On Thursday, June 23, Chinese for Affirmative Action will host our 53rd anniversary Celebration of Justice event.
For CAA, the Celebration of Justice is a time to reflect on our growing movement for civil rights and social justice, as well as a time for special recognition. This year, we are once again excited to uplift individuals and organizations whose work has made our society more just and equitable.
Our three 2022 Celebration of Justice honorees are: EunSook Lee, Hmong Innovating Politics, and Thomas A. Saenz.
Honoree: EunSook Lee
For her vision and leadership for immigrant rights, racial justice, and gender equity, and her pioneering work with the AAPI Civic Engagement Fund to mobilize philanthropy for grassroots AAPI communities and diverse democracy.
EunSook Lee is the Executive Director of the AAPI Civic Engagement Fund, which seeds, supports, and strengthens grassroots AAPI-serving organizations across the country. A lifelong activist, EunSook has led numerous campaigns to protect immigrant rights, language access, women’s rights, racial justice, and voting rights, within and across AAPI communities.
EunSook believes in the power of building community and grassroots democracy where decision-making uplifts the agency and centers the voices of all people who have been systematically excluded, including AAPI communities. This perspective has informed her pioneering work to financially resource AAPI organizations that have been historically underfunded. Prior to her role at the AAPI Civic Engagement Fund, EunSook served as the Executive Director of the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium and with Korean American Women in Need.
Honoree: Hmong Innovating Politics
For their groundbreaking achievements in civic engagement, progressive movement-building, and family and community outreach within Hmong and with other disenfranchised Asian American communities in the Central Valley of California.
About Hmong Innovating Politics
Responding to students and their families amid a series of proposed school closures in Sacramento, Hmong Innovating Politics (HIP) was established in 2012 with a primary goal of ensuring historically disenfranchised communities would have a voice. HIP has since grown into a leading civic empowerment and youth development organization for progressive change in the Central Valley. Focused on grassroots organizing and power building for Southeast Asian American communities, HIP’s programs have led to the largest growth in Southeast Asian American voter participation in the Central Valley since the community’s resettlement after the Southeast Asian wars. Moreover, their emphasis on youth justice and multigenerational organizing create the infrastructure for young people to Belong, Believe, and Become the type of leaders that will drive progressive change for generations to come.
Honoree: Thomas A. Saenz
For his principled, steadfast, and fierce leadership on the most critical civil rights, immigration, racial justice, and Latino issues over the past several decades in California and the United States.
About Thomas A. Saenz
Thomas A. Saenz is the President and General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), which has led on and championed the civil and legal rights of Latinos and immigrants in the U.S. for over 50 years. Both in the courtroom and through policy making, during his tenure at MALDEF, Thomas has consistently overturned dozens of anti-immigrant and regressive laws and initiatives and succeeded in winning new policies that recognize the dignity and rights of all immigrant populations.
Whether defeating or reversing a host of California’s anti-immigrant ballot initiatives during the Governor Wilson era, or successfully litigating against Trump administration immigration and Census policies rooted in racism and xenophobia, Thomas has led the fight for all communities of color and modeled the importance of building multiracial solidarity. Through his work in Los Angeles, the State of California, Washington, D.C., and across the country, Thomas has effectively advocated for voting rights, education equity, and the full potential of our democracy.
Join us at the 53rd Celebration of Justice
Please join us in recognizing all three incredible honorees at our Celebration of Justice. You can register to attend here, or become an individual or corporate sponsor to help support CAA programs.