Cesar Cruz, Harvard Summer School Assistant Dean

Indeed we have heard that youth are our future; however, often times adults and political disagreements make it impossible for young people to have a future at all. The youth of North and South Korea deserve a future. It is difficult to take political stances when much of the information that people in the Western Hemisphere received is very much skewed in one direction. It is easy to demonize that which we do not understand or that which we “choose” to make as our enemy. Children are no-one’s enemy. I hope that both Koreans and people from all over the world engage in the complex work of building one Korea. A people should not be divided. That work may appear “impossible” but one must dream beyond the societal barriers placed in front of us. I challenge this young man, John Park, to do the most difficult of work; to see beyond hate, beyond political battle lines and to seek for a united Korea. The forces of power, greed and imperialism are mighty strong, but the will of the people, organized, can move mountains. May mountains get moved.
Cesar A. Cruz
Assistant Dean, Harvard Summer School, Summer 2014

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Not just his words, but his actions are truly inspirational to our organization. As the founder of the Homies Empowerment Program and an educational activist, Mr. Cruz is a visionary and a leader that exemplifies how “people, organized, can move mountains”. He has worked for over twenty years in educational activism by tackling educational inequality, the rise of high school dropout rates, and gang violence in California. Please support his cause and like the Homies Empowerment Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Homies-Empowerment-ProgramAdelante/391011680935287?fref=photo and donate to his organization by purchasing Homies Empowerment apparel at http://www.cafepress.com/teolol.

 

Korean Independence Day Festival and Comfort Women Peace Statue Dedication

Husband and Wife Sculptors Suk-Hyun Kim and Oon Sung Kim next to their newest creation:  A statute to remember the plight of Korean 'comfort' women during the Japanese occupation of Korea

Husband and Wife Sculptors Suk-Hyun Kim and Oon Sung Kim next to their newest creation: A statute to remember the plight of Korean ‘comfort’ women during the Japanese occupation of Korea

Consulate General Roden with Mrs. Roden

Consulate General Roden with Mrs. Roden

Speaking to gather interest and raise awareness

Speaking about Everyone’s Free to all the attendees of the Independence day Festival

Left to Right: Sang-Hyuk Lee, Matthew S. Lee, and Hugh Gersch

Benefactors, both young and old; left to right: Sang-Hyuk Lee, Matthew S. Lee, and Hugh Gersch

The Everyone's Free Team of the Day

The Everyone’s Free Team of the Day

 

Club Fair 2014 Washtenaw International High School

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Welcome, potential new members and students of Washtenaw International High School! I hope that you have been able to find yourself amongst these photos and continue to remain interested in attending meetings, which will be held on tuesdays (more information will be distributed via email). Every year, our chapter at this school outdoes itself, and this year is your own opportunity to be a part of a growing student movement founded in your school by doing hands on work that will help change the lives of many North Korean refugees.

Sincerely, President and Founder of the Everyone’s Free Organization

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