SPEAK asserts adoptees’ right to influence the conversation and policies concerning intercountry adoption (ICA) from Korea. As Koreans who had no choice in our departure from this country, we call on Korea to end its intercountry adoption industry. We believe Korea should prioritize family preservation and seek socially just alternatives to ICA. SPEAK stands in solidarity with other social justice movements to raise awareness and advocate change through education and activism.
Meet the Steering Committee
Benjamin Coz, Organizing Director, (he/him/his) is a Korean American adoptee from Duluth, Minnesota. He holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin – Superior, and a master’s in social work with a focus on social administration and international social welfare from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. He has worked with youth across a wide range of settings, most recently with Asian American immigrant and refugee communities.
Ben is interested in the empowerment of adoptee communities and those marginalized through international adoption. He is focused on international social welfare reform and the amplification of the voices who are most impacted by it. As a student of Hip-Hop culture and a musician, he believes in the utilization of arts to create spaces for people to tell the narratives of themselves and their communities.
Chaelee Dalton, Education Director, (they/she) is a Korean American adoptee and educator currently based in Brooklyn. She has a background in social justice advocacy and activism, particularly in the intersections of science and social justice, and has served in mentorship and education-oriented roles in numerous underserved communities in the U.S.
As a member of SPEAK, Chaelee hopes to make resources about the nuances of adoption and adoption alternatives more accessible to adoptees, birth families, adoptive families, and the public. Right now her efforts are focused on SPEAK’s reading group, ‘read and SPEAK,’ in which adoptees can read and discuss academic papers and personal narratives focused on adoption and its intersections.
In her free time, she enjoys watching and thinking about the politics of food television, observing blocks sliding down inclines, queering Harry Potter, and finding cheap vegan baked goods.
Katelyn Hemmeke, Media Director, (she/her/hers) earned her M.A. in English literature from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she wrote her thesis on Korean adoptee memoirs and literary trauma theory. As a 2016-2017 U.S. Fulbright Junior Researcher, she conducted research on birth family search and interviewed 30 Korean transnational adoptees for an oral history project.
As a writer, researcher, and advocate for social justice, Katelyn seeks to elevate the voices of adoptees, birth families, and single/unwed mothers in adoption discourse. She is also dedicated to efforts aimed at improving birth family search and post-adoption services.
Kristin R. Pak, Policy Director, (she/her/hers) has been active in the adoptee community since 1999. As an immigrant adoptee, she joined the immigrant rights movement at an English language program for adult im/migrants and playing poongmul at rallies in New York City. After receiving a Master of Public Administration degree, she re-migrated back to Korea and now teaches at SeoKyeong University.
Continuing work she began with ASK (Adoptee Solidarity Korea), Kris advocates to change immigration practices in both South Korea and in receiving countries system-wide and for individuals. She is on the team revising the Special Adoption Law of South Korea advising the government on policies relevant to migrants in Korea. She also helped with the language about deportation in the Declaration Calling for an Immediate End to the Industrial Adoption System from South Korea before delivering it to President Moon.