The Korean-American League Overview
The size of the Korean-Americans (KA) in this country has been variously estimated to be somewhere between 1.5 to 2.0 millions. The Census data indicate that theirs is one of the most rapidly growing group with the major influx that began with the advent of 1968 relaxation of the immigrant quota system based on the country of origin, thus the bulk of them are the first generation immigrants bringing with them highly diligent work ethics, unusually intense fervor for education for their off-springs, rugged enterprising individualism suited for success in the free-market. Generally they are regarded as a model immigrant contributing greatly to the main-stream society; particularly their second generation Korean-Americans, well educated, erudite and with savvy in the ways of main-stream society are now beginning to enter our society in great numbers rapidly changing this groups perspective vis-à-vis its potential political power in American society.
In recent years several movements have begun among the Korean-Americans to organize themselves into some form of political entity which will give them a voice in the society commensurate with their size and abilities. One of the most recent and most promising organizational ideas is the Korean-American League (KAL). The impetus for the idea and the development of conceptual frame-work of the KAL began among the intellectuals, professionals, and religious leaders who had been involved in the humanitarian effort to relieve famine situation in the DPRK. Faced with the realization that the result of their year-long effort to raise funds among themselves could only feed the hungry mass for less than two days, they began to think in terms of utilizing their political clout to mobilizing the main-stream American society to the food-aid movement as well as many other problematic issues in the Korean peninsula, which they perceived, can only be solved by the US involvement.
They perceived the KAL;
1. To be a political action committee (PAC) dealing with selected issues relating to Korean-Americans and their communities,
2. To be a political action committee (PAC) dealing with selected issues pertaining to the maintenance of peace and stability in the Korean peninsula; development of timely and cogent consensus position papers on various geopolitical, economic and military issues relating to the peace and security of Northeast Asia, in particular the Korean peninsula, from the unique perspective of Americans of Korean ancestry, and actively exerting effort to influence and contribute to the process of policy formation by both the executive and legislative branches of our government,
3.To form a blue-ribbon task force charged with the responsibility of developing an innovative, realistic, and comprehensive multi-stage plan for the reconciliation and eventual unification of the Korean peninsula.
The KAL is to become a national organization with regional representation, but with limited membership of individuals and, or institutions, who must be invited to join, at least in its early stage of development. It is to maintain its unity of ideals and objectives while open to analyzing diverse viewpoints. The initial group is to be a cohesive collection of selected academicians and intellectuals and individuals of known integrity and high ideals, who command a significant measure of respect in the community. It is hoped that it should be regarded an honor and a privilege to be asked to be a member, representing the best of the Korean-American society.
The KAL will make every effort early on to inspire and attract many well-educated and accomplished second generation Korean-Americans. KAL membership should also include selected individuals of non-Korean descent who are respected and known to have a deep understanding and scholarly interest in the history, economy and geopolitics of the Korean peninsula. Therefore, based on the quality of the collective reputation and the wisdom of the KAL membership, it is anticipated that on the many important issues facing the Korean-Americans, and their communities, as well as the national and international issues surrounding the Korean peninsula, that the organization will be called upon to produce authoritative fact and opinion papers, which may influence the process of policy formulation in our government.
The KAL will take an independent, impartial and non-partisan stand apart from the ideological and political polarization that characterizes the current inter-Korean relationship. It must always deal with the Korean peninsula as a whole, not either of its individual governments. It must command respect of both halves of the peninsula by maintaining a clear neutrality and even-handedness in considering them. Through these effort, the opinions of the organization must be regarded the voice of reason of objective, learned overseas-Koreans who have no stake in either side, on all the matters pertaining to the Korean peninsula. Thus, any formal opinion expressed by the organization must be respected and valued for its content, by both South and North Korea as well as other countries involved.