Shin Jin, Korean-American owner of the famous Korean karaoke bar ‘Encore Family Karaoke’ in Royal Lane’s Koreatown, donated $5,000 to one of the victims of the May 11th shooting that happened at the Korean-owned hair salon Royal Lane.
Jin visited the DKnet Korean radio station Wednesday 13th last month to hand the donation to Jung, who in turn said that she would split the donation with two other victims of the shooting.
It was about 5 days after the shooting and every article Jin read was about the hate crime but not about how the community could help the three victims.
“There were many people upset about it and didn’t have an avenue to help. So I decided to try to get as many donations as possible through gofundme and through my own businesses” Jin said.
The fundraising started a week after the shooting.
“I do not know the specific dates but once we started, we let it plateau and then stop naturally on its own. The community, the Asian community, and especially the Korean community I do not think knew how to react to something like this. I wish that going forward, we can start an initiative to help victims, especially our fellow Koreans suffering.
When Jin first started the fundraisers, he did not know any of the victim’s names. Jin gets his haircut from one of the stylists at the salon. Jin only knew Jung just by face alone.
“When the victims came out in interviews, they also went by their initials and wore masks which made it difficult to give the fundraisers the personalized touch it needed to be more successful. I personally worried more about the amount we could gather and not who they were until the fundraising was finished” Jin recalls.
At Encore Family Karaoke, Jin picked a Friday to give half his sales to the victims. There were a handful of customers who came specifically for the fundraiser but it wasn’t many. JIn put a half of the sales that Friday night and matched 10% of each donation to incentivize donors.
“If there was one thing I learned is that if it doesn’t touch hearts or if too much time lapses, people get calloused to the tragedy or just move on. With our fundraiser, it didn’t help that the Uvalde shootings eclipsed our tragedy here in Dallas” Jin said.
Jin also owns and operates Dan Sung Sa Dallas, another favorite Korean bar on Royal Lane among many patrons. He conducted a Titos sale there, which yielded a small sum of funds.
All in all, Jin put about $2,100 of his own money into the $5,000 donation.
Jin believes there needs to be more open and effective discussion among Korean Americans if they are to prevent another shooting incident.
“We are an old neighborhood with a lot of older owners and communication with each over the years has been difficult or non-existent. There have been other nonviolent crimes committed specifically towards Koreans and yet, we do not talk to each other like a community should. There are countless actions that could have prevented this shooting and many other crimes but we always act independently and also, we seem to be ashamed of being victims now. I personally do feel like it’s gotten better with the cameras set up in front of Komart and even in front of the Koryo Kalbi plaza but I do not think it’s enough. There needs to be more discussion and there needs to be more change before we are again affected.”