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Mayor Kang Speaks To Students of Increasing Diversity in the City of Irvine

Last Tuesday, The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (OEOD) brought Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang to UC Irvine’s Cross-Cultural Center to speak about “Diversity in Irvine.”

Mayor Kang is the first Korean-American with an immigrant background to serve the local office in the city of Irvine’s history. Prior to last year’s mayoral election, Kang served as a member of the Irvine City Council.

The mayor’s speech relied on statistics to showcase Irvine’s diversity compared to other U.S. cities and acknowledge the importance of the role UCI played in his mayoral victory.

“[In] 1980, 82 percent of the population was white. Today, that number is only 47 … conversely, 8 percent of Irvine’s residents in 1980 … were of Asian descent. Today, that number … [is] 38 percent and is growing … It’s largely due to [UCI],” Kang said. “UCI votes, actually, elected me as mayor .… I bet you 50 percent of [votes] came from UCI.”

The mayor also discussed the importance of Irvine’s multicultural events, such as the Global Village Festival, international film festivals and diversity-related committees and programs.

The city of Irvine’s diversity has a pool of immigrants with successful “American Dream” stories, including Mayor Kang, who now possesses a high-profile status in his native South Korea. Two weeks ago, Mr. and Mrs. Kang went to Seoul for an appearance on “Bae Gi-Wan, Choi Young-A and Cho Hyeong-Gi’s Good Morning,” a morning talk show on the major network Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS).

On the SBS show, Mayor Kang reflected on a question about what advice he would give to young Koreans pursuing the “American Dream.”

“An ordinary person, like myself, can become an extraordinary person if you work hard, and put your mind to it and …[put your] best effort in achieving something that’s special to the community,” Kang said.

Sarah Casseus, a staff at UCI Housing and administrative services, asked Kang, “What would you tell young people who are interested in getting involved in politics?”

Kang replied, “It’s very simple … Make sure that [you] register to vote because your voice can make a big difference.”