NY City Council set to vote on official Korean American Day next month

November 25, 2014
Peter Koo, fourth from left, stands with Korean American community representatives. (The Korea Times)

Peter Koo, fourth from left, stands with Korean American community representatives. (The Korea Times)

Korean American community representatives spoke out in support of the establishment of an official Korean American Day in New York City Monday during a council hearing.

Introduced to city council by Councilman Peter Koo in September, Resolution No. 417 proposes that Jan. 13 be designated Korean American Day to celebrate the anniversary of the first Korean immigrants’ arrival in the U.S. in 1903.

During the hearing, New York Korean American Association President Min Seung-ki, Korean American Association of Queens President Ryu Je-bong, Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York President Kim Kwang-seok, former city council candidate Sunny Han, Korean American Community Foundation Executive Director Kyung Yoon, Federation of Korean Associations, USA President Sam Yoon and Korea Society Chairperson Kim Yung-duk provided statements.

Korean Americans operate about 10,000 small businesses and own 80 percent of dry cleaning businesses in the city, Ryu said.

He said designating the day would strengthen relationships within the community and encourage Korean Americans to work harder.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer presided over the meeting, which was attended by Councilmembers Peter Koo, Elizabeth Crowley, Julissa Ferreras, Andy King, Costa Constantinides, Laurie Cumbo and Helen Rosenthal.

Bramer acknowledged Korean Americans’ contributions in economy, culture and education to New York society and said he hopes to see the resolution passed.

The decision will come to a final vote in December at a city council meeting.

The legislation text for the resolution, which has 11 sponsors, said there are about 96,700 Korean Americans living in the city.

Korean Americans own and operate about 190,000 businesses in the U.S. and generate an annual revenue of $78.6 billion, the text said.