Friday, June 20, 2008

CAA Honors Three APA Entities

CAA Honors Three APA
By: Leila Kang, Jun 19, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO — Civil rights group Chinese for Affirmative Action held its annual Celebration of Justice Gala at the Westin St. Francis on June 11.
This year’s honorees were the Asian Pacific American magazine Hyphen, the legal team at the law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP and historian Him Mark Lai. Honorees were chosen on the basis of how they have advanced, broken ground and created new movements in the Asian community.
Hyphen magazine was honored for its culturally and politically savvy coverage of Asian America. Editor in Chief Harry Mok, who oversees the volunteer staff of approximately 30, spoke of the need for media geared toward the Asian American community and filling a niche that conventional media has left open.
The legal team at Pillsbury was honored for their work on the Asian American amicus brief in support of the California Marriage Cases, which sought to win the freedom to marry for lesbian and gay couples through the California Supreme Court. Kevin M. Fong, a partner at Pillsbury, accepted the award on behalf of his team. Fong spoke about recognizing that the Asian American community needed and wanted to be heard. In turn, Fong said he wanted to show them that they had an ally both in the courts and in the community.
Him Mark Lai, the foremost scholar on Chinese American history, was honored for a lifetime of chronicling the Chinese American experience. Originally trained in mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley, he saw that there was no history of Chinese Americans and embarked on creating it. He has taught at both San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley.
Author Frank H. Wu, former dean of Wayne State University Law School and former AsianWeek columnist, was the keynote speaker. His remarks addressed racial discrimination, the pressures to assimilate, and what the Asian American community can do in order to be more politically empowered. “There is tremendous growth in Asia, and it is clear that the future is there.”

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