Executive Director’s Message


November 30, 2016

Dear Friends and Supporters:

I am humbled and honored to become the permanent Executive Director of Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, especially at this precarious moment when so much is at stake for our clients and communities–forced separation of families, violations of due process and hate crimes. Advancing Justice-ALC has always been a fierce defender of civil rights and I feel privileged to help advance our mission of promoting and advancing the legal and civil rights of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities.

Our staff, board and community members are incredibly dedicated and fearless. Here are just some of the things I’ve witnessed over the past few weeks since the election: staff answering numerous phone calls from worried clients; folks reaching out to volunteer and support us; staff attorneys working nights and weekends to conduct Know Your Rights presentations; and a gathering of API undocumented youth to strategize and support each other.

We are intent on using every strategy at our disposal. Litigation, policy advocacy, organizing and coalition building will all be necessary to stop the next federal administration from targeting our communities. Here are just some of the things we are doing:

  • engaging with local partners on creating a rapid response network to address the need for immigration representation
  • working closely with state leaders on omnibus legislation that would increase due process protections for undocumented, Muslim, and other vulnerable immigrant communities
  • pushing schools and the California Department of Education to implement an anti-bullying law that we helped craft this past year
  • gearing up across all our programs, including Workers’ Rights and Voting Rights to anticipate the fights ahead.

As an immigrant and a lawyer, I have always been passionate about grounding policy and law in the real world experience of our communities. Our clients have the most powerful voices and we will continue to lift them up to challenge immoral and unjust laws. We have a challenging journey ahead but we will persevere together.

I have faith in the power of our communities and in this venerable institution.

Aarti Kohli

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