Open City: Blogging Urban Change
Featured Profile: Nodutdol
By Cristiana Baik


Image taken from a 2006 demonstration

A revised profile on the Queens-based, grass roots organization, Nodutdol, with an update on the organization’s current, pressing projects and campaigns.

Nodutdol—a social justice organization campaigning for peace at home and abroad—makes its home in Woodside, Queens. Founded in the Spring of 1999 by a group of 1.5 and 2nd generation Korean-Americans, Nodutdol’s current members include artists, writers, students, teachers, laborers, and professionals. The organization makes its home close to Flushing, which includes the largest Korean diasporic community in the state. Several of the founding members and current board members were raised in Flushing, during a time when a burgeoning Korean community was growing along the spine of the 7 line. In the early years, —through an afterschool youth program, a charter school building project, free English classes, and a free health clinic—Nodutdol’s local programs worked with immigrants from Korea who had been displaced by the 1997 IMF financial crisis, with the goal of organizing communities in New York in order to catalyze systemic changes in US policy both at home and on the Korean peninsula.

Nodutdol’s main organizational goals are to contribute to a global people’s struggle against war and militarism (which also includes supporting the Korean struggle for national unification and democracy), and to take part in the struggles for racial, social and economic justice in New York City. One of its main campaigns is to build support for a peace treaty to end the war in Korea, which would put an end to a brutal civil war that has separated families for generations (as a temporary ceasefire—and not a peace treaty—“ended” the war). To bring together the diasporic communities and movements in the US and abroad, Nodutdol runs a program called KEEP (Korea Exposure and Education Program), where participants travel to meet people and organizations in South Korea, North Korea, and Korean diasporic communities in Japan and China. In addition, Nodutdol builds collaborative alliances within the US to strengthen social justice movements to end US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to address unfair free trade agreements like the Korea-US FTA (under vote in Congress currently), and to strengthen police accountability (in the US) . Nodutdol’s current alliances include Peoples Justice for Community Control and Police Accountability [PJ], Korean Americans for Fair Trade [KAFT], and the United National AntiWar Committee [UNAC]. With the latter, Nodutdol is currently running a discussion series on US policy in Asia.

The belief in grassroots organizing has played a significant role in shaping Nodutdol’s campaigns. This community-based strategizing harks back to the role that mass movements (especially movements catalyzed by university students) played to help end decades of violent political dictatorships in South Korea (1948-1993) and elsewhere around the world. Although the organization’s current campaign—the Korean Peace Treaty Campaign—is global, Nodutdol’s community of supporters are local: many current and past members have lived through changes—from Koch, Giuliani, to Bloomberg—that transformed not only Flushing, but the rest of the city.

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About Open City
Open City: Blogging Urban Change is an interdisciplinary neighborhood blog and community project coordinated by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. Five commissioned writers, called Organizing Fellows, are working with community organizations and neighborhood folks in Manhattan’s Chinatown/Lower East Side (LES), Flushing, Queens, and Sunset Park, Brooklyn to collect oral histories and interviews, offer commentary about gentrification, neighborhood change, and produce new creative work around these themes. Read more.
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Featured Profile
CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities was formed in 1986 (formerly known as the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence) as a response to an increase in anti-Asian hate crimes both in New York City and around the country (which included violence by police officers against Asians).
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