Kim was recently honored by Assemblywoman Nily Rozic at an Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration.
“It’s actually an incentive for me to do more in the future for the Asian-American community,” she said. “There’s so much to do within my organization and in the community.”
With Asian Americans making up 15 percent of New York City’s population, she wants a stronger voice to advocate for the community’s diverse needs.
“I feel like as an Asian-American leader and executive director of a community organization, I have an opportunity to be part of that voice,” she said.
Asian Americans face many issues in the community, she said, including language barriers and immigration issues.
“Without us, Korean-American women, victims of domestic violence, they have no shelter to go to,” Kim said. “They have the mainstream shelters, but they really want to be in an environment where there are Korean-American counselors who speak their language.
“Even the food that they have, it’s better if they have kimchi rather than be served sandwiches,” she added. “We provide culturally and linguistically specific services.”
On immigration, Kim said many Asian Americans are undocumented, and others have complicated visa statuses. If they don’t speak the language, face immigration issues and are victims of domestic abuse, the multi-layered problems all add up.
“That goes back to why small, community-based organizations like ours are very important,” Kim said.