Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago Celebrates 30th Anniversary

For Immediate Release

May 2, 2022 

Kevin Hsia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago

CHICAGO, IL — May 2, 2022 — This year, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago is celebrating 30 years of building a powerful Asian American voice for racial equity by  

  • Advocating for policies that promote racial, economic, and immigrant justice;  
  • Increasing civic participation through political education, community organizing, and advocacy; 
  • Changing media narratives to build a more nuanced and accurate understanding of Asian American communities; and 
  • Working in partnership with values-aligned organizations to build cross-racial solidarity.  

Founded in 1992, Asian American Institute re-branded as Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago in 2013.  

On Thursday, May 5, Advancing Justice | Chicago will bring together over 200 people from all corners of the Asian and  non-Asian American community in recognizing the accomplishments and impact the organization has made the past 30 years. The celebration and program will take place at Morgan’s on Fulton in the Fulton Market district. Here’s to #30YearsofJustice! 

Where: Morgan’s on Fulton: 950 W Fulton St, Chicago, IL 60607  

When: Thursday, May 5, 2022 from 6PM-10PM 

What: A celebration of Advancing Justice | Chicago’s 30 years of building a powerful Asian American voice since 1992. Looking ahead, Advancing Justice | Chicago is leading the progressive, pan-Asian response to pressing current events and advocating for proactive and visionary solutions to achieve racial equity. 

Dress Code: Cocktail Attire 


Honorees include: 

  • Miwa Shimokogawa (Community Award) 
  • Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz and Senator Ram Villivalam (Champion Award) 
  • Michael Chu (Milestone Award)  

Enjoy an evening of cocktails, food, fun, and fundraising complete with a full program celebrating our achievements and the Asian American community. Guests will participate in a Paddle Raise and Live/Silent Auction with 70 exciting items from local businesses, restaurants, and experiences. Entertainment will be provided by Pan-Asian talent, including MOD Group, a Desi-Fusion dance crew based in Chicago, IL; Dr. Srimix, a DJ from San Diego who’s best known for his remixes and mashups that blend popular American music with songs from all over South Asia; and Dholi Dhruv of HollyBolly Unlimited, a percussionist advanced in playing not only the dhol, but the tabla as well.  

Special thanks to our Champion Sponsors McDermott Will & Emery and Tyson for their critical support, in addition to our Partner and Support Sponsors. Please visit here for our full list of sponsors. 


Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. Learn more at

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JOB POSTING: Policy/Political Director

Policy/Political Director Job Description


Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity.

For nearly 30 years, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago has worked to bring together the Asian American community and create change in our communities. We are deeply committed to grassroots community organizing and we invest in the leadership of grassroots community members through trainings, community education, civic engagement, and collaborative issue-based campaigns. In order to strengthen our work and transform the inequities in our city, state, and Midwest region, we work with multiracial coalitions that emphasize racial equity, accountability to those most impacted, and an infrastructure of grassroots leadership. Our advocacy work focuses on promoting racial, economic, and immigrant justice, including initiatives in the areas of voting rights, language access, and immigrant rights.

As part of the national Asian Americans Advancing Justice affiliation, Advancing Justice | Chicago is a leader in the nationwide Asian American movement. Regionally, Advancing Justice | Chicago and Asian American Midwest Progressives (“AAMP”) are prioritizing the Midwest region and collaborating with partners in Ohio, Minnesota, and Michigan to tackle common struggles and build power.

AAMP was founded in 2018 to focus on electoral organizing, mobilizing Asian American voters, and holding elected officials accountable through issue-based campaigns. AAMP is a 501(c)(4) organization that shares staff and office space with Advancing Justice | Chicago, which is a 501(c)(3).


This dual role is an exciting opportunity for a strategic relationship-builder to serve as the Policy Director for Advancing Justice | Chicago and the Political Director for AAMP. The Policy/Political Director will be the primary lobbyist for both organizations and will co-create campaign strategy with the Director of Organizing. In addition, the Policy/Political Director will conduct policy research to support the organizing team and will lead political education efforts with our grassroots base. As a member of the leadership team, the Policy/Political Director will also be responsible for guiding organization-wide decisions, maintaining healthy organizational culture, and managing personnel. This position reports to the Executive Director.

This position will fall under the staff sharing agreement between Advancing Justice | Chicago and Asian American Midwest Progressives (AAMP) so a portion of time may be spent on 501(c)(4) activities including partisan political work.


  • Build relationships and advocate with decision-makers at the city, state, and county levels to advance policy and advocacy efforts;
  • Conduct policy research and analysis on priority issues, including immigration, language access, voting rights/democracy, education equity, and criminal justice;
  • Inform strategy for our issue-based campaigns;
  • Educate our staff, grassroots leaders, and others on policy issues;
  • Support the Pan Asian Voter Empowerment (PAVE) Coalition’s agenda;
  • Lead Advancing Justice | Chicago’s democracy and voting rights work, including a poll monitoring program, and supervise our Voting Rights Legal Fellow;
  • Represent Advancing Justice | Chicago and AAMP in external coalitions including with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Just Democracy Illinois, and the Illinois Alignment Table;
  • Partner with our national Advancing Justice affiliates on immigration and voting rights;
  • Provide media interviews on key issues and current events, as needed;
  • Support and when appropriate take lead on organization-wide events and activities including direct actions, press conferences, rallies, lobby days, and other events as needed;
  • Provide regular updates to the Advancing Justice | Chicago Board of Directors;
  • Consistently engage and collaborate with the other Advancing Justice affiliates on national campaigns or joint projects, such as the Advancing Justice Conference;
  • Other duties as assigned.

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Advancing Justice Affiliation Redistributes Funds to Partner Organizations

For Immediate Release

March 29, 2022 

As a leading network of independently-run Asian American Pacific Islander civil and legal rights nonprofits, we find ourselves in a unique position to support our community partners. In 2021, amid a national reckoning with anti-Asian racism and violence and a deeper understanding of the systemic solutions we need to live safely, the Asian Americans Advancing Justice affiliation was fortunate to receive an influx of one-time donations from individuals, companies, and foundations. These supporters shared their desire to contribute to efforts that empower Asian American communities and address anti-Asian hate and violence. For many supporters, these contributions marked the first time they had intentionally given to Asian and Asian American organizations and communities. 

We are deeply appreciative of this support. We also know that our work to build a more just world is made possible through partnerships, including with community-based organizations and coalitions across the country. Most of these organizations have not received the same amount of support from donors. 

As some of the largest organizations led by and serving Asian American communities in the country, we often apply for funding together with coalition and movement partners and encourage donors to also support their work directly. In that spirit of collaboration, the Advancing Justice affiliation is redistributing $3 million to 68 organizations spanning 15 states, as well as $600,000 to the Emergency Victims and Survivors Fund in Georgia. These organizations serve a wide range of communities and focus on many different issue areas, including racial justice, community safety, gender-based violence response, economic security, immigrant rights, and voting rights, among others. Together, they represent many of the affiliation’s closest community-based and coalition partners. 

While the Advancing Justice affiliation is not a funder nor does it seek to become one, we believe this is the right decision for our organizations and our partners in this moment. We also know that these funds are nowhere near enough to match the scale of the challenges we are facing and that as much as we intended to support as many organizations as possible, we did not reach everyone. According to Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, only 0.2% of grants nationwide in 2018 were designated for AAPI communities. We hope this funding decision encourages our donors and others to learn more about the organizations listed below, support their crucial work, and ask questions about the groups and places that need more support. 

If you have questions about this affiliation update, please reach out to us. 

In solidarity,

Aarti Kohli, Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus

Connie Chung Joe, Advancing Justice – Los Angeles

Grace Pai, Advancing Justice – Chicago

Phi Nguyen, Advancing Justice – Atlanta

John C. Yang, Advancing Justice – AAJC

Organizations Receiving Redistributed Funds (in alphabetical order)

Abolitionist Teachers Network (GA)


API Equality – LA (CA)

API Equality – Northern California (CA)

Apna Ghar, Inc. (IL) 

Asian Americans United (PA)

Asian Youth Center (CA)

Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence (CA)

Asian Prisoner Support Committee (CA)

Asian Solidarity Collective (CA)

Asian Texans for Justice (TX) 

Athena’s Warehouse (GA) 


Boat People BPSOS – Houston (TX)

CAIR-Chicago (IL)

CAIR-Georgia (GA)

CAIR-San Francisco Bay Area (CA) 

Center for Asian Americans in Action (CA)

Center for Empowering Immigrants and Refugees (CA)    

Chinatown Service Center (CA)

Chinese Community Center (TX)

Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community (CBCAC) (IL) 

Demo Lab South (GA)

Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) (CA)

Emergency Victims and Survivors Fund (GA)

Freedom Inc. (WI) 

Fresno Center (CA)

Georgia Muslim Voter Project (GA)

Georgia Youth Justice Coalition (GA) 

Hamilton- Madison House (NY)

HANA Center (IL) 

Hmong Innovating Politics (HIP) (CA)

Indo-American Center (IL)

InterFaith Movement (CA)

Jakara Movement (CA)


Khmer Girls in Action (CA)         

Korean American Coalition (CA)

Korean American Family Service Center (KAFSC) (NY)

Korean Community Services (CA)

Kutturan Chamoru Foundation (CA)

Little Tokyo Service Center (CA)

MN8 (MN)

Montgomery County Progressive Asian American Network (MoCoPAAN) (MD)

Narika (CA)

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJ)

North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NC) 

OCA-Houston (TX)

OPAWL – Building AAPI Feminist Leadership (OH)

Orange County Asian Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA) (CA)

Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA) (CA)

Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PA)

Pilipino Workers Center (CA)

Raksha (GA) 

Refugee and Immigrant Transitions (CA)

Rhode Island Youth Student Movement (PrYSM) (RI)

Rising Voices (MI)

SEAC Village (NC) 

Sikh Coalition

South Asian Network (CA)  

Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN) 

Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Association Coalition (SEAMAAC) (PA)

Southland Integrated Services (CA)       

Thai Community Development Center (CA)

The Devi Co-op (GA) 

VietLead (PA)

Vietnamese Association of Illinois (IL)

Womankind (NY)

Woori Juntos (TX)

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Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago Applauds Appointment of First Asian American Woman to City Council

For Immediate Release

March 24, 2022 

Kevin Hsia, Advancing Justice Chicago,
Grace Pai, 224-289-5291,

On Thursday afternoon, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced her appointment of Nicole Lee to fill the 11th ward aldermanic vacancy. Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago, the leading pan-Asian advocacy organization in Chicago, issued the following statement. Our Executive Director Grace Pai can be available for further comment.

“We are excited that Mayor Lightfoot has appointed an Asian American woman to this seat. This is a historic appointment – Nicole Lee will be the first Chinese American and first Asian American woman to serve on Chicago City Council. We look forward to working with Nicole on issues that are important to the Asian American community, like language access, affordable housing & public safety.”

Nicole Lee speaking on ABC7 livestream of Mayor Lightfoot's press conference announcing the appointment on March 24, 2022


Photo Credit: Screenshot of ABC7 livestream of Mayor Lightfoot’s press conference announcing the appointment on March 24, 2022

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. Learn more at

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Community Remembrance Day Brings Collective Healing


For Immediate Release

March 12, 2022 

Kevin Hsia, Advancing Justice Chicago,
Ellie Kleiman, Hana Center,
Felicia Jia, KAN-WIN,

On a cold afternoon in Horner Park, the collective heart of the Asian American Chicagoland community was beating together – we gathered to remember the six Asian women whose lives were lost on March 16, 2021  in Atlanta. Approximately 100 people came together to remember the victims, honor their memories, and share a moment of quiet reflection with community. More than passing grief or a moment in the news cycle, the event commemorated those womens’ lives, ensuring their story continues to be told.   

The program for the remembrance event was led by Asian American youth affiliated with HANA Center, KAN-WIN, and Advancing Justice | Chicago. Moving statements, poetry, and music lifted the commemoration of the one year anniversary of the Atlanta spa shootings.

Reverend Asayo Horibe from the Buddhist Temple of Chicago and Angelynn Jimenez from Women That Fight, a youth leadership program at HANA Center, began the event with a spiritual offering and an original poetry reading.   

Next, youth leaders from KAN-WIN shared a joint youth statement from the three co-sponsoring organizations. Joie Cabrera and Emily Lim gave a rousing call that today and always, we fight not just for the Asian American community, but all marginalized communities.  

Emily shared, “we grieve the passings of each victim while finding ways to support one another with compassion and warmth. Personally, for me as a Korean-American teenager, it brings me great sadness that people of my Korean ethnicity were killed in this event. I feel a heavy emotional connection to them through our shared Korean heritage and culture. Their pain is forever my pain as I cherish their memories and lives while I mourn upon their passings.” Reminiscing back, Joie shared, ”that night we all shared complex feelings; leaving our community, our people, in shock and fear.  We cannot let this event become minimized and brushed off as something not worth hearing about. Forever and always remember March 16, 2021.” 

Closing the event, Joy Messinger read an original poem and Chumi Park shared a musical performance or Arirang, a Korean folk song. During her performance, guests were invited to pay respects at the community altar. 

We thank our partners and co-sponsors:  HANA Center, KAN-WIN, Apna Ghar, Asian American Midwest Progressives, Healing to Action, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, HEART Women & Girls, Japanese American Citizens League, Chinese American Service League, and South Asian American Policy and Research Institute. We also want to recognize the youth leaders at KAN-WIN, HANA Center, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice who have helped organize today’s vigil. 

Photo Credit: Kevin Hsia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago


Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. Learn more at

HANA Center is a Chicago-area community-based organization working to meet the critical needs of Korean, Asian American, and multiethnic immigrant communities and build power toward systemic change. HANA Center has offices in Chicago and Prospect Heights, Illinois, and is a local affiliate of the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC). Learn more at

KAN-WIN’S mission is to eradicate gender-based violence, including domestic violence and sexual assault, especially for women and children across Asian American communities and beyond through culturally competent services, community engagement, and advocacy. Learn more at

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