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"Home" can mean a number of different things to our community – a comfortable, safe place to retreat to at the end of the day or more fundamentally, a place where we feel that we belong.  And while many of us will spend the holiday season finding filling our houses with warmth and comfort, many members of our community will continue struggling to obtain this basic human right.

This holiday season, the MinKwon Center would like to highlight some stories about “home” that people within our community have and continue to face.  You can help make home a reality to our community by making a contribution to the MinKwon Center.  With your support, we will continue to work tirelessly to protect tenants, keep families in their homes, and ensure that individuals and families can remain in the communities.
Click to support MinKwon's #GivingTuesday!

"Home, a place filled with laughter and family"

In 1982, a bright, young, ambitious South Korean artist named Kyung Hee Park packed up her bags in Paris to emigrate to New York City.  She believed her stay would be short-lived.  "As an artist, I wanted to continue living in Paris, but moved here to help out my sister.  I didn't think about the American Dream".  All this changed when  Ms. Park found found the love of her life, Chai Hyun Yun.  Mr. Park has remained in the United States ever since.
Ms. Park recounts a home filled with art and music with her husband. While Ms. Park would paint on small canvases (which was all she could afford), her husband would play jazz on the piano. "Sometimes, the downstairs tenants would knock their brooms on their ceilings to tell us to keep it down."  All that mattered was that she was home with her Chai Hyun.
Times were not always easy for Ms. Park.  She worked in the sweatshops to make ends meet. "Sometimes, we were told not to come in because the management knew that government officials were coming to the factory," recounts Ms. Park. Only after Ms. Park married Mr. Yun did she gain citizenship.
In 2000, Ms. Park lost her husband, and in the wake of his death, Ms. Park poured herself into art by working on a series of paintings inspired by “creation” and becoming increasingly involved with the MinKwon Center.  She began coming to the MinKwon Center as a tax client and then was brought to a tenant meeting by a friend.  MinKwon also helped her to remain in the home she had lived with her husband in for 30 years by help
ing her to apply for SCRIE (Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption).  She has been an active member of MinKwon's tenant group, attending and speaking at events, but her most memorable experience with MinKwon was the National Immigration Day of Action in 2013.  She was moved to see so many communities and individuals unafraid to come forward to fight for the right to the place they call home.
Despite the many struggles Ms. Park has faced, she is still able to find the silver lining in her experiences, “Home, for me, is place filled with laughter and family.  There might be times where we suffer, but there is always laughter as well."
Check out Ms. Park's story on HONY (Humans of New York)
Copyright © 2015 MinKwon Center for Community Action, All rights reserved.

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