Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

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Untold Civil Rights Stories

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In 2009, Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles (Advancing Justice - LA), then called Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California (APALC), and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center jointly edited and published Untold Civil Rights Stories, the first national guide of its kind for students, teachers, and communities. The main purpose of the book is to identify and honor those individuals of Asian descent who were, and are, heroes in the struggle for civil rights and social justice.

“For those whose stories built our communities, Untold Civil Rights Stories is dedicated to the women, men, and youth whose courage and boldness to speak out have helped us to advance our future.”
-Stewart Kwoh & Russell C. Leong, editors



George Takei: Leading Man

AAPI Women Voices: Untold Stories Through Poetry

Freeing Ourselves From Prison Sweatshops: Thai Garment Workers Speak Out

United Farm Workers (UFW) Movement: Philip Vera Cruz, Unsung Hero

Vincent Chin - Lily Chin: The Courage to Speak Out

A Family Educates to Prevent Hate Crimes: The Case of Joseph Ileto

Breaking the Color Line in Hollywood: Beulah Ong Kwoh, Actor

Building Bridges between Races: Kyung Won Lee, Investigative Journalist

One Man Seeks Justice from a Nation: Korematsu v. United States

American Veteran in Exile: Manong Faustino “Peping” Baclig

After Words: September 11, 2001

Who Took the Rap? A Call to Action

Defending the Unpopular Immigrant

A Citizen Fights for His Civil Rights after 9/11: Amric Singh Rathour

Student to Student:  The Rose That Grew From Concrete


Contributors, Organizations, Acknowledgements

External Links



Untold Civil Rights Stories is a social milestone that recognizes the unsung contributions of Asian Americans to America’s Civil Rights Movement. It shows mothers, daughters, sons and fathers — ordinary Americans — organizing around workplace, racial profiling and other issues that have affected all of us before and after 9/11. It has a broad multicultural experience and is solidly grounded in U.S. history. A must-read and a must-have for educators and students alike.”

–Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, City of Los Angeles

 “Untold Civil Rights Stories is an important contri­bution to a broader understanding of the contem­porary struggle for democratic rights. It is essential reading in order to appreciate the contributions of Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage to the fight to secure civil rights, union representation, social justice and the American Dream.”

–Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, County of Los Angeles

“An imminently useful resource for teachers and students filled with accessible, useful knowledge from a seldom seen side of American life. Behind the "model minority" stereotype are individual and collective acts of bravery and heroism, of Asian Pacific Americans who courageously stood up for their rights. Here are stories of actors, journalists, soldiers, students and citizens who suffered egregious wrongs, some public and well known, others private and subtle. From Lily Chin to Fred Korematsu, these tales make visible what has for too long been invisible to so many Americans. Changing demographics and simple justice mean we need these stories for a deeper understanding of our history and for the hope and inspiration they bring. An important contribution to the literature on multiculturalism and social justice.”

–Ronald W. Evans, Professor, School of Teacher Education, San Diego State University

This guide was a unique educational partnership between one of the nation’s foremost advocates of civil rights and social justice for Asian Americans and others, Advancing Justice - LA, and the nation’s leading research center and department on Asian Americans, the UCLA Asian American Studies Center (UCLA AASC). 

Advancing Justice - LA is the largest and most diverse civil rights, legal services program primarily focused on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S.  Advancing Justice LA was formerly the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California. In 2013 it became Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles.  Along with 4 other organizations, Advancing Justice aims to strengthen the voice and resources of Asian Americans in the U.S. Now, Advancing Justice has 5 affiliates in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Chicago, San Francisco, and Atlanta.   Advancing Justice - LA advocates for civil rights, provides legal services, leadership development, demographic research, education, and capacity building programs.  Formerly known as APALC, Advancing Justice - LA was founded in 1983.  It has offices in Los Angeles, Orange County and Sacramento.

To submit any inquiries and questions, please click here.

The UCLA Asian American Studies Center (AASC) is one of four ethnic studies centers at the University of California, Los Angeles under the Institute of American Cultures. Established in 1969, AASC is recognized as the premier research center in the field of Asian American Studies. The Center has over fifty affiliated faculty spanning the humanities, social sciences, and professional schools. Its renowned Center Press publishes Amerasia Journal and AAPI Nexus. The Center Library/Archives unit has been at the forefront of critical preservation efforts. AASC has had a longstanding commitment to collaborative research with our community partners.

For more information on UCLA AASC:


Our helplines prioritize assistance to low-income persons in the following areas of law: discrimination, family, immigration, public benefits, employment, housing, and civil rights. 

English: 888.349.9695
中文: 800.520.2356
한글: 800.867.3640
Tagalog: 855.300.2552
ภาษาไทย: 800.914.9583
Tiếng Việt: 714.477.2958


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.