ESJF has been invited to the first international educators’ workshop on teaching “comfort women.” In observance of the 5th International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, the Korean Council will be hosting an array of important events during the week of June 17th. The conference will kick off with the first international educators’ workshop on pedagogies on teaching the history and issues of “comfort women” in different countries. Sung Sohn and two active high school history teachers from the San Francisco Unified School District will present on the educational system in California and the inquiry-based teaching strategies that incorporate comparative and analytic approaches based on primary and secondary source documents. Educators from South Korea, Japan, Canada, and the United States will attend the workshop.
At the conference, sexual violence in armed conflict will be discussed, and solutions will be sought. Rashida Manjoo, Professor of Public Law at the University of Cape Town, former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, will begin the second day with her keynote speech, followed by reports from the Korean Council and representatives from Uganda.
Other events taking place during the conference include testimony from Vasfije Krasniqi Goodman, a Kosovo survivor; a photo exhibition highlighting the situations in Uganda by Jean Jung, a photojournalist; and an award ceremony for the 2019 Kim Bok-dong Peace Prize Winner.
Please register here.
Stay tuned for the exciting updates from Seoul.
The Boba Making and Trivia event held on the 25th was a resounding success!
Over 300 people RSVPed for this energy-packed, fun community event. High school and college students, as well as history trivia lovers in their 30s and beyond, joined the event. Everyone had fun making their own Boba drinks, eating ethnic bites, taking photos at the photo booth, and writing down their answers in teams. Through these activities, participants learned much about WWII history in Asia. Many commented, “I didn’t know about that.” This year's top three trivia winning teams were Ho Ho Ho, Team Rocket, and Boba Lovers.
This community-building event celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month was organized by Education for Social Justice Foundation, Pacific Atrocities Education, and WWII Memorial Hall for the first time as a team, and it was a resounding success.
We want to take this opportunity to extend our sincere appreciation to Frank Tang, Administrative Director of WWII Memorial Hall, for his kind-hearted support. We give special thanks to all sixteen volunteers for their invaluable help. We thank all generous donors, including twelve vendors for donating goodie bags and raffle prizes. To those who were waitlisted, know that future events will take place, and we'd love to see you back. Thank you, everyone, and see you all again at the next Boba Making & Trivia Day!
For Immediate Release
Oakland Aviation Museum Celebrates Asian Pacific Heritage Month
Honoring Asian American aviators throughout history and inspiring the next generation.
Oakland— The Oakland Aviation Museum will be holding a special event to celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage Month. The event will highlight the contributions of Asian American aviators throughout our country’s history, as well as provide opportunities for young people to learn how they can enter the aviation industry.
The Oakland Aviation Museum celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month will take place on Saturday, May 18th, from 10 am to 4 pm. The Museum is located at 8252 Earhart Rd, Oakland, CA 94621. Activities occurring for the duration of the event include screenings of short films featuring Asian American aviators, information table and flight simulator by San Jose State University’s Aviation Department, information table by the College of Alameda’s Aviation Maintenance Technology Program, special exhibit featuring Asian American aviators, and children’s activities. A panel discussion “Pathways to Aviation” will be held at noon, featuring Harley Pasiderio, President of the Professional Asian Pilots Association and Major Parawee Euavijitearoon-Baten, US Air Force Maintenance Operations Officer at Travis Air Force Base.
The first person to fly an aircraft on the West coast of the United States was an immigrant from China named Feng Ru. The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) were the first women to fly for the US military. One of these female trailblazers was Chinese American and East Bay native Maggie Gee. Unfortunately, the achievements of these and numerous other Asian American aviators remain obscured.
At the same time, the aviation industry is facing a severe shortage in qualified professionals. Since 1987 the number of pilots in the United States has decreased by 30% despite a sharp increase in the demand for air travel. Asian Americans are drastically under-represented in the aviation industry, as they represent over 5% of the US population but only about 2.5% of airline transport pilots.
This event will illuminate the history of Asian Americans in the field of aviation and will provide educational opportunities for young people interested in careers in aviation.
Tiffany Miller is organizing this event. She is leading a grassroots effort to have Oakland Airport renamed for Maggie Gee, who trained as a WASP alongside Miller’s grandmother. This would make Oakland Airport the first major US airport named for a woman and the only US airport named for a woman of color.
For more information, press only:Tiffany Miller
Thanks to the amazing work of many collaborators, the second edition of “Comfort Women” History and Issues: Teacher Resource Guide is now available! There have been many developments in “comfort women” history and issues since we published our first edition in March 2018, so the second edition also contains updated information: recent events in the movement, a 10-page list of topics and themes related to the history and issues of “comfort women,” and an artists’ reflection from the sculptors of “Women’s Column of Strength, ” Steven Whyte and Ellen Wilson.
I’m deeply humbled to know that this second edition was made possible by your continued support and dedication to address and redress this sidelined history.
I want to take this opportunity to especially thank Redefine Community for their amazing talent and incredible work on the design of the second edition. In awe of their commitment to address this sidelined history, I’m moved.
International Law Society, LA RAZA Student Association, Black Law Students Association, and Women’s Law Association at Golden Gate University School of Law held a panel discussion on crimes against women and the #MeToo movement. As panelists, ESJF’s Sung Sohn, Professors Benedetta Duramy and Naomi Arriaza, and political journalist Ann Garrison discussed war crimes against women from different vantage points and from different time periods. Through discussions and discourse on the nature and different manifestations of war crimes against women worldwide ranging from Asia, Latin America, especially Guatemala, and Africa, a need for collective and active awareness of crimes against women became even more clear. A comprehensive and close examination of the underlying causes of the dehumanizing crimes committed is needed for the elimination of crimes against women. The discussion had a large turnout of students, faculty, and outside members of the public.
ESJF thanks GGU for holding a much-needed and engaging panel discussion!
Russ Lowe and Sung Sohn were guest speakers at Modern Japanese History at University of San Francisco on Thursday, the 11th. Highly engaging discussions, ranging from the history of "comfort women" to historical amnesia, occupied the entire class period. From multiple angles, we explored the reasons why the Japanese government refuses to officially acknowledge and apologize for their country's past war crimes. We also discussed how “comfort women” issues have manifested in San Francisco, examining the complex layers of history and politics surrounding the installation of the Peace Girl statue and the recently severed sister-city relationship between Osaka and SF.
Great appreciation goes to Professor Kruze for making this intellectually stimulating platform possible.
UC Berkeley Sigma Phi Omega invited Sung Sohn and Jenny Chan, Executive Directors of Education for Social Justice Foundation and Pacific Atrocities Education, to present on the history of abuse against women on Wednesday, the 10th. Sung and Jenny explored various struggles against sexual violence and stereotypes of women through illuminating the stories of “comfort women” and guerrilla fighters in the Philippines.
Big thanks goes to UC Berkeley Sigma Phi Omega for having us involved in their important campaign.
Russ Lowe and Sung Sohn were invited as guest speakers by GirlUP Club at Milpitas High School to teach the history and issues of "comfort women" in conjunction with sexual violence and the #MeToo movement. GirlUP is a club striving for the empowerment, rights, and betterment of girls and women. When asked what they could do to carry on the voices of the victims, one student said that reaching out to his friends about this sidelined history, which he was never aware of, is the first active step he'll take.
Sung Sohn taught a class on the history and issues of “comfort women” at Redwood High School on Friday, the 29th. It was a Social Studies class for the 10th grade. The highly engaged students asked many insightful questions and raised some important issues connecting the unresolved history to current day problems. One student inquired as to why the Japanese government does not adhere to the recommendations from the UN. Undoubtedly, their high level of engagement, inquiry, and intelligence, built with teachers' thoughtful guidance and dedication to social justice education, is a precursor for a more humane and just society.
His Excellency Francois Delattre
Ambassador of France to the United Nations
President of the United Nations Security Council March 2019
Open Letter to the UN Security Council Members
The peace process on the Korean Peninsula must go on
21 March 2019
Dear Mr. President and other Members representatives,
We are 55 civil society organizations that act for peace on the Korean Peninsula. We are sending this open letter to raise our concerns on the deadlock between the DPRK and the U.S. after the last summit in Vietnam.
We appeal to the Members of the UN Security Council, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718, and the international community to ensure that the peace process on the Korean Peninsula is firmly sustained.
Thank you very much for your thoughtful consideration
55 Civil Society Organizations in ROK :
80 Million Koreans Community Preparing for Reunification (K.P.R.), Asia Peace & History Education Network, Chuncheon Womenlink, Citizens' Coalition for Democratic Media, Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice, Civil Peace Forum, Civil Society Organizations Network in Korea, Civilian Military Watch, Conference for Peace in East Asia, Daejeon Differently Abled Women Solidarity, Daejeon Women's Association United, Daejeon Women’s Association for Peace-Making, Daejeon Women' Association for Better Aging Society, Daejeon Women’s
Association for Democracy, Dongbuk Womenlink, Eco Horizon Institute, Green Korea, Gunpo Womenlink, Gwangju Womenlink, Incheon Womenlink, Jeju Peace Human Rights Center, Jeju Peace Human Rights Institute WHAT, Korea Federation for Environmental Movements, Korea NGO Council for Cooperation with North Korea, Korea Veterans for Peace, Korea Women's Associations United, Korea Women's Hot Line, Korean Sharing Movement, MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society, Movement for One Korea, Namseo Womenlink, National YWCA of Korea, NCYK (National Council of YMCA'S of Korea), Networks for Greentransport, Ok Tree, Peace Network, Peace Sharing Association, PEACEMOMO, People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), Professors for Democracy, Pyeongtaek Peace Center, Reconciliation and Reunification Committee, NCCK (The National Council of Churches in Korea), Research Institute for Peace and Reunification of Korea, Sejong Women's Corporation, Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea (SPARK), The Corea Peace 3000, The Headquarters of National Unification Movement of Young Korean Academy, The Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, The Research Institute of the Differently Abled Person’s Right in Korea, The Righteous People for Korean Unification, Women in Action for Life PAN, Women Making Peace, Womenlink, Won-Buddhism Diocese of Pyongyang, World Without War
* Among 55 Civil Society Organizations, Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice, Korea Federation for Environmental Movements, Korean Sharing Movement, Korea Women's Associations United, MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society, People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD) have been in the Consultative Status with ECOSOC.
1. Open Letter to the UN Security Council Members
People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD)
16, Jahamunro 9-gil, Jongno-Gu, Seoul ROK 03036
Tel +82 2 723 4250 Fax +82 2 6919 2004
Open Letter to the UN Security Council Members
The peace process on the Korean Peninsula must go on
We are 55 civil society organizations that act for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Since the last summit in Vietnam between the DPRK and the U.S. ended without result, concerns have been raised that the deadlock between the two countries will be prolonged. We wish to make it clear that there must be no further action to aggravate the situation. We appeal to the Members of the UN Security Council, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718, and the international community to ensure that the peace process on the Korean Peninsula is firmly sustained.
We request the Members of the UN Security Council to publicly announce in support of the following: the reopening of the DPRK-the U.S. dialogue; the lifting all the sanctions related to humanitarian assistance; and the starting of negotiations to build peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. We also request the 1718 Committee to lift all the sanctions against humanitarian support to the DPRK.
The dialogue between the DPRK and the U.S. must continue
The 2nd DPRK-U.S. summit clearly showed that removing tensions from the Korean Peninsula, where the Cold War still runs, is not an easy task. For the countries who have been enemies to each other for almost 70 years, it is not easy at all to trust and begin to have open talks with each other. This is why it is neither realistic nor appropriate for the U.S. to demand that the DPRK completely denuclearize at once. The DPRK needs to consider the fact that deep-rooted mistrust is also alive despite her stated willingness to denuclearize.
We would like to highlight that the DPRK and the U.S. committed in Singapore ‘to establish new relations, to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula and to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula’. We expect the two countries will adjust their demands and expectations to start phased and simultaneous implementation of their promises at the smallest level they feel comfortable with. Once they start building trust in the process, they will be able to agree on larger issues. The DPRK and the U.S. must earnestly listen to each other and continue their dialogue.
At least, the sanctions against the DPRK that are related to humanitarian assistance must be lifted
The UN says that the sanctions against the DPRK are not the end, but the means. In the same light, all resolutions of the UN Security Council on the sanctions emphasize the commitment to “a peaceful, diplomatic, and political solution to the situation.” The true purposes of such resolutions are to urge “the DPRK and the U.S. to respect each other’s sovereignty and exist peacefully together” and also “the council members as well as other states to facilitate a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue”. Humanitarian assistance is a universal and non-derogable value and spirit in the work of the UN. As the UN Security Council resolutions clarify that these resolutions “are not intended to have adverse humanitarian consequences for the civilian population of the DPRK or to affect negatively or restrict those activities, … the work of international and non-governmental organizations carrying out assistance and relief activities in the DPRK for the benefit of the civilian population of the DPRK.” However, the sanctions against the DPRK by the UN and the stronger ones imposed by the U.S. after the 1st DPRK-U.S. summit have aggravated the conditions for humanitarian assistance to the DPRK. We urge the 1718 Committee to lift all the sanctions that prevent humanitarian assistance to the DPRK.
These sanctions hamper implementation of inter-Korean agreements for exchange and cooperation. They even made it difficult to resume operation of Mount Geumgang tours and Gaeseong Industrial Complex, which are stopped activities unrelated to the UN sanctions. As initial steps for peace, the two Koreas need to expand meetings and cooperation among them in order to end military tension and confrontation, and thus paving way for peace in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia. The sanctions against the DPRK which impede to conduct humanitarian assistance and build cooperative relationships between the two Koreas must be relieved as soon as possible.
‘Denuclearization as Peacemaking Process’ must be observed as a principle
The nuclear conflict on the Korean Peninsula is a product of the instability inherent to an armistice regime, grown out of the decades-long military confrontation and arms race. Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is closely connected to building a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula with normalizing relations between the DPRK and the U.S. The denuclearization of the DPRK alone cannot be the entry point for negotiations to begin. Peace on the Peninsula cannot be achieved only through denuclearization. It can only be achieved, instead, when it becomes part of a peace-building process. Efforts to build a permanent peace regime here, such as signing a peace treaty or a non-aggression agreement, and normalizing relations between the DPRK and the U.S. must be paralleled.
The kind of complete denuclearization that people in the two Koreas sincerely wish to achieve is a state where all nuclear threats surrounding the Peninsula are removed. This cannot be achieved only by ‘Complete, Verifiable, Irreversible Denuclearization’ of the DPRK alone. Abolishment of the extended deterrence strategy to which the ROK, the U.S., and Japan rely on is one of the associated and necessary tasks. Nuclear-Free Korean Peninsula can become a stepping stone for Northeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone and Nuclear-Free world.
There is no other way to achieve peace but through peaceful means
Achieving peace on the Korean Peninsula will serve as a testing case for whether humanity will be able to peacefully resolve the accumulated conflicts of today’s world, or not. In Korea, we have recently witnessed that peace can be achieved through peaceful means and problems can be solved through dialogue and negotiation. Since the inter-Korean summit last year, the two Koreas have ceased all hostile activities, cherishing the most peaceful time ever since the armistice began. We should never return to the repeated threats of nuclear war and heightened military tension under any circumstances.
Once again, we urge the UN Security Council and the international community to support the painstaking efforts to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula. Cooperation from the international community is absolutely crucial. We plead that you do utmost to ensure the continuity of the peace process on the Korean Peninsula. For its part, Korean civil society will spare no effort.
21 March 2019
80 Million Koreans Community Preparing for Reunification (K.P.R.)
Asia Peace & History Education Network
Citizens' Coalition for Democratic Media
Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice
Civil Peace Forum
Civil Society Organizations Network in Korea
Civilian Military Watch
Conference for Peace in East Asia
Daejeon Differently Abled Women Solidarity
Daejeon Women' Association for Better Aging Society
Daejeon Women's Association United
Daejeon Women’s Association for Democracy
Daejeon Women’s Association for Peace-Making
Eco Horizon Institute
Jeju Peace Human Rights Center
Jeju Peace Human Rights Institute WHAT
Korea Federation for Environmental Movements
Korea NGO Council for Cooperation with North Korea
Korea Veterans for Peace
Korea Women's Associations United
Korea Women's Hot Line
Korean Sharing Movement
MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society
Movement for One Korea
National YWCA of Korea
NCYK (National Council of YMCA'S of Korea)
Networks for Greentransport
Peace Sharing Association
People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD)
Professors for Democracy
Pyeongtaek Peace Center
Reconciliation and Reunification Committee, NCCK (The National Council of Churches in Korea)
Research Institute for Peace and Reunification of Korea
Sejong Women's Corporation
Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea (SPARK)
The Corea Peace 3000
The Headquarters of National Unification Movement of Young Korean Academy
The Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan
The Research Institute of the Differently Abled Person’s Right in Korea
The Righteous People for Korean Unification
Women in Action for Life PAN
Women Making Peace
Won-Buddhism Diocese of Pyongyang
World Without War