Assemblyman GORDON M. JOHNSON
District 37 (Bergen)
Assemblyman CLINTON CALABRESE
District 36 (Bergen and Passaic)
Assemblywoman VALERIE VAINIERI HUTTLE
District 37 (Bergen)
Recognizes 100th anniversary of “March 1st Movement” and contributions of Yu Gwan-sun.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Assembly Resolution recognizing the 100th anniversary of the “March 1st Movement” and the contributions of Yu Gwan-sun.
Whereas, The Korean Peninsula came under Japanese military rule in the early 20th Century and was formally annexed in 1910, beginning a 35-year struggle for independence; and
Whereas, On March 1, 1919, a 16-year-old girl named Yu Gwan-sun and four classmates joined others taking to the streets in one of the earliest protests against colonial rule, and the next day, protest organizers came to Yu’s school and encouraged Yu and her peers to join a student demonstration to be staged in three days; and
Whereas, On March 5, 1919 Yu and her classmates marched at Namdaemun, a gate in central Seoul, where they were briefly detained by colonial authorities; and
Whereas, Several days later, Yu returned to her hometown, Cheonan, with a smuggled copy of the United States Declaration of Independence, traveling from village to village to spread word of the movement for independence, which had become known as the “March 1st Movement,” and to rally local residents to organize their own protests; and
Whereas, Yu’s efforts inspired a protest of 3,000 people in Cheonan on April 1, 1919, where Yu distributed Korean national flags and gave speeches calling for independence, and where colonial police fired on the crowd, killing 19 people, including Yu’s parents; and
Whereas, In the following weeks, an estimated two million people out of a population of 20 million participated in 1,542 pro-independence marches; and
Whereas, By the time the Japanese authorities quashed the protests, more than 7,000 people had been killed, and about 46,000, including Yu, had been jailed; and
Whereas, Yu was convicted of sedition and sent to Seodaemun Prison in Seoul, where she demanded the release of other prisoners and continued to express her support for Korean independence, joining other inmates in organizing a large-scale protest on the first anniversary of the “March 1st Movement;” and
Whereas, Yu was eventually transferred to an underground cell, where she was repeatedly beaten and tortured for her defiance, and she died of her injuries on September 28, 1920; and
Whereas, Although the “March 1st Movement” did not immediately result in Korea’s independence, it crystallized a sense of national unity and was a catalyst for the resistance against colonial rule; and
Whereas, Today, March 1st is a national holiday in South Korea, where the 100th anniversary of the movement will be commemorated on March 1, 2019; and
Whereas, The United States and South Korea share a long history of friendship and cooperation based on shared interests and common values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law; and
Whereas, It is altogether fitting and proper to join South Korea and the Korean-American community in recognizing March 1, 2019 as the 100th anniversary of the “March 1st Movement” and in celebrating the contributions of Yu Gwan-sun; now, therefore,
Be It Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. This House hereby recognizes March 1, 2019 as the 100th anniversary of the “March 1st Movement” and celebrates the contributions of Yu Gwan-sun.
2. Copies of this resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, shall be transmitted by the Clerk of the General Assembly to the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, the President of the Korean American Association of New Jersey, the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in New York, the Borough of Palisades Park, and Hyekyung You, the niece of You Gwan-sun.
This resolution recognizes March 1, 2019 as the 100th anniversary of the “March 1st Movement” and celebrates the contributions of Yu Gwan-sun. In 1910, Japan began a 35-year period of colonial rule over Korea. Nine years later, a 16-year-old girl named Yu Gwan-sun became the face of nationwide protests against colonial rule, which became known as the “March 1st Movement.” Yu continued to organize protests and inspire resistance against colonial rule until her untimely death at the age of 17 as the result of injuries that she sustained while imprisoned for her political activism.
Although the “March 1st Movement” did not immediately result in Korea’s independence, it crystallized a sense of national unity and was a catalyst for the nation’s resistance to colonial rule. Today, March 1st is a national holiday in South Korea, where the 100th anniversary of the movement will be commemorated on March 1, 2019. The Korean-American community of Bergen County and the Mayor of Palisades Park have sought to honor the legacy of the “March 1st Movement” by supporting this commemoration.