I attended KoreanAmericanStory.org‘s seventh annual gala this past Wednesday. This is a big event that happens every year and in the past three years, I went as a volunteer (because I used to work for the organization), but this year, I was an attendee—quite a different experience.
Every year, KAS honors trailblazers in the Korean-American community and they share stories with us and get awards. This year, Brian Tee, Jeannie Park, and Martha Crawford were honored (see the gala page for their bios). Sung Lee (aka Sungbeats) also performed for us. He was so good at beatboxing that it was almost freaky… like all the sounds coming out of his mouth, haha. He covered a lot of popular songs. I was sitting a table of older adults that I know. When he was covering songs by Eminem and Kanye West, a couple leaned over and asked me, “Is this his original music? It’s really good!” I laughed and said no.
A big part of the evening was raising funds for the next film project that KAS is endeavoring on in partnership with Swallowtail Studios. We got to see their short film Lunch Date as a taste of what this creative partnership has been doing. The film gives you a glimpse inside the life of an older, Korean married couple who own a dry cleaners. The couple have conversations over food and also have an unsavory encounter with a very unreasonable customer. The film has touches of humor and it also delivers a sense of 공감 (I don’t like using “sympathy” as the translation for this word because that has a certain connotation in English, but 공감 is a feeling you get when you identify with or can relate to something). I think those within the Korean-American community could watch it and find some aspect of it that reminds them of themselves, their parents, relatives, friends, and others.
KAS was looking to raise at least $40,000 for their upcoming project and thanks to the generosity of the people attending, that goal was reached!
It was rewarding to work for the organization in years past, but it’s also rewarding to see it continue on and grow. The gala itself gets better every year. Already excited for next year’s!