Chronology of 5·18 Events in Los Angeles

This timeline was prepared by Young Koreans United of Los Angeles and the Korean Resource Center, both of which have initiated annual 5·18 Commemoration Events in Los Angeles since their founding.

1980    Blood donation campaign for Gwangju citizens and protest at the American Red Cross expose the massacre during the Gwangju Uprising further spur a Koreatown protest for Korea's democracy. The Honam Friendship Association of Southern California is formed as a result.
1981    5·18 Fugitive Yoon Han Bong escapes to the U.S.
1982    Fasting protest is held in response to Park Gwan-Hyun's death in prison. / The Committee to Support Victims of the Gwangju Uprising is formed. / “Oh! Gwangju” is published to expose the massacre during the Gwangju Uprising.
1983    Inspired in part by the 5·18 Movement, the Korean Resource Center is founded.
1984    Inspired by the 5·18 Movement, Young Koreans United of USA is founded.
1985    A committee is formed to commemorate 5·18 and support the memorial tower construction ($35,000 raised by 1986).
1986    Protest is held against then-ROK President Chun Du Hwan's U.S. visit. / Rally condemns Chun Du Hwan's fascist brutality. / Conference launches the Committee Against the Suppression of Democracy and Reunification Movement. / A vigil and forum to commemorate the 6th Anniversary of 5·18 is held and the city of Berkeley passes a resolution to announce the event date as “GwangJu Citizens' Day”).
1987    “Korea's Division and 5·18” Forum commemorating the 7th anniversary of the 5·18 Gwangju People’s Uprising
1988    Protest is held against then-ROK President Roh Tae Woo's U.S. visit. / Pan-Korean Conference is held to commemorate the 8th Anniversary of 5·18 Gwangju People's Uprising. / The National Assembly of the Republic of Korea holds 5·18 Hearings.
1989    Southern California Korean American Conference is held to commemorate the 9th Anniversary of 5·18 People's Uprising
1990    Korean American Forum is held to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of Gwangju People's Uprising. / In Korea, the Gwangju Democratic Movement Reparation Bill is passed.
1991    Southern California Korean American Conference is held to commemorate the 11th Anniversary of 5·18 Gwangju People's Uprising. The program includes a commemoration ceremony, film screening of “Mother, It's Your Son,” and musical performance of “When the Blue Mountain Calls.”
1992    Organizations and individuals affiliated with 5·18 form the May Festival Committee.
1993    The 13th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony is held. / A forum is organized on “The Historical Meaning of Gwangju Uprising and the Proper Resolution.” / 5·18 Commemoration Event Action Committee is formed / Yoon Han Bong, the last fugitive of the 5·18 People's Uprising returns to Korea and founds the “Research Institute for the Future of Our People” in Gwangju.
1994    The 14th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony is held. / A walk-a-thon commemorates the 5·18 spirit. / Theater group “ToBakYi” performs play “Peony Flower.” / The May 18 Memorial Foundation is formed in Gwangju, Korea.
1995    The 15th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony is held. / A walk-a-thon commemorates the 5·18 spirit / Park Moon Ok and Oh Chang Gyu performs music concert “Gwangju! Our Songs!” / Rally in front of the Korean Consulate protests the dropping of charges on the 5·18 case by the prosecutor's office. / Overseas Koreans Petition Campaign is launched to introduce the Special Bill on 5·18 (20,000 signatures collected) / The Korean government introduces the Special Bill on 5·18 Democracy Movement.
1996    The 16th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony is held. / Video “When the day comes” is presented. / Prof. Kang Jeong Gu speaks at forum. / A walk-a-thon commemorates the 5·18 spirit. / Theater group “ToBakYi” performs the play, “KeumHee's May.”
1997    5·18 Memorial Park Democracy Tree Planting Campaign is coordinated. / The 17th Anniversary Commemoration Event – Commemoration ceremony and video screening of “Yoon Sang Won, a citizen soldier” --- is held. / Former Presidents Chun Du Hwan and Roh Tae Woo's military revolt and treason charges are finalized by the Korean Supreme Prosecutor's Office.
1998    5·18 People's Uprising Commemoration Committee is formed. / The 18th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony is held. / Visit to 5·18 Memorial Park is organized.
1999    The 19th Anniversary Commemoration Event is held – Commemoration ceremony and Video screening of “Red Brick.”
2000    The 20th Anniversary Commemoration Event is held – Commemoration ceremony, forum and talk by Prof. Han Yong Seop: “The US role on 5·18” and video screening of “Documentary 5·18.” / The 20-year Anniversary Commemoration Conference gathers at UCLA.
2001    The 21st Anniversary Commemoration Event is held – Commemoration ceremony, forum and talk by Prof. Kim Man Heum, video screening of “Documentary 5·18.”
2002    The 22nd Anniversary Commemoration Event is held – Commemoration ceremony, forum: “22nd anniversary of 5·18 and the building of equitable relationship between Korea and the U.S.” 5·18 Photo Exhibition. 2003    The 23rd Anniversary Commemoration Event is held – Commemoration ceremony, bilingual symposium “Remembering Gwangju: Peace, Democracy, and Community” with invited non-Korean activists.
2004    The 24th Anniversary Commemoration Event is held – Commemoration ceremony, talk and forum: Prof. Edward Taehan Chang and “Reflections of the 5·18 Solidarity Committee,” Prof. Yang Pil Seung and “Protest at the American Red Cross and the Blood Drive Campaign.”
2005    The 25th Anniversary Commemoration Event is held – Commemoration ceremony, forum: “Our community's action and direction” (guest Speaker: Prof. Edward Chang and KRC Executive Director Dae Yoon).

2006    The 26th Anniversary Commemoration Event is held – Civic Empowerment and Student Movement in Light with guest speakers and cultural peformance: Prof. Glenn Omatsu, Young Koreans United of Los Angeles, Eunsook Lee (NAKASEC), Eddie Kim, Skim, HanNuRi Korean American Cultural Troupe.
2007    The 27th Anniversary Commemoration Event is held – “Our Stories of May 1980.” / On June 26, Yoon Han Bong, the "Last Fugitive" involved in the May 18th Gwangju People's Uprising of 1980, and leader of the progressive Korean American grassroots movement, passes away at the age of 58.
2008    Symposium “The Movement of People” commemorates the 28th Anniversary of 5·18 People's Uprising and the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the Korean Resource Center – Korean American activists around the nation join with migrant rights activists from Asia, Australia, and Europe to participate in this multigenerational event.
2009    Community Forum is held: “Late Kim Gu / May 18th 1980 / Communities in the U.S” (guest speakers: Ho Kie Eun, Eun Sook Lee, Marqueece Harris-Dawson) / Essay contest “The Community I Want” on the spirit of civic participation and justice.
2010 Human Rights: Here. Today: a panel discussion in commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of the 5·18 Gwangju People's Uprising
2014 May 18th Commemorative

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