Ga Young Chung is an assistant professor in the Department of Asian American Studies with an affiliation in Cultural Studies. With interdisciplinary specializations in transnational and comparative methodologies in the study of race, youth, and citizenship, she brings to society a perspective steeped in a commitment to equity and social justice. Chung has researched the undocumented Korean immigrant youth activism while working collaboratively with Korean American organizations. In her academic projects, she examines how citizenship's meanings and practices have been reassembled and rearticulated in Asia-Pacific. Informed by critical race theory, education studies, and youth studies, her work is dedicated to expanding Asian American studies in the era of the uneven globalization.
“Woori Ujima”: Undocumented Korean Immigrant Activism for Racial Justice in Solidarity with Black Community Amid Global Pandemic
In this research, I explore how undocumented Korean immigrant activists forge solidarity with the black community for racial justice based on shared experiences of marginalization. I particularly focus on a collaborative action project called “Woori Ujima” which means “our collective work and responsibility” in Korean and Swahili. Initiated by undocumented Korean activists and the UndocuBlack Network in 2018, the project has challenged the exclusionary immigration system and racism. Using critical race theory and comparative ethnic studies, I examine how they problematize the racialized frames of deservingness and the “ideal youth-citizen.” Amid the global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement of 2020, they continue to work tirelessly to fight xenophobia and racism in solidarity. I ultimately argue that not only do they further the value of coexistence and hospitality, but they also help us re-imagine the world we want to live in and the public actions we should engage in.