“When I first realized I won the award, I was really surprised, but I decided to see it as an opportunity to represent the many outstanding Korean-American students in Illinois and the Chicagoland area,” he said.
According to the 2010 Census, the Asian Pacific American population in Illinois numbers approximately 586,934, or 4.6 percent of the statewide population.
Kim attended the 31st annual Lunar New Year Celebration, hosted this year by the Japanese American Community and themed “Beyond the Bamboo Ceiling,” at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare on February 22 to accept his award. He said he appreciated the message of the event, which was that Asian-Americans are breaking stereotypes in the United States more and more by completing college and securing high-level professional positions.
A slideshow of photos of some prominent Asian-American figures played at the ceremony, which Kim found inspiring. Politicians such as Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and James Crawley, a candidate for Cook County Circuit Judge, were in attendance to support the Asian-American community. Kim’s mother, father, sister, and aunt accompanied him to the event.