Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

Building upon the legacy of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

A Day of Unity and Learning: Family Fest

Friday, June 9th 2017

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) hosted its 8th annual Family Empowerment Festival at California State University, Los Angeles on May 13th, drawing over 800 families. The festival celebrated innovative end-of-year capstone projects by students from 13 Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley high schools – a true representation of the rich and diverse tapestry of communities and neighborhoods Advancing Justice-LA serves.

Isang Bagsak

This year’s theme, Isang Bagsak – which literally means, “we all fall, we all rise” in Tagalog, and figuratively, refers to “things can’t get done if people don’t communicate and work together” – was inspired by Advancing Justice-LA youth, who use the term in conjunction with a unity clap that mimics the progression of a heartbeat through collective, synchronized clapping. The Unity Clap overcame the language barrier between Latino and Filipino members of the UFW in the 1960s.  When someone calls out Isang Bagsak, the clapping ends with one unified and spirited clap.

The students’ collective work was evident in the many engaging workshops they provided to parents and peers, and the year-long community action projects they worked on in teams. Community engagement and collective action were further emphasized by Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu during the morning plenary. He stressed the importance of community building in driving forward civic engagement. In addition, the event celebrated winners of our Untold Civil Rights Stories Writing Essay Contest, which encourages students to learn about Asian American heroes and movements, and how these civil rights struggles are relevant today.  

The festival also provided an important opportunity to draw attention to Advancing Justice-LA’s efforts to inform and educate the community about President Trump’s executive orders and their impact on immigrant families. Throughout the day’s activities, participants were provided with Know Your Rights materials and encouraged to engage in local actions promoting the preservation of our civil liberties, equality, and justice.

Day’s Activities

The day-long event included dynamic workshops, like Rebuilding a Healthy City of LA, Know Your Rights for Immigration, Solidarity Across Communities, Empowering LGBT Youth, and Transformative Justice in Schools and Communities. The festival also included presentations on topics such as college access, health care issues, and immigration stories from parents in our Civics/ESL classes. Finally, a mini-film festival provided a space to celebrate selected social justice documentaries created by the youth.

As in years past, the people behind the event were the many staff, interns, fellows, and community volunteers of the Advancing Justice-LA community. Committed students led the effort planning for over three months and provided logistical support for the event. Whether it was reaching within their own networks to find festival performers or using social media to promote the event, the youth’s innovation and ingenuity led to the event’s success.

As Advancing Justice-LA continues to build a movement focused on sustainable and positive change for families, schools, and neighborhoods, it hopes to engage more and more like-minded individuals and organizations to join and partner with us on events like the Family Empowerment Festival.

The event would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors: Southern California Edison, Bank of America, Verizon, The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, The Dwight Stuart Youth Fund, The Green Foundation, The Marguerite Casey Foundation, and The Rose Hills Foundation.

For Legal Help

Advancing Justice - LA’s hotlines prioritize assistance to low-income persons in the following areas of law: family, immigration, consumer, public benefits, employment, housing, and civil rights.

English: 888.349.9695
需要協助嗎: 800.520.2356
हिंदी 855.971.2552


도움이 필요하십니까?: 800.867.3640
Tagalog: 855.300.2552
ต้องการความช่วยเหลือ: 800.914.9583
Cần sự giúp đỡ: 800.267.7395


Our mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society.