LOS ANGELES – Actor and social media superstar George Takei, along with 1,200 guests, helped celebrate the 30th anniversary of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, formerly the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, at its annual dinner last night.
Explaining why the recognition was meaningful to him, in his acceptance speech, Takei summarized the darker periods of Asian American history, highlighting egregious episodes of discrimination. He lauded the organization for its 30-year-long fight against that legacy.
Takei received the organization’s Public Image Award for his lifelong efforts to promote positive images of Asian Americans, especially in popular media. Also honored was the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, which received a Special Recognition for its exceptionally generous support of Advancing Justice – LA and its community-based partners. Accepting the honor on behalf of the foundation was its president Sue Van.
The turnout for the event made it one of the largest annual dinners for the group, making it a fitting celebration of Advancing Justice – LA’s 30th anniversary. It was attended by representatives of corporations, law firms, and community groups. Also on hand were special guests involved in some of the most significant episodes in the organization’s history, including the El Monte Thai workers case and the hate-crime murder of U.S. Postal worker Joseph Ileto.
Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of Advancing Justice – LA, closed his remarks by saluting the organization’s staff. “These are the people who work tirelessly every day to carry the torch of justice forward,” Kwoh said. “They give hope to the community. They are why the Coulter Foundation is investing in our future. They are why many of you support us. They are the reason for our past 30 years of success. And they represent the hope I have for the future of civil rights and social justice.”
Held at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, the dinner was emceed by actors Parvesh Cheena, star of the TV show Outsourced, and Tamlyn Tomita, star of the film Joy Luck Club. Leading the dinner committee were Timothy J. McCallion, dinner chair and president-Verizon California, Verizon; Paul S. Chan, Esq., legal co-chair and principal, Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks & Lincenberg; and Marie and Chor Chai Tan, co-chairs.