Hamkae Center organizes Asian Americans to achieve social, economic, and racial justice in Virginia.
We develop holistic programs and campaigns that are guided by community members and meet immediate needs, while building Asian American community power to make long-term systemic changes that address the root causes of these needs and center human connections. We believe that Asian Americans, low-income folks, working class people, immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and other targeted people must work together in order to have a more just and equitable Virginia for all.
Theory of Change
Through community organizing, public policy advocacy, civic engagement, youth leadership development, service provision, and community education, Hamkae Center works to build a future in which low- and middle-income, immigrant, people of color, and marginalized communities can fully participate in U.S. society and work together as makers of lasting change.
In 2012, the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC) opened the doors of its Virginia affiliate, NAKASEC Virginia, to collectively build power with Korean and Asian American communities in Northern Virginia. Since then, NAKASEC Virginia community members have fought to make Virginia a place for all Asian Americans – including undocumented and other non-citizens, working class, LGBTQ+, and youth – to know our roots, live strong, live right, and live together. We made these successes possible by centering those most impacted and fighting alongside others who share our values. Naturally, our reach expanded greatly beyond Korean American communities. It was time for a new name.
Hamkae Center showcases the power of this unity and our growth as an organization. Hamkae (함께) is the Korean word for “together”. This name symbolizes our Korean American roots in the past, our strength as an Asian American community in the present, and our vision for justice and prosperity for all communities in the future. Our new logo, a raised fist centered in front of a drum, pays homage to this power and history. The drum is modeled after a Korean “buk,” which we play to bring attention to our communities, cultures, and power at rallies and marches. The centered fist holds a drumstick, representing solidarity within and outside of Asian Americans and our commitment to community-centered justice.
At Hamkae Center, we know true power and meaningful change come from collective action. Together, we share our joy and dreams to build a more equitable future – and we welcome you to build it together with us.
NAKASEC was founded by local Korean American organizations from across the nation who saw the need for a prominent, national voice for the Korean and Asian American communities in the United States. To guide their organizing, our founders developed the following principles:
These original organizing principles are the core values that Hamkae Center and all of the NAKASEC network use to guide our work today. Read more about our values on NAKASEC’s site!