IV. Accusations in then-Program Manager Young Ran Kim’s Statement Condemning Jonathan Paik Are False and Unfounded
Young Ran Kim’s press release that was publicly disseminated on Monday, November 4 is full of blatant falsehoods. Despite her lies and outright hostility, she was recently promoted to KRC’s de facto Executive Director. Our response to her groundless claims is as follows:
She claims that first generation immigrant womxn are excluded from the union. However, this is wrong. Our unionization efforts were led by Concerned Staff—namely womxn of color and immigrant womxn—who felt powerless in light of the abuse committed by DJ and the Board. The first gen staff have always been included in the bargaining unit and are not excluded from being in the union in any way. The collective bargaining committee has yet to be decided, and we have maintained clear communication channels between all eligible staff and the union. In fact, it was Young Ran who deliberately refused to meet with the union on several occasions.
Any allegation of a generational divide caused by Concerned Staff is unfounded. When the Concerned Staff first came together in September to ask for an independent finance expert, we invited and welcomed all staff, including limited English proficient Korean staff, to discuss the situation and sign onto a letter. However, it became clear at later meetings that certain staff had no interest in joining us. One staff belittled and shouted at a Concerned Staff member. They continuously echoed DJ’s sentiments, and we found confirmation that they were actively communicating with DJ. During the union organizing process, we had substantial reasons to believe they would not support our efforts to unionize and would wage counter-campaigns. However, we never lost sight of the fact that we unionized for everyone and hoped that everyone would join the union.
Claims about KRC’s English-only policy are absurd. No such policy exists. KRC always tries to hold bilingual meetings and has one of the strongest bilingual infrastructures for a nonprofit in the country. Just to be clear, the labor of interpreting for staff and translating documents often falls on the 1.5- and 2nd-generation Korean Americans at KRC, which is not easy, not part of our job responsibility, and goes unrecognized and unpaid. Still, we always try our best to create as inclusive and equitable a space as possible at KRC for both monolingual Korean staff and its growing non-Korean staff.
Young Ran Kim’s complaint about Jonathan Paik committing wage discrimination is groundless. As staff, we can confirm that Jonathan, along with Jenny Seon and Yongho Kim, have regularly advocated for wage raises for all staff. At the time that she publicized the false statement against Jonathan Paik, Young Ran Kim was the highest paid program manager at KRC. In an interesting twist, shortly after Jonathan resigned, Young Ran Kim has now become the de facto Executive Director of KRC.
Needless to say, the attacks on Jonathan Paik are false, damaging, and malicious. Jonathan inherited the deep-rooted problems of the Korean Resource Center from DJ Yoon, was set up to fail, yet did his best within the constraints. Jonathan has been a good leader for the organization and has put in his all to ensure that he, together with KRC staff and community members, could help build the progressive community here in Southern California.
The fact that DJ Yoon, Inbo Sim, Angela Oh, and Young Ran Kim pushed Jonathan Paik, an emerging leader, out of the organization because they refuse to let go of their power and control is a shame for the movement and for the community. Allowing them to continue to hurt people and damage reputations—particularly those who came to KRC to do good and have done good—would be a travesty for the movements and communities we are a part of. They must be held accountable for the irreparable damage they have caused.
We believe the public has a right to know the truth, and the truth is what we have presented to you. This cycle of abuse must end now.
If you have any questions, we would be happy to speak with you. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may find more information about these events at this website, at liverightly.org .
Union Supporters of KRC – including Jenny Seon, Nara Kim, Yongho Kim, and others