Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) on May 12 celebrated several decades of work in Orange County and the 10th anniversary of its Orange County office (Advancing Justice-OC). Held at 28, a popular Irvine restaurant owned by “Top Chef” Shirley Chung, this second annual luncheon highlighted the organization’s Orange County programs and services as well as honored individuals and institutions that have made a significant impact in the Orange County community. Funds raised from the awards luncheon will support Advancing Justice-OC.
This year, the honorees were Wahoo’s Fish Taco (Corporate Impact Award); John and Marilyn Long of the Long U.S.-China Institute for Business and Law, at the University of California, Irvine (Philanthropy Partner Award); and Dr. Linda Trinh Võ, Professor and former Chair of the Department of Asian American Studies, at the University of California, Irvine (Public Image Award). Other distinguished guests included: Ted Chen of NBC 4 Southern California, who emceed the event, Anh Do from Los Angeles Times and Nita Song, Board Chair of Advancing Justice-LA.
“We are proud to honor these important Orange County leaders for their business, philanthropy and community efforts,” said Stewart Kwoh, President and Executive Director of Advancing Justice-LA. “We look to these local heroes for inspiration and partnership in advancing justice for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Orange County.”
Since the 1990s, Advancing Justice-LA has worked on key legal and civil rights issues affecting Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs) in Orange County, including advocating on behalf of hate crime victims and their families, challenging race and employment discrimination, and protecting voters. In 2006, Advancing Justice-LA opened an office in Garden Grove to better serve and reach AANHPIs living in OC, particularly those facing domestic violence and immigration issues, and helped to launch the nation’s first self-help court program in Vietnamese. During the past decade, the organization has helped thousands of clients and callers and co-published a popular demographic report on the region, “A Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in Orange County.”
As the Advancing Justice-OC office looks forward, the organization plans to re-envision its role and strengthen its partnerships with key stakeholders in the local community. “With over 620,000 residents now comprising 21 percent of the county’s population, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in Orange County are truly becoming a force to be reckoned with,” said Sylvia Kim, Orange County Regional Director based at Advancing Justice-OC. “As we enter our second decade in Orange County, we are recognizing the need for a stronger advocacy voice and presence for our communities in order to reach our potential both politically and socially.”