Aspiring artists and concert-goers within the Atlanta community have been counting down the days until they would see each other for the first time. Summoned by the Liberty in North Korea (LiNK)’s humanitarian concern, both groups convened in the Student Center third floor Ballroom on Monday, Nov. 2.
LiNK is a non-governmental organization which saved 154 refugees from North Korea thanks to the ongoing fundraising effort of 331 rescue teams. This non-profit boasts a one hundred percent model in which the entirety of collected donations go to refugee rescue, resettlement assistance, empowerment programs and media advertising.
According to the website, rescuing a North Korean refugee and ensuring that he or she leads a sustainable lifestyle costs $3,000. Because Tech has the largest number of undergraduate students compared to the group’s other participants, the LiNK rescue teams decided to host the concert at Tech. The group hopes to set precedence so that a greater awareness can be established with potential donors.
This second annual Atlanta fall concert built up the audience’s excitement by first presenting local student talent. These included Band Absolute’s five member harmony, a dance by the Filipino Student Association (FSA), Jamie Na and Charlie Shin’s beat boxing and popping dance combination and Katie Vu whose sentimental yet powerful memoir, presented in the form of spoken word, washed the crowd with highly relevant concepts about liberty and society.
Two tactful emcees, Joon Lee and Hyun Kim, provided comic relief in between performances.
The two brought the night to a close with Lydia Paek’s performance. Lydia is a distinguished Korean-American YouTube star originally from Los Angeles, Calif. YG Entertainment in South Korea recently signed her. She interacted with the crowd in between the three songs that she presented live.
“I knew Lydia Paek from a G-Dragon song and Atlanta Filipino Student Association,” said Rebekah Sloan, a junior at Georgia State University. “Then I happen to know Katie Vu’s work around spoken words. I didn’t know Katie was performing. Also, the emcees were very funny.”
The show turned the audience’s attention to a brief video documentary introducing the history of North Korean and its impoverished state. Young Soo Kim, the club president, made an opening remark and emphasized the importance of learning new facts about North Korean refugees and their living conditions.
About 50 VIP and priority seats were set aside for sale. The ticket purchase included not only the entertainment but also Korean food, fun trivia and even access to a photo booth.
In addition to the one at Tech, the LiNK rescue teams from Emory University, Kennesaw State University and Northview High School participated in facilitating the event.
“I think what attendees might not notice is how much effort actually went into making this event happen,” said Alice Lee, the vice president of logistics. “I know it seems like a two-hour event, but it took the entire semester and multiple campuses to make this great event happen.”
Event staffs from Campus Auxiliary Services ensured quality audio system throughout. LiNK acknowledges that the Korean Undergraduate Students Associations from both Emory and Tech, Kollaboration Atlanta, The Korea Daily and Global Atlanta also helped to develop the initial plan for this event at the beginning of the fall semester into a reality.