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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Activism at Harvard Square – Courtesy of Harvard Farmer’s Market

We would like to thank both Harvard University’s Farmer’s Market for allowing our activism to continue at Cambridge and all that have donated to our booth: Harvard’s students, residents of Cambridge, and tourists from Venezuela, Canada, China, and more.

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Roommate and Volunteer Charlie Wang (Now a member and founder of the EF Chapter in St. Paul’s Coed College) (On Left)

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Roommate and Volunteer Parker Jarman (On Left)

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Superior Township’s “Superior Day”

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Congressman John Dingell

With Congressman John Dingell as a guest, opportunities to raise awareness/fundraise, and good food, we could not pass off Superior Twp’s generous invitation to attend their Annual Superior Days. We truly had a wonderful time telling our story to many others and we hope that we have inspired them

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Etheridge Thomas and Marlene Carroll

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Ann McCaslin

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Cindy Simmons

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The Superior Township Fire Department

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Mary and Beth Chaignot

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EF Young Scholars Program

The Everyone’s Free Young Scholars Program was created to support the educational aspirations of outstanding students who defected from North Korea. To insure the program grows with Everyone’s Free, the total scholarship fund will consistently be 25% of what we fundraise annually.

Each year, four students will be selected for the program. All the students of Kumkang School for North Korean children are eligible, and the applicants will be judged by the principal of Kumkang School and a board of teachers using:

1. The Student’s grade point average

2. A teacher’s report of classroom citizenship

3. An essay; questions of the essay will vary annually from academic aspirations, dreams, observations on their community, personal experiences, and more.

Young Scholars Program by Everyone’s Free

Korean Dinner 2014 (47)

Today was a momentous day. Not only was it a fantastic, celebratory conclusion to a year of admirable hard work and commitment from all our members, but also the birth of the Everyone’s Free Young Scholars Program (poster coming soon). With a portion of the money that we have raised this year, we will award 4 outstanding students in Kumkang School for North Korean defector children with a scholarship to inspire and aid in the education of these bright, but financially disadvantaged, students.

2nd Annual Korean Dinner – Featuring Shin Dong-Hyuk

300+ guests watching North Korean Camp 14 Survivor Shin Dong-Hyuk Speak

Guests watching North Korean Camp 14 Survivor Shin Dong-Hyuk Speak

With over three hundred guests, this year’s Korean Dinner was our most successful event so far; however, the most amazing aspect of the Korean Dinner was that it was a work of extensive collaboration. We sincerely thank Shin Dong-Hyuk for accepting our humble invitation to the state of Michigan and speaking at our event, Debbie Dingell for supporting our organization and advocating for North Korean human rights, Hansori from Eastern Michigan University for their traditional Korean Samulnori percussion performances, D!VERSE for performing their songs on Korean unification and human rights, the Michigan Today Publication, all the restaurants and stores in Michigan that donated food to this event, and all other individuals that generously helped out during the event.

Left to Right

From Left to Right: Kathryn Hoover, Washtenaw International High counselor; Jun-Sung Park, Everyone’s Free Org. Founder; William Garcia, Washtenaw International High IB Literature Teacher; Shin Dong-Hyuk, Humanitarian and North Korean Camp 14 Survivor; Debbie Dingell, wife of Congressman John Dingell; Megan Andrews; and Monica Choi

Shin Dong-Hyuk speaking about his escape from North Korea's notorious Camp 14

Shin Dong-Hyuk speaking about his escape from North Korea’s notorious Camp 14

Jun-Sung Park Translating for Mr. Shin Dong-Hyuk

Jun-Sung Park Translating for Mr. Shin Dong-Hyuk

Everyone's Free Org. Members serving fresh Korean Food

Everyone’s Free Org. Members serving fresh Korean Food

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Washtenaw International High School's Cafeteria quickly reaching its maximum capacity

Washtenaw International High School’s Cafeteria quickly reaching its maximum capacity

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Multilingual Hip-Hop Duo D!VERSE; on the left, Everyone's Free member Alexander Wegrzyn

Multilingual Hip-Hop Duo D!VERSE; on the left, Everyone’s Free member Alexander Wegrzyn

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