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Young Koo Kim

Call Number: AOHG._.KW
Date Produced / Published: Aug. 22, 2019
City Produced / Published: Los Angeles

Bio./Hist. Note

Young Koo Kim is a Pastor at the South Bay Giving Church in Los Angeles and is an Activist who focuses on assisting U.S.-based North Korean refugees. His daughter Sarah Cho works closely with him and founded the volunteer organization North Koreans in America (NKIM). While they often collaborate, Choi is vocal about having varying politics and opinions on the work that they both do.


Note: The transcription has been shortened and is currently only available in Korean. 

Created / Published

Hailey Loman, Hea-Mi Kim, Taehee Kim

Access Condtions

Public Transcription and Audio

Archivist Summary

The conversation was held at Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (LACA) where I am the Director of the space. This was a comfortable environment for me. It was difficult for Young Koo Kim and I to communicate due to my lack of language skills, so I turned to Taehee and Hea-Mi for support in most situations.
-Hailey Loman, May 24, 2019

I was a little nervous because I had never interviewed somebody, but I felt comfortable around my collaborators and the equipment we were using to interview. Also, LACA has been a safe space for me since I moved to Los Angeles. We had previously gotten in touch with Young Koo Kwak and had read a little bit about him so I was prepared for us to possibly have differing politics.
– Hea-Mi Kim, May 26, 2019

Before the interview, I was concerned about what/how to say/ask about North Korea both as an interviewer and South Korean. It was a valuable time for me to understand more about North Korean’s life. I was embarrassed when Young Koo Kim doubted my Korean pronunciation. 
– TaeHee Kim, May 26, 2019

Archivist Ethics

This was a particularly unique conversation for me because I did not know what was being talked about primarily during the interview. I relied on translated notes Hea-Mi wrote out for me during the conversation. I worried about my collaborator’s well-being during the course of the conversation as I was unsure Young Koo Kwak’s politics and how we would each handle follow up questions, as well as our varying authority over certain topics.
- Hailey Loman, May 24, 2019

I had a lot of anxiety in the beginning of the interview because Young Koo Kwak commented on my nose piercing during our initial greeting, and I was also a few minutes late. I felt infantilized in a way that put me in the mindset of a rebellious teenager trying to win their parents' trust back. Due to my elementary level Korean, I couldn't understand the whole interview. His smile and demeanor reminded me of my uncles. I felt like I could trust him even though I didn't agree with everything he was saying. I easily nodded and smiled and laughed with the statements I disagreed with because of my unintentional emotional attachment to Young Koo. I cared for him and was at ease with our polar opposite opinions. This would have been different if Young Koo was not Korean. I was immediately confronted with cultural disappointment due to my broken Korean so I felt the need to win Pastor Young Koo Kwak's approval before he had left LACA.
– Hea-Mi Kim, May 26, 2019

I was a bit confused how to proceed with the interview because we couldn’t do simultaneous translations. I wasn’t sure what my collaborator’s thought or if they had any other following questions.
– TaeHee Kim, May 26, 2019