LOS ANGELES (Jan. 16, 2015) — On Thursday, January 15, 2015, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA) celebrated the Grand Opening of its new “San Gabriel Valley Community Center” located in Monterey Park. With this new community space, Advancing Justice – LA plans to expand its services for and its ability to engage with residents in the region.
“Although the San Gabriel Valley is home to more than 500,000 Asian Americans – greater than the number of Asian Americans living in the cities of Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, or San Diego – the area lacks sufficient infrastructure to serve or engage its diverse Asian immigrant population,” said Stewart Kwoh, President and Executive Director of Advancing Justice – LA. “We are excited to open this new community space in the heart of one of the nation’s largest Asian American communities, allowing us to expand our legal assistance, leadership training programs and civic engagement efforts for the San Gabriel Valley community.”
More than 100 guests attended the event, including elected officials, community leaders, community organizations, local youth and parents, and members of the media. Along with Advancing Justice – LA President and Executive Director Stewart Kwoh, the program featured remarks from Congresswoman Judy Chu, Los Angeles Community College Trustee Mike Eng, Monterey Park City Mayor Hans Liang, and youth from Advancing Justice – LA’s leadership development programs. (For photos from the event, please contact [email protected])
In addition to a large and highly diverse Asian American population, the San Gabriel Valley is also home to a significant Latino population. Together, Latinos and Asian Americans comprise more than 75 percent of the population of the San Gabriel Valley. (For a fact sheet on Asian Americans in the San Gabriel Valley, visit www.advancingjustice-la.org/sgv.)
“As an organization committed to racial justice and immigrant rights, we are excited by the opportunities that the rich diversity of the San Gabriel Valley offers for strengthening multi-racial coalitions and uniting Asian Americans, Latinos and other populations around issues of common interest such as immigration,” said Betty Hung, Policy Director at Advancing Justice – LA.
Although the organization’s San Gabriel Valley Community Center is newly-launched, Advancing Justice – LA has a deep history of working in the San Gabriel Valley, from several decades of redistricting advocacy that helped pave the way for the election of Congressmember Judy Chu, the first Chinese American woman in the U.S. Congress; to litigating a ground-breaking labor trafficking case in the 1990s involving undocumented Thai garment workers; to advocating in the courts and state legislature on behalf of limited English speaking immigrants targeted for consumer fraud. Advancing Justice – LA has also operated youth and parent leadership programs in the west San Gabriel Valley for more than a decade, training new generations of leaders from predominantly immigrant families.
“We are very proud of the thousands of students, parents, and family members we have touched over the years through our leadership training programs, including many in Alhambra, Monterey Park, San Gabriel, and Rosemead,” said Marvin Andrade, Leadership Development Director at Advancing Justice – LA. “With the new community center, we look forward to expanding our ability to serve and engage with even more new leaders and creating positive change for the larger San Gabriel Valley community.”
Present and future work at Advancing Justice – LA’s San Gabriel Valley Community Center and other locations in the region include:
Immigration and citizenship: providing free clinics, workshops, and other services to assist residents with citizenship applications and immigration issues, including DACA, DAPA, and AB 60 (drivers’ licenses). There is a January 24 immigration assistance event at Alhambra High School. Free ESL and civics classes are also offered at various locations in San Gabriel Valley.
Healthcare access: providing opportunities for healthcare enrollment to low-income and middle class San Gabriel Valley residents regardless of background or English proficiency. Regular workshops currently held in local libraries throughout San Gabriel Valley (bilingual Chinese assistance available).
Civic engagement: building a base of empowered Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders that includes disadvantaged and underserved individuals whose voices are heard by policymakers (including but not limited to voters). Bilingual volunteers currently needed to call voters for March city elections in San Gabriel Valley.
Parent and youth leadership: empowering local high school students and parents through Advancing Justice – LA’s leadership development programs.
Higher education access: helping make college more accessible through workshops on eligibility for college, applications, and financial aid.
Advancing Justice – LA’s San Gabriel Valley Community Center is located at 939 S. Atlantic Boulevard in Monterey Park. Please note the community center does not take walk-in visitors. Individuals are encouraged to schedule an appointment by calling the Advancing Justice – LA in-language intake lines:
800.520.2356 (Chinese – Mandarin or Cantonese)
For more information on San Gabriel Valley events and activities, call the numbers above or visit: www.advancingjustice-la.org/sgv.