By Tack-Yong Kim / Michigan Korean Weekly
“I built this compound for my family. I saved the money for it, I designed it myself, and I oversaw the construction. The first missile tore through the yellow house and exploded inside the pink house. It was a government anti-personnel missile. They are not supposed to be used in residential areas. Inside were 116 small bombs, and each bomb was filled with needles and shrapnel. The pink house belonged to my brother, and his entire family was torn to pieces. The second missile landed in the green house but did not explode. That was my house. If the missile had exploded, I wouldn’t have any children left. But it only destroyed the top floor where my wife and daughter were. Sixteen people died in the attack. Seven were from my family.”
The story above about a Syrian scientist was posted on the facebook of Humans of New York on Dec. 8th. President Obama tagged it with the following message. “As a husband and a father, I cannot even begin to imagine the loss you’ve endured. You and your family are an inspiration, I know that the great people of Michigan will embrace you with the compassion and support you deserve. Yes, you can still make a difference in the world, and we’re proud that you’ll pursue your dreams here. Welcome to your new home. You’re part of what makes America great.”
President Obama was not the only one who responded to the facebook story. Daniel Mingee Kang,who was born in Troy and now a University of Michigan student, opened a Gofundme.com account to raise funds to help this Syrian refugee. The son of JoonSik Kang, who is the Treasurer for the Michigan Korean Chamber of Commerce, said in a phone interview “I would like to show a warm welcome to the new family coming to Troy like my family received years ago.”
As of the 16th of December, 717 people have donated $16,332. Kang is aiming for $30,000. Excited about generous public reaction, Kang said he was looking for ways to help more refugee families. Kang may not be able to deliver this monetary gift in person as the refugee family privacy is being protected. “I don’t mind. I just hope they know they are welcomed.” Kang added, “Many Americans are worried about terrorists who may come to the US among the refugees, but it is almost impossible sinceall the refugees have to go through heavy relocating processes by the FBI.”
Kang also understands that there are concerns about the influx of Muslims to the US, however Kang insisted,”Religion shouldn’t be a reason to discriminate against people. It is certain that God loves them too.”
Kang is concerned that “Jobs are the most important issues for the refugees. At the same time, any racial or religious discrimination toward the refugees should not be allowed. I hope our warm-hearted welcome could be the true Christmas present for them.”
This young man’s effort to pay it forward is central to what America is. There are also other fundraising efforts ongoing to help this refugee family.