Philadelphia Koreans seek permanent Korean American Day designation

January 12, 2015
Korean American Federation leaders Kim Sung-woong, left, and Park Sang-won

Korean American Federation USA leaders Kim Sung-woong, left, and Park Sang-won

By The Korea Times Philadelphia staff

Philadelphia is gearing up to celebrate Korean American Day on Jan. 13 for the second year running.

The day was celebrated last year in an effort led by Councilman David Oh but is still seeking a permanent designation.

Jan. 13 marks the anniversary of the first Korean immigrants’ arrival to the United States in 1903, when 102 Koreans landed in Honolulu onboard the SS Gaelic.

Korean American Day will begin at 10 a.m. at the city hall flagpole and move into Room No. 319 at 10:30 a.m. for a reception. Korean cuisine will be offered alongside cultural performances, including a choir comprised of Korean language students.

Korean American Association of Greater Philadelphia President Song Joong-geun said interest and participation of Korean Americans is needed to make the day — which has to be voted on by the council yearly to put on a celebration — permanent in the city.

In December last year, the city of New York passed a resolution to designate Jan. 13 Korean American Day. Meanwhile, Korean American Federation USA will help celebrate the day in cities including New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The federation put on an art contest and music concert leading up to Korean American Day and will hold a ceremony at the Korean American Federation of Los Angeles Tuesday, followed by a proclamation of Korean American Day at Los Angeles City Hall Wednesday. The day is has not yet been designated official in Los Angeles, which possesses the largest Korean population outside of South Korea.