KAPA envisions a United States where no American feels like an outsider, and all Americans have an equal opportunity to pursue their dreams.
KAPA’s mission is to engage and mobilize Americans of Korean descent to influence public policy and to elect representatives who will work with us to advance our priorities.
KAPA was formed at the urging of the leadership of the Council of Korean Americans, who saw the need for more direct and immediate action on behalf of Korean Americans and the issues that most affect us.
KAPA is a fully independent 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization. KAPA and CKA are affiliated because we work toward a similar vision — the full engagement and participation of Korean Americans in moving our country to “a more perfect Union” and realizing the benefits of democracy for all Americans.
As KAPA carries out its mission, we are guided by the following principles:
Commit to and embrace bipartisanship
Today’s political climate is highly partisan and often bitterly divided. As an organization, KAPA seeks to model the kind of thoughtful and civil discourse we wish to see among our country’s leaders. Differences between political parties need not always be divisive; they can be useful in finding creative solutions to problems. When it comes to building our own leadership, defining our policy positions, and supporting or opposing candidates for elective office, KAPA will embrace, as much as possible, a bipartisan approach.
Work for all Americans of Korean descent
In our language and in our work, KAPA will use a broad definition of our community. We will err on the side of being inclusive rather than exclusive. We consider our constituency to include Korean Americans of every generation, Korean Americans of mixed heritage, Korean adoptees, permanent residents who work and pay taxes in the US, and those awaiting citizenship for multiple reasons.
Stay true and loyal as citizens of the United States
Korean Americans face the perception, whether conscious or unconscious, that we are not truly American. KAPA rejects this bias in the strongest possible terms. All of KAPA’s work will stay true to our identity and citizenship as Americans and maintain our loyalty to the flag of the United States while asserting our constitutional right to petition our government for change where appropriate and necessary.
We will educate our community about the democratic and political process to accelerate their integration into civic life in America. In so doing, we will honor our Constitution and its aspiration to create “a more perfect Union” by engaging and mobilizing Korean Americans to pursue our agenda by democratic means.
Use our citizenship to help Koreans worldwide
As Americans, we are citizens of the most advanced and powerful country in human history. We will use our American citizenship and our knowledge of Korea to promote policies that help Koreans worldwide. This is not just in the best interests of the United States; it is also our responsibility as the world’s strongest peacekeeper and promoter of democracy.
Korean Americans, like all immigrant communities, are influenced by where we come from. We will never disavow our history, heritage, and cultural perspectives, but will use them to help the United States shape good policies and carry out effective diplomacy around the world.
Look beyond ethnicity to identify leaders
Given how underrepresented we are in elective bodies across America, our community understandably gets excited when one of our own runs for office. However, KAPA will look beyond ethnicity in considering endorsements and support for candidates.
Being Korean American alone does not guarantee good representation for our community. Most Korean Americans are represented by elected officials who are not Korean. This is just a consequence of our geographic distribution. KAPA will examine the platform of any candidate or the record of any lawmaker whose impact is or will be felt by the Korean American community, regardless of ethnicity.
Promote the welfare of our whole community, especially the most vulnerable
KAPA’s ultimate objective is to promote the welfare of our whole community, from our youngest to our oldest, from LA’s Koreatown to the plains of Iowa, whether we are CEO’s or teachers or dry cleaners, whether we read the Korean newspapers every day or have embraced our Korean American identity only yesterday.
The “model minority myth” suggests that contrary to popular belief, Korean Americans, like other Asian Americans, are not all doing well. KAPA challenges those of us who are comfortable to consider our responsibility to those who are vulnerable and in need.
The world that KAPA is striving for is one in which all Americans of Korean descent are doing better than in a world where KAPA does not exist. This is the very promise of democracy.