For many of us, the plight of North Korean refugees has been an issue unheard of — that is, until the recent Euna Lee and Laura Ling incident, which despite political agendas, helped bring global awareness to the harsh reality of North Korea. From their recent statement describing their experience in North Korea, we get a glimpse of the grim conditions, such as female North Korean defectors who are forced into human trafficking.
To hear these stories is hardly enough; there are many ways to learn more, get involved and offer assistance to this humanitarian crisis. One such venue is LiNK (Liberation in North Korea), a non-profit organization consisting largely of college students and young adults, which works toward its mission “to educate, protect, advocate, provide and empower the North Korean people so that one day they will have the opportunity to live in true freedom.”
This Saturday, Sept. 12, LiNK will hold its 2009 Benefit Gala, “Hope Makes Us Live,” at The Times Center in New York City. As their website states, “Although there is still much to be done, we come together to celebrate victories and press on toward a hope filled future.”
Speakers will include Lisa Ling, correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show and sister to reporter Laura Ling, Senator Sam Brownback, Jared M. Genser of DLA Piper, and Congressman Ed Royce. Invited guests include Mike Kim, author of “Escaping North Korea,” Jim Butterworth, producer and director of “Seoul Train,” and David Hawk, author of “The Hidden Gulag.”
The biggest guests of honor at the gala, however, will be Joseph Kim, Shin Dong Hyuk and Jane — three young North Korean refugees who are now living in freedom. Joseph and Jane have resettled in the U.S., while Shin has resettled in South Korea. Click here to read their eye-opening “stories of hope.”