NEW YORK (April 18, 2013) — In August 2013, three Minnesotans will travel to North Korea as part of a peace delegation through Nodutdol, a New York-based organization focused on Korean community development.
The Minnesota participants are actress and playwright Sun Mee Chomet, attorney Caitlin Kee, and scholar Dr. SooJin Pate. They are three of ten North Americans chosen to participate in the 2013 Korea Education and Exposure Program – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (KEEPDPRK). The other participants this year are from Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, New Jersey, and New York. A documentary filmmaker may also accompany this year’s KEEP-DPRK peace delegation.
“We are three of 10 North Americans chosen to go on a peace delegation to North Korea this summer as part of the KEEP+DPRK program this summer through Nodutdol, a New York-based Korean American organization, dedicated to promoting education, research, reunification, and an end to the Korean War,” Chomet said. “We’ll have the amazing opportunity to visit women’s organizations, hospitals, historical sites, factories, universities, etc. We will also be bringing medical supplies and antibiotics to a maternity hospital in Pyongyang.”
The other Minnesotans chosen are Dr. SooJin Pate and attorney Caitlin Kee. The additional seven delegation members are from Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Portland (Oregon), New York, and New Jersey.
Since 2001, KEEP-DPRK has taken members of the Korean diaspora living in the U.S. and Canada to North Korea to learn about the history, struggles and daily lives of the people there through first-hand experience. The participants will travel in North Korea from August 5-18, 2013 visiting hospitals, women’s organizations, factories, churches, elementary schools, universities, farms, the demilitarized zone (the northern part) and national parks throughout the country.
This summer marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the armistice between North Korea and the U.S. – Korea is still a country divided and at war, and the ramifications of the ongoing conflict are global. When the KEEP-DPRK peace delegation returns to the U.S., the participants will speak and write about their experiences, continuing to increase education about North Korea in their respective cities throughout North America, working towards peace and reunification.
Medical Aid Fundraiser
The KEEP-DPRK delegation brings much-needed medical aid to North Korea. Every two years, KEEP-DPRK hand-delivers medical supplies (including children’s vitamins and antibiotics) to a local hospital. In 2011, the delegation made a donation of $9,000 worth of medical supplies to the Maternity Hospital in Pyongyang, which offers free services to new mothers and their babies.
This year’s delegation hopes to raise $7,500. With matching in-kind donations from Michigan-based World Medical Relief (www.worldmedicalrelief.com), the total value of the medical supplies they will bring will be approximately $13,000. The Minnesota participants of KEEP-DPRK 2013 are directing contributions to Notdutdol’s website (www.nodutdol.org) and are organizing a local Dance for Peace fundraiser on Friday, May 3, 2013, from 8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Nami Sushi Restaurant, 251 First Avenue North, downtown Minneapolis, MN 55401.
The event will feature Mayda and DJ Nak. Tickets are $5 to $10 at door (recommended donation). Larger donations will be accepted through cash or checks.
Additional community donations toward Nodutdol’s 2013 medical fundraiser may be sent via website (http://nodutdol.org/index.php/support) or mail checks to: Nodutdol, 53-22 Roosevelt Avenue, 2nd Floor, Woodside, NY 11377. Please include “KEEP-DPRK via Minnesota” in the memo/comments box. If you would like to designate a percentage of your donation towards the Minnesota delegation’s travel costs, please include that percentage.
Sun Mee Chomet is a Twin Cities’ actress and playwright. Sun Mee has worked with the Guthrie Theater, Mu Performing Arts, Mixed Blood Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, History Theatre, Walking Shadow Theatre, and many other theaters locally and nationally. Her first play, Asiamnesia, was recently published by Temple University Press in the anthology Asian American Plays for a New Generation. In July 2013, Sun Mee will be performing her award-winning one-woman show, How to Be a Korean Woman in Seoul, South Korea as part of the International Korean Adoptee Associations (IKAA) Conference, a gathering of 700+ Korean adoptees from 17 different countries. How to Be a Korean Woman will also be presented by the Guthrie Theater in September 2013.
Caitlin Kee is a Minnesotan attorney, adoptee legal rights advocate, and API community organizer. She has published and spoken about issues in transnational adoptee citizenship and has lobbied against harmful U.S. legislation affecting transnational adoption policy. Kee served on the Justice for Russell Green campaign in the past year, is an active member of the progressive Korean-American diaspora, is a steering committee member for PAVE-MN (Pan-Asian Voices for Equity – Minnesota), a member of CAAR (Community Action Against Racism), a founding member of Network of Politicized Adoptees, and is involved with various adoptee community organizations in the Twin Cities.
Dr. SooJin Pate is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Macalester College, where she teaches courses on critical race theory, immigration, and U.S. history and culture. Informed by Paolo Freire’s The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Pate works to equalize the terrain of knowledge by reviving the experiences, voices, and histories of historically marginalized groups in the classroom. Her book From Orphan to Adoptee: U.S. Empire and Genealogies of Korean Adoption is forthcoming with the University of Minnesota Press.