- 16 years old
- Date of birth: Aug 20, 1997
- Place of birth:
Tacoma, Washington, United States
- Date of passing: Jun 11, 2014
- Place of passing:
Washington, United States
Sun, you are loved and missed. We are better for having known you, we are better for you having been in the world. Although you are no longer with us in body, we will always carry your light with us. Your passion, kindness and fierceness will continue to inspire, an the activism you created will continue to change the world. Thank you for all that you gave us. We wish you peace. Rest in power.
From API Chaya:
With a very heavy heart, we would like to share with our community that Sun Kim ended his life on June 11th, 2014.
API Chaya mourns the loss of Sun Kim. Sun Kim identified as a young Korean American trans person devoted to social justice. Sun's family is proud of all the community work he engaged in at such a young age, and they want to share his story in hopes of continuing his activism.
Sun was an extraordinary leader in our youth program at API Chaya from 2012 - 2014. He had an incredible commitment to making the world a better place, especially for survivors. He helped co-facilitate our PAINT leadership group and collaborated with another youth in developing a workshop entitled "Examining a Culture of Slut Shaming Among Youth," a workshop that addresses the ways slut shaming, particularly among youth, impacts survivors of sexual abuse. This training was ground-breaking in that it shed light on an issue most of us have little knowledge or understanding of. Sun co-presented this training for over 100 community members, including sexual assault service providers at the annual WCSAP (Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs) Conference, a national webinar, numerous high school classrooms, hospital emergency department social workers, and API Chaya volunteers. He embodied love & patience when facilitating through thoughtful dialogue that challenged the ways we have been taught norms around gender & sexuality and how this impacts the ways survivors are treated.
Sun’s family gave us permission to share his last words with our community, in hopes it can lead to more conversations around suicide and suicide prevention, as well as supporting trans youth.
"Once we moved to Seattle and I started exploring and learning about the different intersections of my identity, this light lit up inside of me. I knew that I had the ability to make things better for myself and all of the other young people who have felt the same way I did. I grew a passion for social justice and even recently decided I would go into Social work. I really felt like I had a purpose in this world and that I was meant to be alive. Once I started hormone replacement therapy, I knew that every single day was worth it because I got to experience all these new changes of my body and I was finally physically becoming who I was meant to be. It’s ironic even now that I’m mostly worried about people who will still misgender me after my death, the usage of “she” and other feminine pronouns to describe me, and the memories held by many who still know me as “Jennifer” or just refused to adapt to my preferred name. "
"Why couldn’t I just be “normal”? Why did I have such unfortunate luck to be born the way I did. It seems like every day it was only getting harder and harder to cope with who I am. I felt like it wasn’t fair that I am so young and feel like the weight of the world is crushing me. Regardless if other people’s lives are much “worse”, don’t I have a right to feel broken? Don’t I have a right to end my pain? The light is no longer lit inside of me, and I’m afraid I won’t be able to find it again.”
"I don’t want to be just another statistic, I don’t want to be another angry queer kid who hated themselves so much they committed suicide because I don’t hate myself. Reasons for wanting to die is really complex and complicated, I don’t hate myself or find myself with the urge to jump off a building or anything like that. For lack of a better explanation, I just feel…ready to “catch the bus”. "
We are sad, angered, and hurt as we reflect on the conditions of our world that contributed to Sun’s decision to end his suffering. Let us continue to fight for a better world.
The loss of Sun is a huge loss for our community and our movement.
His legacy will not be forgotten.Rest In Power, Sun.
"Sun had remarkable intelligence and insight and was a great leader in our movement. WCSAP feels grateful to have worked with him. It was unusual for our organization to reach out to such a young person as an expert who could teach advocates. We have deep sadness of knowing that even with support from family and community, as a young trans person, he had so many mountains to climb in life.
During the community memorial we were moved by this Toni Morrison quote, “When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else”. We will carry the meaning of these words and Sun’s work with us."
"Remember that day when I complimented your hair on the bus? It had been a long and shitty day, and seeing you there with that lavender platinum hair just made it better. You gave me so much just by existing in this world. Reminded me that I wasn't the only one. I still don't have words. I may never have words. I am sorry that you had to leave but I promise I will do everything I can to make a better world for my dongsaengs. Rest in power."
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