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Senate Passes Resolution Recognizing Centennial Anniversary of Korean Immigration to the U.S.

Washington, DC.--On June 27, 2002, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution (S. Res. 185) in recognition of the historical significance of the 100th anniversary of the Korean immigration to the United States. The resolution recognizes the achievements and contributions of Korean Americans in the United States over the past 100 years and asks the President to issue a proclamation calling on the American people to observe the centennial anniversary with special programs.

In December 1902, 56 Korean men, 21 women, and 25 children left Korea and traveled across the Pacific Ocean on the S.S. Gaelic and landed in Honolulu, Hawaii on January 13, 1903, marking the first entry of Korean immigrants to the U.S. These new arrivals, followed by some 7,000 other Koreans, worked hard in the sugar plantations in Hawaii. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, Korean Americans now reside in all 50 states and the total American population with Korean heritage, including mixed blood, numbers 1,228,427.

"Judging by their achievements over the past 100 years, there is an American story that confirms the opportunity for individual initiative, creativity, hard work, and sucess in these free United States," said Senator George Allen (R-VA), the the chief sponsor of the resolution. The resolution, introduced in November 2001, has 33 bipartisan co-sponsors, including Sen. Biden (D-De.), Sen. Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Brownback (R-KS), Sen. Clinton (D-NY),. Sen. Feinstein (D-Cal.), Sen. Gramm (R-TX), Sen. Inouye (D-HI), Sen. Smith (R-OR), and Sen. Specter (R-PA).

In expressing his deep thanks to Sen. Allen and other co-sponsors of the resolution, William TongSul Cho, president of the National Association of Korean Americans (NAKA), said,"We are very pleased to receive this important Congressional recognition of Korean Americans' long history and contributions in the United States.." Rev. Dr. Syngman Rhee, president of the Korean American Political Action Committee, another organization that worked with NAKA in introducing the resolution, stated, "We are very encouraged about this news and will double our effortsto encourage all Korean Americans to become full participants in the American society."

NAKA plans to celebrate special commemorative events in 1903, in cooperation with other Korean American organizations and American people across the nation.