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50th Anniversary Gala: “Tomorrow’s World is Ours to Build”

October 12, 2022 News

Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus is excited to celebrate 50 years of civil rights advocacy for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities. This year’s celebration series, themed “Tomorrow’s World is Ours to Build,” takes inspiration from Yuri Kochiyama’s powerful call to action to commemorate this milestone year of ALC’s history. Our 50th Anniversary Gala will be held Friday November 18, 2022 at Hilton San Francisco Union Square. Our reception starts at 6 p.m., and the evening’s program and dinner will begin at 7 p.m.

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The organization first started back in 1972, when the founders took a broken, discarded door, laid it flat on some bricks and boxes, and turned it into a table for their first office in Oakland. This group of young lawyers laid the foundations for the first legal services and civil rights organization serving Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the United States. Over five decades, ALC has grown to become a leading progressive voice for the AAPI community with a national impact. Today, Asian Law Caucus has over 50 staff members, outgrowing our office in Chinatown, San Francisco, and opening a second office in Oakland.

To mark our 50th birthday and to set the stage for the next 50 years, please join us for the 50th Anniversary Gala, which will be a hybrid event gathering our friends both in-person* and virtually. We invite you to this special event and reunion for many of our dear friends and supporters.

Special Guests

We are thrilled to host an unforgettable event emceed by actress Tamlyn Tomita. Our gala will feature musical performances from Jiten Daiko, an exciting comedic performance by Negin Farsad, and a special conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Viet Thanh Nguyen. Please stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.

Negin Farsad was named one of the Funniest Women by Huffington Post, one of the 10 Best Feminist Comedians by Paper Magazine and was selected as a TED Fellow for her work in social justice comedy. She can currently be seen in a supporting role in the Hulu feature NOT OKAY opposite Zoey Deutch and Dylan O'Brien. Some previous television credits include Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (NETFLIX) , Emergence (ABC), Murphy Brown (CBS), and HBO’s High Maintenance. Negin directed, wrote, produced, and starred in the romantic comedy feature film, 3RD Street Blackout, alongside Janeane Garofalo, Ed Weeks and John Hodgman. In addition, she directed and produced The Muslims Are Coming! starring Jon Stewart, David Cross and Lewis Black. She's a regular panelist on NPR’s WAIT WAIT DON’T TELL ME. Farsad sued New York State’s MTA over the right to put up funny posters about Muslims and won!

Viet Thanh Nguyen
’s novel The Sympathizer won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and numerous other awards. His most recent publication is the sequel to The Sympathizer, The Committed. His other books are a short story collection, The Refugees; Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War (a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in General Nonfiction); and Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America. He has also published Chicken of the Sea, a children’s book written in collaboration with his six-year-old son, Ellison. He is a University Professor, the Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and a Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. A recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations, he is also the editor of The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives.

Tamlyn Tomita
is currently playing ‘Allegra Aoki’ on ABC’s The Good Doctor and Tamiko Watanabe on Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle. She is perhaps best known for her roles in the films The Karate Kid Part 2, The Joy Luck Club, The Day After Tomorrow, and Come See the Paradise. Her support and love of independent film can be seen in The Ningyo, Seppuku, The Unbidden, Real Artists, Awesome Asian Bad Guys, Daddy, Operation:Marriage, Teacher of the Year, The White Room: 02b3, and Robot Stories. Her T.V. credits include: Berlin Station, Teen Wolf, How to Get Away With Murder, True Blood, Glee, Eureka, Heroes, Criminal Minds, and 24. She is a native Los Angeleno, specifically from the Valley (818!) and a proud AAPI, embracing her Okinawan, Japanese, and Filipina heritages and what it means to be American in the land of the free and continues to advocate for stories to be told from a ‘golden’ perspective. And most importantly, she is a proud and loyal UCLA Bruin.


For our milestone year of ALC's 50th Anniversary celebration, we honor Dale Minami, Don Tamaki, and Peggy Saika because as ALC staff in our early years, they exemplified the spirit of compassionate community lawyering that continues to inspire our staff today. Dale, Don, and Peggy would emerge as respected civil rights leaders beyond their time at ALC, helping to shape the struggle for social justice over several decades.

Dale Minami, Senior Counsel at Minami Tamaki LLP, has litigated significant civil rights cases for Asian Pacific Americans including leading the legal team that overturned Fred Korematsu’s landmark 40-year-old conviction. Minami received the American Bar Association’s highest award, the ABA Medal, and the ABA’s Thurgood Marshall and Spirit of Excellence Awards. He has also been recognized as a Super Lawyer in Northern California for 18 straight years. He co-founded the Asian Law Caucus, the first public interest law firm serving Asian Americans in the country, AALDEF, and the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, the first Asian American bar in the country.

Don Tamaki, Senior Counsel at Minami Tamaki LLP, and former executive director of the Asian Law Caucus (1980-1983), is known for his historic work serving on the pro bono legal team that reopened the landmark Supreme Court case of Korematsu v. the United States. He is co-founder of Stop Repeating History, a campaign focused on drawing parallels between the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and the targeting of minority groups based on race or religion. In 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Tamaki to serve on the Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans.

Peggy Saika, Executive Director of Common Counsel Foundation since 2019, has worked for over four decades as a social justice leader in movements for racial equity; gender, sexuality, and reproductive justice; environmental justice; and immigrant and workers’ rights. Previously the Executive Director of Asian Law Caucus from 1983 to 1991, Saika also served as the founding Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network from 1993 to 2001, and as the CEO of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy from 2002 -2015. She is a co-founder of the Asian Women’s Shelter, API’s for Choice, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, and the NY Committee to Free Chol Soo Lee.

Phi Nguyen, Grace Pai, Aarti Kohli, and Wendy Tokuda sit on chairs as a panel on stage.

ICYMI: To launch our 50th Anniversary year, we were thrilled to host a Special Reception during AAPI Heritage Month in May, featuring an evening of music with jazz musician Francis Wong and a conversation moderated by news anchor Wendy Tokuda with community leaders and partners about building AAPI communities’ political and organizing power. You can watch the full recording of the inspiring event.

*We take the public health challenges posed by COVID-19 seriously, and we will follow strict CDC and county guidelines and make adjustments as needed.