It was just 25 years ago when a jury’s unjust acquittal of four Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers for the severe beating of African American motorist, Rodney King, sparked community outrage and despair, launching the 1992 Los Angeles civil unrest, or Sa-I-Gu (“4/29” in Korean).
On Saturday, April 8th, I woke to maybe my 100th weekend citizenship clinic where I would be helping immigrants apply for naturalization. But, this day was different. I was going to assist my own community, Persians. The thought of this made me nervous. Is my Farsi good enough? I’m probably going to embarrass myself. Will I have proper etiquette? Am I dressed well enough so that they’ll trust I can give them proper advice?
On February 4, 2017, I set off to spend my second weekend in a row at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). In the wake of the new presidential administration’s January 27 executive order barring noncitizens from seven countries from entering the United States, the organization for whom I work, Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles, a coalition of nonprofit organizations, and volunteer attorneys have provided legal assistance to distraught family members at LAX, waiting anxiously to see if their loved ones would be permitted to enter the United States.
Want to know more about how the Administration's latest Executive Orders affect immigration? We can tell you.
On Sunday morning, I drove to the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. I had barely slept since President Trump signed an executive order banning immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the country. As an immigration attorney, I had to do something.
Today, California celebrates Korematsu Day, in honor of Japanese American patriot Fred Korematsu. During World War II, Korematsu defied an Executive Order requiring the mass incarceration of over 100,000 innocent Japanese Americans on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. Korematsu was convicted for this act of civil disobedience, but later in life worked to overturn it. He also spoke publicly about his experience and that of his fellow Japanese American internees, in an effort to prevent us from ever returning to such dark times in our nation’s history. He famously lived by the simple but powerful conviction, “If you have the feeling that something is wrong, don’t be afraid to speak up.”
On January 18, 2017, we honored our pro bono attorneys, interns, and other volunteers at our third annual Pro Bono Advisory Council Volunteer Awards Mixer, which drew nearly 150 guests and featured a live performance from activist and artist Jason Chu.
Advancing Justice-LA pledges “100 Days of Resistance” in response to what we expect from President Trump in his first 100 days in office – including an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for undocumented immigrants, the escalation of deportations, the targeting of Muslims for a registry or immigration ban, the undermining of public education, and the positioning of China as an economic “boogeyman.”
Our mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society.