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Introduction

Our final episode of Season One of CKA’s Korean American Perspectives podcast series features Professor Taeku Lee, a George Johnson Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley and CKA Member. Taeku is also a co-Principal Investigator of the National Asian American Survey, co-Principal Investigator of the Bay Area Poverty Tracker, and Managing Director of Asian American Decisions. He is on the National Advisory Committee for the U.S. Census Bureau.

As one of the preeminent social scientists who study the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, Professor Taeku Lee points out that although Asian Americans will be the largest immigrant group by 2050, we can’t wait around until then to make sure that Asian Americans are engaged and represented within the democratic process– especially with the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election and census.

From the bimodal divide between the professional and working class the labor skills mismatch to the political leanings and mobilization of Korean Americans, Taeku shares his insights on demographic trends within the Korean and Asian American community and the importance of data and civic participation.

One thing Professor Taeku Lee tells all of his students: Don’t think of democracy as a noun but as a verb. Not a stagnant idea to take for granted but an action we must continually nurture and participate in– a way of life.