Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

Building upon the legacy of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

Episode 5: Breaking Through

At the turn of the millennium, Asian Americans have become the fastest-growing population in the U.S. During this time of tremendous change, Asian Americans, newly empowered by their growing numbers and rising influence, must navigate their role in the future of America as the country tackles urgent debates over immigration, race, and the economic disparity.

Lesson Plan
Grades 8-12
Subject: English Language Arts, U.S. History
This lesson will explore how the 1982 murder of Vincent Chin galvanized the Asian American community, resulting in increased visibility for Asian Americans, an organized response to racism and xenophobia, and the birth of a new generation of activists. In addition, the lesson will explore the legal impact of Vincent Chin’s murder and how it has shaped how we view and define hate crimes today.

Grades 9-12
Subject: English Language Arts, U.S. History
Sparked off by the acquittal of four officers in the Rodney King police brutality case, the 1992 Los Angeles Civil Unrest took place over several days and led to rioting and destruction of the city. The unrest represented a boiling point of underlying issues including systemic racism, police brutality, failure of the criminal justice system, economic disparities between communities of color, and racial tensions. The perceived racial tensions between Korean and Black Americans, further complicated by the shooting of Latasha Harlins by a Korean storeowner, led to some targeting of Korean American neighborhoods/businesses for violence and looting. Students will explore the history, conditions, and tensions that led to the 1992 civil unrest in L.A.

Grades 7-12
Subject: English Language Arts, U.S. History
Asian Americans have contributed greatly to the Silicon Valley high tech boom beginning in the 1980s to present day. The technological innovations that came out of Silicon Valley enabled the United States to become a global IT leader as the region in San Francisco Bay Area became the birthplace for many high tech companies, such as the search company Yahoo! While some high-profile Asian American entrepreneurs were able to build highly lucrative companies, the contributions of Asian immigrants who performed the piecework labor that made these new innovative machines function was also an important factor to Silicon Valley’s growth and success.

Grades 6-12
Subject: English Language Arts, U.S. History
11.3 million is the estimated number of undocumented immigrants lived in the United States in 2018. Of these, about 3.6 million entered the U.S. before their 18th birthday. This latter group, the Dreamers, have been advocating for a path towards legal residency and citizenship since 2001. This lesson will explore the origins of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) and connect the story of Tereza Lee, the first DREAMer, and the current struggles of others like her against possible family separation and deportation.

Grades 11-12
Subject: Civics and Government, English Language Arts, U.S. History
The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 marked a turning point in American policies toward immigration, privacy, and the ways South Asian Americans were perceived and treated after. Students will learn about the various ways South Asian Americans have experienced disproportionate and targeted racial profiling, hate crimes, and other acts of discrimination. They will also learn about the ways in which South Asian Americans responded to the 9/11 attacks and the aftermath, providing insight into how immigrant communities are often caught between the pressures of representing themselves in a way that appeals to the expectations of the status quo, and the desire to practice their culture and traditions in a way that allows them to fully embrace their cultural and ancestral identity.


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

English: 888.349.9695
需要協助嗎: 800.520.2356
도움이 필요하십니까: 800.867.3640
Tagalog: 855.300.2552
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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.