TEAM | Northeast Nomads
CURRENT LOCATION | New York City
I can’t believe we’ve been on the road for over a month already! It’s been an exciting, exhausting, inspiring experience, all rolled into one, and I don’t want it to end. Ever.
Since heading east in our big, beautiful van, we’ve seen some breathtaking landscapes, stepped foot into eighteen states and counting, and gotten to know some phenomenal people.
These people, whether they’re students, teachers, or recent graduates, are doing whatever they can do to bring the North Korean people to light within their communities. I’m constantly inspired by their dedication to the cause and refusal to take “no” for an answer.
One of these phenomenal people we’ve met on tour is Charlotte Steiner. She’s a third-year viola major at Juilliard, and she invited us to give a presentation at her school last Thursday. While we were setting up, she told me she was worried there wouldn’t be more than ten people at the screening. Other students in the past have tried to have presentations at Juilliard, and they’ve never been very successful. Only 850 students attend Juilliard, and they’re all extremely devoted to honing their craft, leaving little time for anything else. Even when she told her friends about what she was doing, they were confused. They didn’t think anyone would show up because people typically don’t.
Nearly thirty people showed up to the screening – three times the number she predicted – and one of them was Ji-Yong Kim, a well-known pianist in South Korea, who also happens to be a student at Juilliard. He was inspired by the stories of the North Korean people and wanted to do more. He told me he wanted to raise awareness on the issue in South Korea, and since then, he’s already reached out to his fans to tell them more about the shift that’s happening in North Korea.
Charlotte is the type of person who goes against the grain to stand up for what’s right, and she totally inspired me. I don’t know many people who would actually go through with hosting a screening, knowing that the probability of people actually showing up was slim to none. I think most people would’ve let the negativity and opposition she faced from her friends get to them, but she pushed forward, despite it all. And now, because of her, the students at Juilliard heard the stories of the North Korean people, and because of her, they were moved to act.
We have met so many spectacular people since we’ve hit the road who want liberty in North Korea just as badly as we do. They inspire us every day to keep doing what we’re doing, and it’s because of these dedicated individuals that we’re able to raise awareness about the North Korean people all across the nation.
So on behalf of all the Nomads, a big thanks to all of you amazing people who have brought us to your schools, coffee shops, libraries, churches, homes, and communities. We’re thrilled that you’ve chosen to be a part of this movement!
From the road,
CHI KO | Northeast Nomad