Fighting for Our Rights

Photo: Stewart Kwoh (far left), pictured here with his co-authors of a new book about race, has been leading the Asian Pacific American Legal Center for 27 years.

I remember as a child these evenings when my father would come home late because he was attending board meetings for an organization about which I knew very little. It was a group he’d often refer to as the “Legal Center,” the last two words of its five-part name. All it meant to me back then was that he wouldn’t be joining the family for dinner, so we’d get to eat spaghetti instead of Korean food.

Many years later, I would get to know this organization quite well while a young newspaper reporter covering civil rights, hate crimes and immigration issues—all represent areas that the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (the whole name) embraced as advocates for a community often referred to as the silent minority. I grew to deeply appreciate the fact that my father’s time was well spent during those years in the 1980s. Under the leadership of longtime executive director Stewart Kwoh, the Legal Center— which has since only expanded its justice-oriented work which uniquely combines legal services with civil rights advocacy—is a group all of us who believe in the principles of equality and social justice should embrace and support.

On Thursday, Oct.14, the Legal Center will host its 27th anniversary dinner starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, 404 S. Figueroa St., in Los Angeles. The group will recognize civic leaders and corporate citizens for their contributions to the Asian Pacific American community, including: Walter and Shirley Wang who have engaged in our global philanthropic activities that span China, Africa, and the U.S.; the Nielsen Company, the world’s leading marketing and media information company, which will be recognized for reaching out to communities of color; and four local Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (NHPI) groups—Guam Communications Network, Office of Sāmoan Affairs, Pacific Islander Health Partnership and Tongan Community Service Center—who are serving the needs of their respective communities.

To purchase tickets, please contact Clayton Yeung, Director of Special Events & Corporate Relations at (213) 977-7500, ext. 201. Even if you can’t attend the dinner, this is a group that’s worth keeping on your radar as you reflect on who fights for our rights as a community.

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