This year’s NKHR Rescue Fund Annual Fundraiser for North Korean refugee rescues deviated from the traditional method of the past few years. Instead of participating in a race along the Han River, volunteers elected to try something new: a crazy-sock themed dance party!
With any experimentation, there is always a bit of a learning curve. Although our team came short of our goal of $7,500 to assist in the rescues of three refugees, we learned a lot and were able to enlist the support of a different set of friends and community members.
For starters, use of the venue, Hongdae’s legendary Freebird Cosmic Live, was generously made available to our team at no charge, thanks to our friendship with the owner, Skyler Jeong. We also enlisted the help of four local up and coming djs, Baron van West, FALSEFACE, JISOO, and Mikey B, all of whom graciously agreed to contribute the soundtrack of our event in support of the work NKHR is doing. Our team was also lucky enough to secure a variety of top-notch prizes for our raffle from our friends at Magpie Brewing Co, Salt House, Yogiga Expression Gallery, Dear Korea, and more! It was wonderful to see so many people in our community excited to get involved.
Leading up to the event, NKHR staff, interns, and volunteers all sprang to action to get information about the event out to the public. We were lucky enough to be asked on TBS radio and featured on several online event sites; we also sent out a press release and executed an aggressive online campaign via our facebook networks. We created an online fundraising page through our Global Giving page so that our friends, family members, and far-flung supporters could participate. As a personal incentive for my own networks, I decided to draw thank-you portraits for each of my friends and family members who donated. While we are still accepting donations, I am happy to announce we have raised $1,132 so far!
As for the event itself, it was a smash hit! We danced and raffled the night away, raising 1,077,000won towards refugee rescues. It was truly an honor to work with the NKHR Rescue Fund volunteers Julie Costa, Tonya Bryant, and Parker Bot, and NKHR interns, Andrea Escobedo-Paiz and Cait Cronin, who gave their time and creative energies so passionately for the cause.
Throughout my involvement in the North Korean human rights movement, I have been grateful for the opportunity to become friends with a number of North Korean resettlers who have overcome great adversity and forged their own paths in South Korea and beyond. Our ultimate goal of each annual fundraiser is to come together as a community to provide similar opportunities to refugees still waiting for assistance in China, many in highly dangerous situations. We think of these individuals as friends we have yet to meet.
I am in awe of each of my friends and family members, our local and foreign supporters, and NKHR staff for all of their work to contribute to the success of our fundraiser; we could not have done it without you!
We are a group of volunteers fundraising for NKHR (Citizens' Alliance for North Korean Human Rights) to rescue