Julayne Lee

Julayne Lee was given up for adoption in South Korea as a result of the Korean War. She was adopted by an all-white Christian family in Minnesota, where she grew up. She has spent over fifteen years working with Overseas Adopted Koreans (OAKs). She lived in Seoul and now resides in Los Angeles, where she is a member of the LA Futbolistas and Adoptee Solidarity Korea - Los Angeles (ASK-LA). She is also part of the Adoptee Rights Campaign working to pass the Adoptee Citizenship Act to ensure all inter-country adoptees have US citizenship. NOT MY WHITE SAVIOR is her first book.

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Arts + Advocacy: Citizenship for All Adoptees

  • Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 701 Mission Street San Francisco, CA, 94103 United States (map)

Come support adoptees without citizenship! Join us for an exhibit, silkscreen poster-making, presentations, poetry readings and more. Bring your friends, families and allies to this day of public events.


11am-6pm: Create silkscreened posters to show support for adoptee citizenship
(YBCA room: Sanctuary Print Shop)

11am-6pm: Access the #CitizenshipForAllAdoptees exhibit, adoptee stories, and learning materials. 
(YBCA room: Party of Migrant People's Assembly)

2pm-6pm: Speakers, poetry, community conversation
(YBCA room: Party of Migrant People's Assembly)
• Arts for Advocacy by HyunJu Chappell
• Overview by Adoptee Rights Campaign
• Two adoptees without citizenship share their experiences
• Poetry reading by Lee Herrick, Fresno Poet Laureate, Emeritus
• Poetry reading by Julayne Elle, Las Dos Brujas Writers’ Workshop alum
• Historical context by a team led by Adoption Museum Project
• Break-out discussion in groups and share-back
• Action steps and networking


The U.S. has been adopting children from other countries for more than 70 years. In the eyes of the law, these intercountry adoptees are members of their adoptive families, no different from biological children. Yet, not all intercountry adoptees have U.S. citizenship. Many have learned later in life that their childhood naturalization papers were never completed. It is estimated that more than 35,000 intercountry adoptees do not have U.S. citizenship or their citizenship status is unknown or uncertain. 

There are many severe consequences, including possible deportation to their country of birth, where many don’t speak the language and have no known connections. More than three dozen, including #AdamCrapser, have already been deported or are at risk of deportation. Another, #PhillipClay, committed suicide in May. 

To address these injustices, the Adoptee Rights Campaign is working to pass the Adoptee Citizenship Act, which would grant retroactive citizenship to all intercountry adoptees. It would fix the loophole created by the Child Citizenship Act, which granted automatic citizenship only to adoptees under age 18 when it went into effect in 2001. 


The Party of Migrant People’s Assembly is part of renowned artist Tania Bruguera's exhibition, “Talking to Power." It is a gallery space dedicated to community conversations and resources on global immigrant rights. The works in the space invite participants to be active citizens in Bruguera’s practice of Arte Útil, which uses art as a tool for social and political change.

The Sanctuary Print Shop is a functioning print shop that also serves as a community space. It is designed to raise awareness about Sanctuary Cities and the effects of immigration policies on our communities. Bay Area artists Sergio de la Torre and Chris Treggiari created and run the print shop.

ACCESSIBILITY: All spaces are accessible for people with disabilities.


Whether you are learning about adoptee citizenship for the first time or you are already aware and involved, please join us. This is an all-ages event, and the museum is accessible.

We especially call on these communities to join us in solidarity: all adoptees, domestic and intercountry; first/birth parents; adoptive parents; extended family and friends of adoptees; people whose professional work is to arrange adoptions and support adoptive families; and other communities who are threatened with deportation.

FREE: Participants will sign in at the front desk to pick up a free gallery admission sticker. 

DONATE: Support the passage of the Adoptee Citizenship Act by donating to the Adoptee Rights Campaign: http://adopteerightscampaign.org/donate/

ORGANIZERS: HyunJu Chappell/Magna Citizen StudioAdoptee Rights Campaign, and The Adoption Museum Project. Volunteers include: Leslie GriepPriya KandaswamyZoe Klein, Kate Lawlor.


Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is the generous host of this event. YBCA believes that “culture is an essential catalyst for change. Therefore, it’s the responsibility of arts institutions to spur and support societal movement.” We deeply appreciate how they live their beliefs by enabling our use of their spaces and offering staff support. 

Likewise, we greatly admire and thank Tania Bruguera, Sergio de la Torre, and Chris Treggiari for their mission and generosity in creating these civic spaces for pursuing social justice. 

• adopteerightscampaign.org 
• adoptionmuseumproject.org
• Adoptee Citizenship Act Profiles
• https://www.ybca.org/whats-on/tania-bruguera
• https://www.ybca.org/whats-on/sanctuary-print-shop

Website designed by Stephanie Sajor.

© 2018 Julayne Lee. All rights reserved.