Washington, D.C., January 13, 2023 – Today, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), within the Department of Homeland Security, recognized Bread for the World President and CEO Rev. Eugene Cho as an Outstanding American by Choice. Established in January 2006, the Outstanding American by Choice initiative “recognizes the significant contributions and achievements of naturalized U.S. citizens.”
“This is a tremendous honor – not just for me but for my entire family,” said Cho.” My father was born in what is now North Korea, in a village outside of Pyongyang. As one of six children, he faced hunger and poverty daily. His family fled to South Korea, and in 1977, my parents made a difficult decision to leave their homeland to come to the United States in hopes of providing more opportunities for my brothers and me. Their decision and courage have changed the trajectory of our lives.”
Rev. Cho received the recognition during a special naturalization ceremony hosted by the White House at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in observance of National Religious Freedom Day. Throughout each year, USCIS recognizes individuals who chose to become Americans and have made significant contributions to both their community and the United States.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Rev. Cho immigrated to the United States as a child. Before coming to lead Bread for the World as its president, he founded Quest Church in Seattle, WA and acted as its senior pastor for eighteen years. He is also founder of One Day’s Wages (ODW) and serves as its board president. ODW is a grassroots movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty.
“I am overwhelmed with gratitude as I reflect on our journey as immigrants and as naturalized citizens. Today, I’m the head of one of the largest Christian advocacy organizations in the country; we speak up for legislation and policies that will end hunger in the U.S. and around the world,” said Cho.
“To be honored by the USCIS in a ceremony that recognizes the contributions of naturalized U.S. citizens tells me that our government prioritizes addressing hunger and poverty. Every day in the U.S. and around the world, millions of people continue to struggle with hunger that is not inevitable – we can end hunger in our lifetime. I’m grateful that the U.S. government is committed to doing its part to achieve that goal,” added Cho.
In 2018, Rev. Cho was recognized by the “The FD200” as one of 200 individuals who best embody the work and spirit of Frederick Douglas as part of the bicentennial celebration of the life and accomplishments of Frederick Douglas. Rev. Cho was also recognized as an everyday hero in the 2012 book “Everyday Heroes: 50 Americans Changing the World One Nonprofit at a Time” and was a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2017.
Rev. Cho is the author of two books, “Thou Shall Not Be a Jerk: A Christian’s Guide to Engaging Politics” and “Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World Than Actually Changing the World?”. He and his spouse Minhee have been married for over 25 years and have three adult children.
Since 2006, the Outstanding American by Choice initiative has recognized such notable Americans as Carlos M. Gutierrez, former U.S. secretary of commerce; Indra K. Nooyi, chairman and chief executive officer of PepsiCo; Madeleine Albright, former U.S. secretary of state; José Andrés, chef, restaurateur, and food advocate; and Samantha Power, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Bread for the World is a Christian advocacy organization urging U.S. decision makers to do all they can to pursue a world without hunger