LINK attempts to gain support for North Koreans

Elias Ahumada, Photo Editor

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Bakersfield resident Kyle Johnson, 25, hosted an event on the weekend of March 6-7 at his home in Bakersfield that was put together by the non-profit organization Liberty in North Korea, or LINK.

The event was held outside of Johnson’s house and nine people showed up.

Johny Williams, Haley Mah, and Yeji-Kim were responsible for putting the event together. They are known as Nomads in the organization.

The three Nomads belong to a group named Cal-West and they are part of five teams touring North America at the moment.

LINK’s mission is to tackle one of the biggest issues they believe humanity is facing today and “mobilizing” the current generation to support the North Korean people.

Johnson is originally from Exeter but has been living in Bakersfield “for about four or five years,” he said.

Johnson first heard about LINK while living in Korea Town, Los Angeles with his ex-girlfriend.

“Her dad’s side, they came over a little after the war [Korean War], when the parallel was being set up, and her mom is from the south [South Korea],” Johnson said about his ex-girlfriend’s family.

Johnson recalls his first LINK event was seven years ago and the event was similar to the one he hosted. The event Johnson and his ex-girlfriend attended was in a city near Irvine.

“After the event I signed up for the Nomad program, I put my name in, but I never actually went,” said Johnson. “About six months ago I got a call from a group saying they were wanting to come out to Bakersfield.”

Johnson said that he was a little apprehensive at first but then, he said, the more he thought about it the more he wanted to help. Johnson finally made up his mind after reading a couple more books on North Korea.

“Now these guys are here [Nomads] and my plan is to sell this [his house] and go do what they do,” Johnson said.

Johnson currently works for Hall Ambulance as an EMT.

“We are one of five teams traveling across North America right now and so that makes us 15 in total, Nomads, Spring 2015,” said Kim, who is from Seoul, South Korea.

Kim says that the Cal-West team is responsible for covering the entire south of California because there is so much support for LINK in the area. The other Nomad groups cover “North East Nomad, South East Nomad, Pacific North West Nomad, and Great Plains Nomad,” she said.

LINK’s also covers areas in Canada.

The group expressed their appreciation from all the supporters in California.

The Liberty In North Korea Headquarters is in Torrance, Cali. and that is where all the teams start from and also where team members receive their training.

Qualifications to be a Nomad include “always eager to learn and you should be the one to be self –motivated because serving to humanity and helping people is sometimes really hard…so you should be the one that can self-motivate,” said Kim.

Johny Williams, 22, is from Anglesey, Wales and says he is excited that Kyle has been a wonderful supporter for some time now and glad, he hosted the event.

“We have three main programs…the narrative program, rescue program, and our resettlement program…these programs are funded by donations by selling merch [merchandise],” said Williams.

Haley Mah, 23, is from Vancouver, Canada and has been in training for about six weeks and this was her first week on the road. “It’s like I have ever experienced before, everyday is completely new, and things that I could not have imagined are happening and I’m meeting really amazing people,” she said. Mah was pleased to see so much support from people all over California.

“ I would like to say that we are three people from different countries in another country helping people in another country…we just really want to bring the world together…and support the North Korean people.”

LINK Nomad’s travel and live inside of a van and the spring tour ends in San Diego.

For more information on the organization visit the LINK website at www.libertyinnorthkorea.org

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