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Koreatown political conference & forum gathers 500 leaders

November 25, 2014
Congressman Ed Royce, second from left, with Bright World Foundation Director Hong Myung-ki, Congressman Mike Honda and The Korea Times CEO Chang Jae-min at the 4th  Korean American Political Conference & Next Generation Leadership Forum Monday night at The Line Hotel. (Park Sang-hyuk/The Korea Times)

Congressman Ed Royce, second from left, stands with Bright World Foundation Director Hong Myung-ki, Congressman Mike Honda and The Korea Times CEO Chang Jae-min at the 4th Korean American Political Conference & Next Generation Leadership Forum Monday night at The Line Hotel. (Park Sang-hyuk/The Korea Times)

About 500 community leaders and public officials gathered at The Line Hotel in Los Angeles’ Koreatown Monday night for the 4th Korean American Political Conference & Next Generation Leadership Forum.

Young leaders — 1.5- and second-generation Korean Americans — and local representatives gathered in a discussion about political involvement and empowerment at the event.

State Assembly 65th District-elect Young Kim, second from left, attends the 4th Korean American Political Conference & Next Generation Leadership Forum at The Line Hotel Monday night. (Park Sang-hyuk/The Korea Times)

State Assembly 65th District-elect Young Kim, second from left, attends the 4th Korean American Political Conference & Next Generation Leadership Forum at The Line Hotel Monday night. (Park Sang-hyuk/The Korea Times)

Jang Hee-soo, a 20-year-old University of California, Los Angeles student, said he hopes the conference becomes a bridge that fosters further exchange between the Korean American community and South Korea.

Recently elected Korean American officials — Young Kim (State Assembly, District 65), Michelle Park Steel (Orange County Supervisor, District 2), Choi Seok-ho (Irvine Mayor), Steve Hwangbo (La Palma City Council) and Sandra Lee (Cypress School District Board of Education) — came out in celebration and support.

Another student, 22-year-old University of Southern California political science major Jung Yoon-hee, said the event was an opportunity to meet politicians in person.

One of them, Congressman Mike Honda, said seeing so many young people participating in the event makes him feel there’s a bright future ahead.

He joined Congressman Ed Royce and Congresswoman Judy Chu in presenting young people with leadership awards.

“I hope many Korean American politicians come out of this conference,” Steel said. “I’d like to see younger-generation Korean Americans work hard to become political leaders through community service.”

Kim said she’d attended all four conferences and that she feels a responsibility to become a stepping stone and role model for young leaders.

Others in attendance included Korean American Federation of Los Angeles President James Ahn, Korean American Federation of Orange County President Kim Ga-deung and The Korea Times CEO Chang Jae-min.

The event was organized by The Korea Times and hosted by the Bright World Foundation and the Korean American Economic Development Center.

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