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I travel out of town for work for many weeks out of a year, so whenever I am in Los Angeles, I feel like I am rushing to squeeze as much out of the limited days I have in the office. I do that so that I can spend special time with my children. And, when we can, we make sure to stop by the farmer’s market. We go for our favorite: standard American kettle corn.

Only a certain type of kettle corn reminds me of my kids– it has to pour out of a self-generating metal bubble, salted, hand-scooped and warm, in a sunlit, open air market filled with people originating from many countries, eaten by people from every stripe, sexual orientation and color.

I bring both my children: one talkative young lady, one video-game playing boy. Sometimes their friends join us. To be healthy, I make sure we share the kettle corn with whichever friend we see next. I'll even justify bringing more people to the market to counterbalance the buttery goodness.

I want them to remember this luxurious crowd of ordinary people where they got the kettle corn: a special treat we concocted just for them. Min and Jin, share this. A brew of American kettle corn, amidst the freshest bundles of vegetables in the city, in a place that anyone can access and everyone is welcome.

It is this belief that America is stronger when we share what we have that took my children and I, along with swap meet workers, retired teachers, and others, on a journey almost three thousand miles away to our nation’s capital; and that led us to say that the proposed exchange that will serve as the marketplace for health insurance options should be open and affordable to all in America.

I urge you to read The Choice Before Us: Letters to President Obama, by writers ranging from a sixth-grader in Los Angeles, to a farm owner in Missouri, tackling one of the toughest issues in American history: health reform.  We went to Washington, DC, to satisfy the spirit, and define our character, by giving our all to a difficult task – the action that President Obama said is the promise of citizenship.

EunSook Lee is the Executive Director of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC). Over the last 15 years, NAKASEC and affiliates Korean Resource Center (KRC) in Los Angeles and Korean Resource and Cultural Center (KRCC) in Chicago formed a network that forwards a holistic empowerment model combining education, social service, culture, civic engagement, and organizing. Read more at

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