LOS ANGELES – Starting April 18th, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA) will expand its free English as a Second Language (ESL) and civics courses—currently offered in Koreatown, Chinatown, Temple City, Rosemead, and San Gabriel—through the addition of locations in El Sereno and El Monte. This expansion is designed to reach the underserved Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities of the San Gabriel Valley and help address a growing need for English classes for citizenship.
Advancing Justice – LA offers 12-week English conversation and civics classes with the assistance of grants offered by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). These courses ensure students develop the necessary English skills to communicate confidently and fluently and successfully pass their naturalization interviews.
“Since we started the program in 2013, the need for these classes has continued to grow, particularly in the San Gabriel Valley, where there is a big disparity between the capacity of Asian American immigrant-serving organizations and the need for services,” said Nasim Khansari, Citizenship Project Director, Advancing Justice – LA. “These additional classes will give the Asian American and Pacific Islander community another way of accessing services and will encourage the ultimate goal of true integration into U.S. society through naturalization and the acquisition of English language skills.”
Advancing Justice – LA has partnered with the LA County Public Library to make these new classes available to the community.
“The County Public Library is proud to help our immigrant populations become American citizens and achieve the American Dream,” said Skye Patrick, County Librarian. “Citizenship courses usually are out of people's price range but we know demand is high because patrons constantly ask our librarians about it. Today, the County Public Library is happy to provide a supply, free of charge. We're offering these courses throughout the San Gabriel Valley at San Gabriel Library, Temple City Library, Rosemead Library and now El Monte Library. All have large and diverse immigrant populations that we are proud to help.”
New classes will be offered at El Sereno Branch Library (5226 Huntington Dr., Los Angeles, CA, 90032) on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 p.m. starting Tuesday, April 19th and El Monte Library (3224 Tyler Ave, El Monte, CA, 91731) starting Monday, April 18th at 5:30 p.m.
For information or to register for classes, prospective students should contact the Advancing Justice – LA helpline at 888-349-9695 (English), 800-520-2356 (Chinese), or 800-267-7395 (Vietnamese). The maximum number of students per class is 25. Once enrollment is full, interested callers will be placed on a waiting list to enroll in the following cycle of classes. Students are permitted to attend more than one class. All Civics students will receive a textbook on loan from the library and materials provided by Advancing Justice – LA.
For over 25 years, Advancing Justice – LA has offered citizenship application assistance and legal representation to immigrants. Advancing Justice – LA encourages all community members eligible for naturalization to call and begin the process. Those interested in applying for naturalization in time for the upcoming presidential election should apply as soon as possible.
Nasim Khansari, Citizenship Project Director, Advancing Justice – LA, (left) and Hilda Solis, Board Chair and First District Supervisor, (right) were among the speakers at the program's launch at El Monte Library.
Xiang Liang Fang (left) is an El Monte resident who applied for US Citizenship three months ago. She will take the new ESL classes offered by Advancing Justice - LA at the El Monte Library to prepare for her English test. (Also photographed: Hilda Solis, Board Chair and First District Supervisor, and Skye Patrick, County Librarian)