September KPN 2022 Newsletter

Dear Friend,

Please join us for the October 2022 Week of Action for Peace in Korea! From October 11-14, we will be contacting members of Congress and urging them to support H.R. 3446, the Peace on the Korean Peninsula Act. This is our last collective push for H.R. 3446, so we hope you’ll join us!

Register now. The deadline is October 7, 2022.

In other updates, Korea Peace Now! campaign partner Women Cross DMZ released a statement today in response to Vice President Kamala Harris’ recent visit to the DMZ. Read the statement here.

Crossings continues to screen at venues around the world, including in South Korea (see below for details) and at the United Nations Association Film Festival in Palo Alto, California, on October 29. Tickets for the Oct. 29 in-person screening will go on sale Monday, October 3. Check here for more details.

Also, after we sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, expressing our disappointment about the renewal of the Trump-era travel ban on U.S. citizens traveling to North Korea, we produced a fact sheet on four reasons why the U.S. needs to end the North Korea travel ban. Read it here.

We also celebrated Chuseok this month, co-sponsoring Rosa Kwak’s virtual cookalong webinar for her award-winning kimchi buns with the LIFT campaign and tabling at the San Francisco Korean Center’s Bay Area Chuseok festival. It was great to meet so many of our followers in person and to talk to new people about our work!

Caption: Korea Peace Now! Grassroots Network Bay Area chapter members Sung Sohn and Kathleen Richards

Finally, Women Cross DMZ’s Advocacy Director Colleen Moore was recently a featured guest on Ploughshares Fund’s Press the Button podcast to discuss the resumption of U.S.-South Korea war drills on the peninsula and the renewal of the U.S. travel ban to North Korea. You can listen here.

Upcoming Crossings Screenings

October 1, 2022, 1 PM KST, Imjingak Pyeonghwa-Nuri Park Art Stage 임진각 아트스테이지 / GV (관객과의 대화)

October 2, 2022, 4:30 PM KST, Imjingak Pyeonghwa-Nuri Park Art stage 임진각 아트스테이지

October 4, 2022, 2:00 PM KST, Cine Q Sindorim 씨네Q 신도림점 / 인사 나눔 with Deann Borshay Liem (Director 감독), Christine Ahn (Women Cross DMZ Executive Director 워민크로스디엠지 사무총장, 한미미 (World YWCA Vice President 세계YWCA 부회장)

October 4, 2022, 8:00 PM KST, Hantan River Spa Hotel 철원 한탄리버스파호텔 / GV 자유 대화

October 29, 2022, 1 pm PT: United Nations Association Film Festival, Mitchell Park Community Center, 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, CA

We sent a letter to the State Department about the North Korea travel ban

Dear Friend,

As you may be aware, the State Department, unfortunately, decided to renew the Trump-era ban on US citizens traveling to North Korea. This travel ban is not only unnecessary but harmful.

In response, we sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken expressing our disappointment and urging him to amend or lift the ban. We believe the ban should be lifted for the following reasons: to enable Korean Americans, especially the elderly, to reunite with their loved ones in North Korea before it’s too late; to allow civil society efforts and people-to-people exchanges that are crucial to building trust; to help facilitate the repatriation of U.S. servicemen remains from the Korean War and bring closure to thousands of American families; and to allow U.S. humanitarian organizations to resume their life-saving work.

The letter is signed by prominent American leaders representing a diverse cross-section of civil society, including Gloria Steinem, Kee Park of Harvard Medical School, filmmaker Abigail Disney, Jack Rendler of Amnesty International, and Governor Bill Richardson.

Read the full letter here.

Crossings screenings continue

In other news, August was a busy month for Crossings. The film screened at the Asian American International Film Festival in New York on August 4 and was featured in Forbes, which noted “Crossings is an inspiring film about activism—in which a group of women set out to accomplish a seemingly impossible mission and, despite serious obstacles and setbacks, succeed in making an important statement.” Clips of the film were also screened at a benefit for Women Cross DMZ organized by LAKMA (Los Angeles Korean American Musicians’ Association) at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on August 6, pictured below. This concert was attended by more than 1,500 people and featured stirring performances — including Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, and a unique interpretation of Arirang — for peace.

Also in Los Angeles, Women Cross DMZ and GYOPO held a standing-room-only screening of Crossings at the Robinson S.P.A.C.E on August 7, followed by a Q&A with me, Deann Borshay Liem, and Aiyoung Choi, moderated by activist and attorney Cathi Choi, who is also the new co-coordinator of the Korea Peace Now! Grassroots chapter in Los Angeles!

Crossings filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem, Women Cross DMZ Executive Director Christine Ahn, WCDMZ Board President Aiyoung Choi, and attorney and activist Cathi Choi.

Other updates

We’re also happy to share that Rep. Peter Welch [D-VT-At Large] signed on to H.R. 3446, the Peace on the Korean Peninsula Act, making him the 43rd co-sponsor.

Last month we published the seventh article in the Feminist Peace Initiative’s series on RIMPAC in Foreign Policy in Focus. Activists Kozue Akibayashi and Suzuyo Takazato write about how RIMPAC exacerbates the patriarchal and racialized defense cooperation between the U.S. and Japan.

Later in the month, Women Cross DMZ’s Advocacy Director Colleen Moore authored a special edition of the Progressive Foreign Policy Debrief for Win Without War about the Biden administration’s decision to exempt the Korean Peninsula from its commitment to limit the use of landmines. She was also a featured guest on No Alibis, a segment on KCSB – FM91.9. Finally, I was featured on KPFA’s UpFront to discuss the implications of the recent joint U.S. and South Korea military exercises — the largest in five years.

Upcoming Events:

  • Crossings will be featured in the fifth annual meeting of the Presbyterian Peace Network for Korea on September 7, 12 pm ET. An in-person and virtual discussion will follow after the screening. Check Women Cross DMZ’s Crossings page for the latest updates on upcoming screenings.
  • On September 10 at 2 pm ET/11 am PT, Rosa Kwak will teach us how to make her award-winning kimchi buns in a virtual cookalong webinar. 🍞 A recipe list will be sent a week before the event, and we’ll all cook together on Chuseok! This event is sponsored by the LIFT campaign, Nodutdol, and Korea Peace Now. Register here.

Finally, please join me in welcoming Women Cross DMZ’s new Communications Associate, Giboom Park! Giboom was one of Women Cross DMZ’s Feminist Korea Peace Fellows last year and is a recent graduate of Northwestern University. Welcome, Giboom!

Thank you for supporting us!

Christine Ahn

 

Register now for Korea Peace Advocacy Week!

Join
hundreds of people across the country in nationally coordinated virtual
advocacy meetings for peace in Korea! We will be urging Members of
Congress to support:

  • A peace agreement to end the Korean War (H.R.3446, the Peace on the Korean Peninsula Act)
  • Life-saving humanitarian assistance to North Korea (H.R.1504, the Enhancing North Korea Humanitarian Assistance Act)
  • The
    reunification of separated Korean Americans with their loved ones in
    North Korea (S.2688, the Korean War Divided Families Reunification Act)

Register now!

 

 

What to expect:

Prior to advocacy week, you will:

  • Be trained on how to lobby Members of Congress
  • Have the opportunity to learn how to communicate effectively to your Representatives on meaningful issues
  • (Training and webinars will take place at 8pm ET in the week prior to advocacy week.)

During advocacy week, you will:

  • Have one to three meetings with Members of Congress and/or their staff
  • (Meetings
    with Members of Congress will take place during the week, typically
    between 9am and 6pm ET, and last about 30 minutes. Coordinators will do
    their best to work with your schedule.)

After advocacy week, you will:

  • Have the option to attend a casual virtual or in-person happy hour and debrief

Organized by Korea Peace Network (Korea Peace Now! Grassroots Network, Peace Treaty Now, Korea Peace Network)

 

 

Register now for Korea Peace Advocacy Week!

Join hundreds of people across the country in nationally coordinated virtual advocacy meetings for peace in Korea! We will be urging members of Congress to support:

  • A peace agreement to end the Korean War (H.R.3446, the Peace on the Korean Peninsula Act)
  • Life-saving humanitarian assistance to North Korea (H.R.1504, the Enhancing North Korea Humanitarian Assistance Act)
  • The
    reunification of separated Korean Americans with their loved ones in
    North Korea (S.2688, the Korean War Divided Families Reunification Act)

Register by May 26!

What to expect:

Prior to advocacy week, you will:

  • Be trained on how to lobby Members of Congress
  • Have the opportunity to learn how to communicate effectively to your Representatives on meaningful issues
  • (Training and webinars will take place at 8pm ET in the week prior to advocacy week.)

During advocacy week, you will:

  • Have one to three meetings with Members of Congress and/or their staff
  • (Meetings
    with Members of Congress will take place during the week, typically
    between 9am and 6pm ET, and last about 30 minutes. Coordinators will do
    their best to work with your schedule.)

After advocacy week, you will:

  • Have the option to attend a casual virtual or in-person happy hour and debrief

Organized by Korea Peace Network (Korea Peace Now! Grassroots Network, Peace Treaty Now, Korea Peace Network)

TODAY: Join us for “LIFTing Voices for Peace: Korean American Authors on the Un-Ended Korean War”

Today at 7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT, join us for “LIFTing Voices for Peace: Korean American Authors on the Un-Ended Korean War.”

Writers Grace M. Cho and Gary Pak will share their work and engage in a conversation about separated families, the traumas of war, and the importance of lifting the ban on travel to North Korea.

Click HERE to register.

Grace Cho, who most recently is the Winner of the 2022 Asian/Pacific American Award in Literature, was a  Finalist for the 2021 National Book Award for Nonfiction, and whose book Tastes Like War was A TIME and NPR Best Book of the Year in 2021. She is a professor of sociology at CUNY; her previous book, Haunting the Korean Diaspora, was published in 2008 and she is an active scholar.

Gary Pak was a professor of English at the University of Hawaii until his recent retirement. He is the author of many works, including The Watcher of Waipuna and Other Stories, A Ricepaper Airplane, Children of a Fireland, Language of the Geckos and Other Stories, Brothers Under a Same Sky, Chon-go Ma-bi / High Sky, and Horse Fattening: Essays on Contemporary Korean Culture. He co-edited Yobo: Korean American Writing in Hawai‘i (Bamboo Ridge Press, 2003). He has published a children’s play, Beyond the Falls, which was produced by the Honolulu Theater for Youth in 2001.

This event is hosted by LIFT (Let Individuals Freely Travel), a campaign to reinstate the long-standing US policy that allowed US citizens to travel freely to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (aka North Korea). The LIFT campaign is a joint initiative of the Korea Peace Network, the Korea Peace Now! Grassroots Network, and Peace Treaty Now.

Join us for these upcoming events on Korea Peace

Dear friend,
We’re excited to announce two upcoming events on Korea Peace:

On April 26 at 7:30 pm ET/4:30 pm PT, join us for “LIFTing Voices for Peace: Korean American Authors on the Un-Ended Korean War.”

Writers Grace M. Cho and Gary Pak will share their work and engage in a conversation about separated families, the traumas of war, and the importance of lifting the ban on travel to North Korea.

Click HERE to register.

Grace Cho, who most recently is the Winner of the 2022 Asian/Pacific American Award in Literature, was a  Finalist for the 2021 National Book Award for Nonfiction, and whose book Tastes Like War was A TIME and NPR Best Book of the Year in 2021. She is a professor of sociology at CUNY; her previous book, Haunting the Korean Diaspora, was published in 2008 and she is an active scholar.

Gary Pak was a professor of English at the University of Hawaii until his recent retirement. He is the author of many works, including The Watcher of Waipuna and Other Stories, A Ricepaper Airplane, Children of a Fireland, Language of the Geckos and Other Stories, Brothers Under a Same Sky, Chon-go Ma-bi / High Sky, and Horse Fattening: Essays on Contemporary Korean Culture. He co-edited Yobo: Korean American Writing in Hawai‘i (Bamboo Ridge Press, 2003). He has published a children’s play, Beyond the Falls, which was produced by the Honolulu Theater for Youth in 2001. This event is hosted by LIFT (Let Individuals Freely Travel), a campaign to reinstate the long-standing US policy that allowed US citizens to travel freely to Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (aka North Korea).

This campaign is a joint initiative of the Korea Peace Network, the Korea Peace Now! Grassroots Network, and Peace Treaty Now.

Secondly, for those in the Los Angeles area, CROSSINGS will have its West Coast premiere at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival on May 10! Filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem and Christine Ahn will appear in-person. Ticketing for the general public will be available starting Friday, April 15 at 5pm PT here.

Watch the trailer for CROSSINGS by clicking on the image below:


We hope you’ll join us!

 

TAKE ACTION:

Call for Peace, Not Military Threats

Later this month, the US and South Korea are set to conduct combined large-scale military exercises. We call on the governments of South Korea and the United States to suspend the combined military exercises and instead actively pursue a path to peace. Urge your Member of Congress to cosponsor H.R.3446, the Peace on the Korean Peninsula Act, in order to support peace and reconciliation, not military confrontation and pressure.

Contact your member of Congress here.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

April 23, 11:40am-1:30pm ET: Human Chain to Unite 2 Koreas: The 6.15 NY Committee for Reunification of Korea will stage a human chain from the North Korean to South Korean UN Missions in New York to symbolize our dream of bringing the two Koreas together. Meet at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at 2nd Ave/47th St. For questions, email soobokkim000@gmail.com or mjang_us@yahoo.com.

May 2, 12pm PT/3pm ET: Unmute Yourself: Peace Now on the Korean Peninsula! An online conversation hosted by Ploughshares President Emma Belcher, with guests Christine Ahn, Abigail Disney, and Deann Borshay Liem. Register here.

May 10, 7:30pm PT: CROSSINGS West Coast premiere at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. Tickets on sale on 4/15 here.

 

RECENT MEDIA:



For International Women’s Day, a Powerful Message for Peace

Dear Friend,

To mark International Women’s Day, we want to highlight some of our recent efforts for lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Last week, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and growing tensions in the Northeast Asia region, we organized a letter from 100 women leaders from more than 20 countries to U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and North Korea’s First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son-hui, urging them to help set the stage for a diplomatic solution to avoid possible war.

Without progress in negotiations between the US and North Korea for three years now, we called on the two highest-ranking women diplomats, Choe and Sherman, to help restart talks. The letter — which is signed by Nobel Peace laureates, parliamentarians, feminist activists and scholars, humanitarian workers, and others, including Gloria Steinem, South Korean Ambassador for Gender Equality Youngsook Cho, and Canadian Senator Marilou McPhedran — called on the U.S. to give up its “maximum pressure” campaign in order to achieve progress. Read the full letter here.

In other news, we’re happy to report new supporters of H.R.3446, the Peace on the Korean Peninsula Act. In recent months, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA33), Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL1), and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD8) have all signed on as co-sponsors.

Supporting women’s peace efforts are all the more crucial in light of recent attacks by well-financed interests seeking to prolong the Korean War. Investigative reporter Eli Clifton just published a damning expose in The Nation revealing just who is behind these efforts and what their financial motivations are.

In short, Annie M.H. Chan is the wealthy chairwoman of One Korea Network and the Korea Conservative Political Action Conference, which funded the costly advertising blitz attacking pro-peace efforts last year. Chan peddles conspiracy theories and fearmongering about North Korean and Chinese influence in South Korea and the US, and has financial ties to firms that export nuclear technology from the US and South Korea. “Fearmongering about Chinese aggression and influence, promoting the use and export of nuclear power technology, and maintaining a militarized US-South Korea alliance all serve Chan’s ideological and business interests,” writes Clifton. Read the full article here.

Although these well-funded attacks try to paint those calling for peace in Korea as fringe, we know that our desires for peace are shared by a broad, diverse and multi-generational movement, from members of divided Korean families to those who fought in the Korean War. We are a powerful grassroots movement and, together, we collectively call for Korea peace now!

Thank you for supporting us.

In peace,

Christine Ahn

P.S. Here are some recent media clips:

RECENT MEDIA


A Recap of Last Week’s Webinar on Human Rights and Peace

Dear Friend,

Last week, on the occasion of Human Rights Day, Women Cross DMZ and Korea Peace Now! hosted the panel discussion “Peace and Human Rights in North Korea: An Argument for Ending the War.

The event explored the intersection of human rights and peace in the context of US-North Korea relations and the role of the unended Korean War. Speakers included Tomás Ojea Quintana, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea; Elizabeth Beavers, a national security and human rights attorney and advocate; and Su-mi Jeon, a South Korean human rights lawyer.

In case you missed it, here are some highlights from each speaker:

Tomás Ojea Quintana: “A peace settlement could allow for concrete treatment of human rights issues. … An opening for peace talks could allow for an opening in human rights cooperation and engagement.”

(click here or on the image above to watch)

Elizabeth Beavers: “There’s no reason to believe that continued militarism, sanctions, and pressure are helpful to the cause of human rights, nor should we believe that peace and normalized relations would be harmful to that cause…. That said, there are many reasons to believe a peace agreement, unlike our current militaristic policies, could lead to positive human rights outcomes.”

(click here or on the image above to watch)

Su-mi Jeon: “To improve the human rights of North Korean defectors, peace on the Korean Peninsula is desperately needed. In order for human rights and peace to coexist on the Korean Peninsula, we must think about human rights in both Koreas.”

(click here or on the image above to watch)

Watch the entire webinar here.

Also, read Elizabeth and Su-mi’s op-ed in The Hill about why human rights concerns should not be an obstacle to peace with North Korea. And read the remarks delivered by Korea Peace Now! consultant Youkyoung Ko to the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Korea and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the importance of ending seven decades of war and hostilities.

To learn more about the implications of a peace agreement for human rights, download our one-page fact sheet from our Path to Peace report.

And as Christine Ahn recently noted in her recent NK News op-ed, an end of war declaration could help improve the security of Koreans and Americans.

As 2021 draws near to a close, we’re wishing for peace on earth and especially in Korea.

We’re able to continue our education, organizing, and advocacy work due to hundreds of donors who give large and small donations. Please help us continue our work in 2022 by making a tax-deductible donation today.

Happy holidays and happy new year.

Everyone at Korea Peace Now!

You’re Invited: Dec. 9, “Peace and Human Rights in North Korea”

Dear {{ FirstName | default: “Friend” }},

When we advocate for peace with North Korea, we often hear the response, “but what about human rights?”

That’s why we’re hosting “Peace and Human Rights in North Korea: An Argument For Ending the War” on Thursday, December 9 at 4pm ET/1pm PT/11am HT. This online event — which will take place the same week as International Human Rights Day — will grapple with the impact of the ongoing Korean War on human rights and how peace can help advance human rights in the context of US-North Korea relations.

Sr. Tomás Ojea Quintana, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea, will provide introductory remarks. Women Cross DMZ Executive Director Christine Ahn will facilitate the panel discussion with Elizabeth Beavers, a national security and human rights attorney and advocate, and Su-mi Jeon, a South Korean human rights lawyer. The webinar will include an opportunity for audience Q&A.

Register for the event here.

And to further understand how peace can advance not only human rights but also denuclearization and true human security, join us for “How a Peace-First Approach Can Resolve the Security Crisis on the Korean Peninsula” on Monday, Dec. 13 at 9pm ET/6pm PT/4pm HT; Tuesday, Dec. 14 at 1pm AEDT. This event will act as the Australian launch of the Korea Peace Now! report Path to Peace: The Case for a Peace Agreement to End the Korean War, and will be hosted by The Initiative for Peacebuilding at the University of Melbourne, in collaboration with the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.

Panelists will include:

  • Christine Ahn, Executive Director of Women Cross DMZ and a co-author of the report.
  • Meri Joyce, Northeast Asia Regional Liaison Officer for the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC),Women Cross DMZ and Goodwill Ambassador for Peace on the Korean Peninsula.
  • Associate Professor Jay Song, Korea Foundation Senior Lecturer in Korean Studies and Research Coordinator for Migration, Gender and Environment at the Asia Institute of the University of Melbourne, Australia.
  • Dr. Emma Leslie, Director, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Cambodia.

Participant Q&A will be moderated by Dr. Tania Miletic (UniMelb) and Alison Lee (CPCS).

Register for the event here.

We hope you can join us for these important events. See you then!

Our grassroots peace movement needs your support!

Dear Friend,

As 2021 draws to a close, we hope you will consider supporting our work to end the Korean War and bring lasting peace to the Korean Peninsula.

Although talks between the US and North Korea remain at a standstill, we have been busy building the political will for a peace agreement. Among our efforts:

While we receive the support of a small handful of foundations, we depend on the support of our grassroots base to continue our critical and urgent work. Can we count on you to make an end-of-year contribution to support our transnational peace campaign?

We have exciting plans for 2022 and beyond:

  • Organizing screenings of the new documentary Crossings about our movement for peace in Korea (see photos from the premiere in Hawai’i here)
  • Strategizing with our partners and allies on ramping up our efforts to pressure the Biden administration to end the Korean War
  • Establishing campus chapters of Korea Peace Now! to cultivate the next generation of Korea peace activists

Your support is vital as we continue to gain traction and visibility, and become the unfortunate target of attacks by those who profit from continued war and militarization. Donate now!

Mark your calendars: On December 9 at 4pm ET, please join us for “Peace and Human Rights in North Korea: An Argument for Ending the War.” Speakers will include Elizabeth Beavers, an attorney, analyst, and advocate focused on national security and human rights law and policy; Su-mi Jeon, a human rights attorney based in South Korea; and Tomás Ojea Quintana, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in North Korea. Register for the event here.

In peace and hope,

The team at Korea Peace Now!