Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

Building upon the legacy of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

Kaew's Path to Justice

Kaew is one of the Thai garment workers who arrived in the U.S. with dreams of new opportunities. In Thailand, Kaew, her parents, and three younger brothers shared a one room house with her grandmother in the rural, northeast province of Chaiyaphum. Her position as eldest daughter carried with it the responsibility to care for the rest of the family. After assisting her parents with farm work, Kaew began working outside the home at age 16 and went to Bangkok to find work.  When she was 18 years old, she began sewing garments in a factory in the Thai capital.

Watch an animated video depicting the workers’ story here.

In August 2008, Kaew was interviewed for a front page Los Angeles Times article titled, “Home of the Freed.” The article celebrated dozens of the Thai workers becoming United States citizens. Thirteen years after their harrowing ordeal was exposed and captured international attention, Kaew and her friends celebrated their journey at the annual Freedom Celebration hosted by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center and marked this special year with a citizenship ceremony.  Surrounded by family and friends, including many volunteers who had reached out to them when their case began in 1995, the Thai workers were given American flags and hugged each other.  Their story is part of a long history of individuals and communities who have fought for citizenship and belonging in a country marked by slavery and exclusion as well as opportunity and shelter.  Excerpt from Untold Civil Rights Stories: Asian Americans Speak Out for Justice


Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI)
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday - Friday

For more information or to apply to DRAI, please call: 

Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese)  (213) 241-8872
Khmer  (213) 241-8877
Korean  (213) 241-8873
Tagalog  (213) 241-8874
Thai  (213) 241-8875
Vietnamese  (213) 241-8876
English/Other, Non-Spanish  (213) 241-8880
Spanish/English** (CARECEN)  (213) 315-2659
Spanish/English** (CHIRLA)  (213) 201-8700
 (213) 395-9547

*This list will continue to expand.
** Spanish assistance available through CARECEN & CHIRLA.
***We are experiencing heavier call volume than usual. We highly encourage you to call your native language phone line, the wait time may be shorter. 

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.