Korean Community Booming in Northern OC

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The Northern Orange County Korean community is booming. The photo is showing Koreans at the festival hosted by the Arirang Culture Arts Association at The Source.

The Korean community in the northern district of Orange County is making waves of movement.

Following the establishment of the Arirang Festival Foundation in 2013, The Korean Central Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCCI) and Arirang Culture Arts Association have been founded in the area recently. The foundation of those community organizations has clearly fueled the local Korean community’s visibility.

The notable element in the recent rise of the Korean community in and around Buena Park is the proposed plan to partner with The Source mall to one day create an official Koreatown in the northern area of Orange County.

Around 61,400 Korean-Americans currently rise in Northern Orange County. That equates to approximately 71 percent of the entire Korean-American population in Orange County. Despite such a large number, community organizations run by Korean-Americans in the area has been few and far between.

The three organizations recently created in the area aim to represent the Korean community of Northern Orange County by launching various projects and businesses.

The Arirang Festival Foundation supported the launching of the Arirang Culture Arts Association in March. Last month, it hosted a fundraising golf event to provide more community-based events in the future. The foundation has since announced that the funds raised with the golf tournament will directly go into hosting events that are unrelated to October’s Arirang Festival.

“There’s a need to unite Koreans-Americans of Cerritos, Norwalk and La Mirada in Northern Orange County,” said Cheol-seung Jeong, the foundation’s chairman. “An important goal is to raise the political power of Koreans in the area. The Korean-American community as a whole is aging. We may also launch an additional organization for elderly Koreans. We will offer help to any efforts that will better the lives of Korean-Americans.”

The foundation is currently providing other community organizations with free rental of event rooms at the office building given by The Source mall’s management.

The future of KCCCI is also gaining traction after it launched in March.
KCCCI appointed O.C. Korean Restaurant Association president Yong-hwan Lee as its adviser as it plans to focus on helping Korean-American business owners in the area.

“We’re going to continue to host business-related seminars about labor, immigration, fiancé and workers’ comp,” said Jae-joon Jeong, the inaugural president.

The Arirang Culture Arts Association will focus on providing cultural and art events to the Korean community in Northern Orange County.

With its members consisting of those involved in traditional music and dance aficionados, the Arirang Culture Arts Association hosted its first ever event at The Source mall last month.

“Our plan is to host the event every year and we’ll also have volunteer events at various senior homes for the betterment of the Korean-American community,” said Hyun-suk Yang, the organization’s director.

The best example was the public hearing hosted in The Source mall’s Arirang Community Event Room last month about law regarding soju alongside California House of Representative Seok-ho Choi. The Source mall has been actively engaging in efforts to help the Korean community.

Aside from its event room, The Source also provided its fourth floor terrace for the supper hosted by the O.C. Korean American Federation. The same venue will be used for the inauguration of KCCCI’s incoming president Jae-joon Jeong.

In addition, KCCCI has appointed Jay Lim of M&D Property as its chief vice president.

The recent activities show that the Korean organizations are partnering with The Source to intensify the organized activity of Korean-Americans in Northern Orange County.

By Nakhee Park