Knowing 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.
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/
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.
From left to right: Aland, Jeremy, Marie, Charlie, Kevin
With the creation of an Everyone’s Free chapter in St. Paul’s Coed College in Hong Kong, the Everyone’s Free Organization is now officially an international NGO!
Ahmad Fayyad, Jasper Son, Isak Akervall, Vishal Tien, Quentin Millette, Alexander Wegrzyn, Yeonwoo Kim, Chen Zong, Hyuk Ahn, Monica Choi
We are excited to announce the creation of an Everyone’s Free Chapter in Greenhills School located in Ann Arbor, Michigan!
2014 Washtenaw International High School Members: names coming soon!
Here at the Washtenaw International High School chapter of Everyone’s Free, we are looking forward to another year of creativity, bonding, and working hard to make a difference for North Korean refugees together.
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
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.
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
We are proud to announce our first winners of our new annual Everyone’s Free Young Scholars Program: Myung Hyang Choi, Eung Beung Lee, Kim Jee-Yong, Geum Hyuk Soen (from left to right)
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
Etheridge Thomas and Marlene Carroll
The Superior Township Fire Department
Mary and Beth Chaignot
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.
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.
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.
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
Jun-Sung Park Translating for Mr. Shin Dong-Hyuk
Everyone’s Free Org. Members serving fresh Korean Food
Washtenaw International High School’s Cafeteria quickly reaching its maximum capacity
Multilingual Hip-Hop Duo D!VERSE; on the left, Everyone’s Free member Alexander Wegrzyn