Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition

PICC Hires a New Executive Director

May 4 2021    PICC Blog

Dear PICC Supporters –

We are delighted to share the news that the Board of Directors has selected the next Executive Director of PICC – Andy Kang!

We received over 60 applications and interviewed many qualified candidates. Andy was the top choice of the Search & Hiring Committee, PICC’s board, and PICC staff. Throughout the interview process, Andy demonstrated a commitment to PICC’s mission and guiding principles, and we believe that he is the right leader to build on the successes of the past few years and take PICC into an exciting next phase. Andy’s first day as PICC’s Executive Director will be July 1, 2021.

Andy comes to PICC with extensive experience working in the immigrant rights movement in Chicago, serving as Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago for the past 3 years. Andy was one of the lead negotiators and strategists for the Illinois TRUST Act, the VOICES Act, and Automatic Voter Registration. Andy has also advocated successfully to strengthen Chicago’s Welcoming City Ordinance. On language access, Andy worked on improving Chicago’s language access ordinance, helped create the State of Illinois’ Language Access to Government Services Task Force, and oversaw a poll monitoring operation to protect the rights of limited English proficient voters as required under the federal Voting Rights Act. Regionally, Andy has participated in capacity building support to AAPI community organizing groups in Michigan, Ohio, and Minnesota and was co-founder of Asian American Midwest Progressives, a 501(c)(4) organization. Recently, Andy initiated the launch of Advancing Justice-Chicago’s anti-hate bystander training project in response to the rise of anti-Asian hate incidents. Andy serves as the Board President of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and has engaged in strategy formation and advocacy on federal immigration reform. He has previously served on the City of Chicago’s Commission on Human Relations and the Committee on Equality, Equity, and Opportunity for Governor Pritzker’s transition team; and co-chaired the Good Governance Committee for Mayor Lightfoot’s transition team. He currently serves as the co-chair of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s immigration committee.

We are incredibly grateful to outgoing Executive Director Sundrop Carter for her years of dedicated service. We cannot thank her enough for her hard work and dedication. Sundrop will be greatly missed and the legacy of excellence she has advanced through her work with PICC will resonate under Andy’s leadership and for many years to come. Thank you, Sundrop, for all that you do. 

This is an exciting transition for PICC, and we are looking forward to the continued advancement of immigrant rights at the local, state, and federal levels together with you all. 

Mary Bellman & Mary Jayne McCullough
Co-Chairs, PICC Board of Directors

Message from Sundrop Carter

I have been privileged to be part of building a space for groups across the state to support each other, learn together, and build the immigrant rights movement here in PA since 2013. When I stepped into the role of PICC’s executive director in the summer of 2015, I did so with a commitment to ensuring PICC’s work was rooted in and led by the needs of immigrant and refugee communities and to building a sustainable organization that could lift up and support the work of our membership. I also came to this position with the strong belief that as a white, US-born citizen, I had an obligation to create space for immigrant leaders within our organization. For me, this meant focusing on recruiting and supporting a diverse staff that reflects the diversity of immigrant and refugee communities in our state, and ultimately stepping aside as executive director.

Now that my tenure as PICC’s executive director is coming to an end, I want to say thank you to our extended PICC community – staff, Board, volunteers, interns, donors, and friends. Thank you for supporting me personally, for helping PICC grow, for your energy and time, and for continually showing up for each other. I am proud of the work that we have done together over the past 8 years and am excited about what will come next under Andy’s leadership. I firmly believe that our strength and success as an organization is rooted in the vision and commitment of all of you to building a movement together, and I have been honored to be a part of this community.

Message from Andy Kang

In early 1965, my father, a young immigrant from South Korea, drove up the East Coast from Atlanta to Pennsylvania. He had recently graduated from Georgia Tech, having worked his way through school by taking all manner of odd jobs, from waiting tables to teaching horseback riding in the Catskills of New York, and he now was on the road to his first full time American job working for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company in Pittsburgh. He was alone in America, had little money to his name, and had left his parents, brothers, and sisters to escape a war-torn country still rebuilding itself. The road to Pennsylvania led to more than just a job. It was also a road to realizing his dream of marrying the woman he loved and bringing her to America, along with his whole family. On behalf of his family and all their collective dreams, he bet it all on America.

My father would later tell me stories of his time in Pennsylvania. How driving up and down the hills would remind him of Korea. And how generous and welcoming his co-workers were, whether white or Black, and how they would open their homes to him, share meals, and help him navigate a new city and new world. On a few occasions, however, he would also share with me about the time he and a former classmate, also Asian, ended up having to fight their way out of a Pittsburgh bar because a bad news report on the Vietnam war came on the television and the other white patrons directed all their anger and resentment towards them.

These are not just my father’s stories, but also the stories and visions of two different Americas. One welcoming, loving, inclusive, generous, and hopeful. The other fearful, hateful, violent, and self-destructive. Then as now, we must continue to decide which story and vision we will embrace and work towards living out. As I am guided by my faith and my family’s story, the choice is clear to me. And as PICC supporters, I know it is as well for all of you. For this reason, I am deeply honored and grateful to join PICC as its next executive director.

I look forward to learning from and meeting many of you in the coming months and years.