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). The awards were based on the students’ scholarship, citizenship, and leadership, which were meticulously quantified by the teachers of Kumkang School and Principal Myong Hua Ju.
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
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
“Welcome Mr. Shin Dong-Hyuk” – at Detroit Metropolitan Airport – Everyone’s Free Organization Members picking up Mr. Shin
Months of invitations have finally paid off! Today, Mr. Shin Dong-Hyuk arrived in Michigan.
Below are some of our generous supporters that will make our 2nd Annual Korean Dinner possible. All the funds we raise from the Korean Dinner will go to support out cause to help save the lives of North Korean refugee children.
Supporters: The Law Office of Soo Park, Hyundai Market, Broadway Cafe, Galleria Market, BeWon Korean Restaurant, Sang Do Market, Manna Market, and Sweetwater Coffee and Tea.
Publicity is our most valuable tool for bolstering our organization’s purpose. Recently, Hong Public TV came to interview Principal Myong Hua Ju and show Hong Kong how she helps North Korean Refugees children adapt to South Korean life and prepares them for education in normal South Korean schools.
These five students have all arrived in Kumkang School at a young age and grew up at the school. The three students above have graduated from middle school, and the two below are just entering high school, wearing donated school uniforms.