Asian Americans Advancing Justice — Los Angeles appreciates and celebrates all who volunteer with us in various capacities. In this episode of Connie’s Comments, Connie is joined by the Honorable Casimiro Tolentino (Cas), who has been on the board and volunteering his time and services with Advancing Justice — LA since its genesis in 1983. As long time friends, our founder and President Emeritus, Stewart Kwoh, also joins Cas in this conversation as they take a trip down memory lane and talk about their hopes for the future of not only Advancing Justice — LA, but our AANHPI communities.


Photo of Ariel Tu and her quote, “I decided to get involved with Advancing Justice-LA to familiarize myself with the ways and which nonprofit organizations operate, at the same time giving back to the community I hold so dear to my heart.”
Photo of Ariel Tu and her quote, “I decided to get involved with Advancing Justice-LA to familiarize myself with the ways and which nonprofit organizations operate, at the same time giving back to the community I hold so dear to my heart.”

In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Week, we would like to spotlight Ariel Tu. Ariel interned with Advancing Justice-LA last summer under our Development and Communications unit. During her internship which was entirely remote, she helped with numerous projects. Some of the projects she assisted with were preparation for our first ever virtual gala and hosting a remote event with her fellow interns to discuss the importance of the Census and voting.

How did you learn about Advancing Justice-LA?

I learned about Advancing Justice-LA through my mom’s friend in her Rotary Club in Taiwan. It is surprising how the organization’s name…

Dear Community,

I know you are hurting. I know you are enraged.

The number of hate incidents against Asian Americans in our country continues to grow. Most recently here in Los Angeles, the attack against a Korean American U.S. military veteran in his own neighborhood is horrific. While this insidious violence is finally being talked about more widely, you might be asking about where you can turn for help or what can you do to stop this racism.

I want you to know that we are here. Asian Americans Advancing Justice — Los Angeles has free resources and services.


When she spoke, she harbored a familiar, thick accent, one that I had just a few years ago. She asked me where the “C” building was and she paused after every other word, trying hard to mask her accent. I started speaking in Tagalog and I saw her visibly sigh in relief.

As we walked to her class, she told me she was struggling to navigate through our school and she was placed in the English Learner program. She told me about her frustrations because she felt like she couldn’t express clearly what she wanted to say. She wasn’t accustomed…

Photo Courtesy of CNN

We are almost through with 2020 and the world has been rocked with chaotic events that have challenged society both physically and mentally since the beginning of this year. The COVID-19 pandemic became public on the eve of 2020 and a lack of action from American leadership had left the country panicked and anxious as the spread of the virus continued.

As we continued to see both the COVID-19 case and death count rocket, we also saw another issue rising: anti-Asian hate. Asian Americans have been blamed for COVID-19 and President Trump’s use, including at his Tulsa campaign rally, of…

At graduation from law school, pictured here with my mother and grandmother. During law school, while working at the Georgetown Women’s Law & Public Policy Fellowship Program, I got to tag along with a small group of female law fellows to meet Justice Ginsburg at the Supreme Court.

RBG’s passing has hit me hard.

She’s someone I admired for so many reasons. She was a women’s rights champion, an indefatigable litigator who radically changed the way women were treated in the workplace and society at large. She was the second woman to ever serve on the US Supreme Court, where she wrote the majority opinion that prevented women from being excluded from publicly-funded institutions (VMI). …

Our staff is all working virtually, but a few of us do stop by the office from time to time.

It’s been one month since I joined Asian Americans Advancing Justice — Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) as its new CEO. What an honor, and challenge, it is to lead the nation’s largest legal and civil rights organization for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI).

I recall first learning about Advancing Justice-LA 20+ years ago as a USC undergrad, reading the LA Times front cover stories about Advancing Justice-LA (then Asian Pacific American Legal Center) defending the rights of 72 Thai sweatshop workers who had been held captive behind barbed wire for years in an El Monte compound. I…

Throughout history, Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) have been community leaders for an array of causes and movements. As June is Pride month, we wanted to highlight and celebrate a few of the powerful AAPI voices that have been fighting for change for the greater LGBTQIA+ community. These courageous individuals have been tirelessly working to educate the public, change institutional policies and practices, and transform our communities into more inclusive and accepting spaces. We will continue to celebrate Pride and queer-identifying leaders and voices this month and throughout the year.

Chella Man

Photo courtesy of David Longstreath / AP

We’ve been here before…a horrendous act of police brutality against a black man is caught on video sparking rage, protest, violence, and curfews.

We were here in 1992, working at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, as we were known then, in downtown Los Angeles. The events of the last week and a half have brought a sad sense of deja vu…and a realization that, as a society, we have not done much to address the systemic racism and societal inequities that continue to fester in our communities and have again exploded around us.

In the aftermath of the 1992…

Dear Advancing Justice-LA Supporter,

As the end of the year approaches, we wanted to keep you apprised of happenings at Advancing Justice-LA, and to announce a leadership update.

Our contract with interim Executive Director Sylia Obagi ends this December 31, and she has accepted a position out-of-state starting in the new year. As you may also know, in 2020 we expect to welcome a new CEO. In the meantime, the Board announced at an all-employee meeting last week that Advancing Justice-LA Interim Vice Presidents Anthony Roh and Aileen Louie will serve as co-leads of the organization. This move will keep…

Advancing Justice-LA

Advancing Justice-LA is the nation's largest legal aid and civil rights organization serving the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community

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