North Korean refugees tell their stories in SF

October 20, 2014
The 2014 Unification Music Concert was held in Santa Francisco at the Santa Clara Convention Center Saturday.

The 2014 Unification Music Concert was held in Santa Francisco at the Santa Clara Convention Center Saturday.

By The Korea Times San Francisco staff

San Francisco saw a night of shared stories by North Korean refugees and a call for Korean unification Saturday at Santa Clara Convention Center

The 2014 Unification Music Concert, organized by the unification council in San Francisco, invited Ju Soon-young, North Korea’s first distinguished actress who found refuge in South Korea, to come and speak about her experience.

Ju and Fighters for Free North Korea President Park Sang-hak, another refugee, told their stories in front of a crowd of about 300 Korean Americans.

After entering a beauty pageant as a child, Ju began her career as a Pyongyang actress. She took on a role playing former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung’s mother, Kim Jong-suk, and was later presented to him, where he told her it was as though “Kim Jong-suk had come back to life.”

In song and poems, she discussed details of her attempts to leave North Korea and about the pain of speaking to her daughter she left behind, as well as the new life she found in South Korea.

Park, too, shared his stories of fighting for human rights. Tenor Lee Woo-jung and soprano Kim Soo-jung were also present at the event, which ended with both performers and the audience singing “Unification is Our Wish.”

“Our country is the only divided one on Earth, but the Korean Peninsula is currently carrying danger not just to our country but to the international community,” said Jung Kyung-ae, president of the San Francisco unification council. “Let’s pull together for quick unification.”

Proceeds from the concert will go toward aiding infants and pregnant women in North Korea through United Nations’ World Food Program and the World Health Organization. Ju and Park donated $5,000.

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