Former Political Appointee Tapped to Lead Civil Rights Organization
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 7, 2017) — Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC (Advancing Justice | AAJC) announced Tuesday the selection of nationally recognized attorney John C. Yang as the new president and executive director of the organization.
Yang succeeds Mee Moua, who informed the organization of her desire to move on last October. He will start immediately and work with Moua until mid-March to ensure a smooth transition for the organization.
Yang is an attorney with over two decades of experience. Most recently, Yang served in the Obama Administration as Senior Advisor for Trade and Strategic Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he was the principal advisor to Secretary Penny Pritzker on issues related to Asia and worked with the White House and other U.S. agencies on strategic and economic issues related to Asia. Yang also was a partner at a major Washington, D.C. law firm and was legal director for the Asia-Pacific operations of a U.S. Fortune 200 company.
“John’s track record as a relationship-builder and problem-solver in various fields and across cultural contexts makes him the clear choice to lead Advancing Justice | AAJC,” said Parkin Lee, chair of the Board of Directors of Advancing Justice | AAJC. “John joins us with deep knowledge of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and with great enthusiasm and energy to advance our fight for civil rights in an uncertain political atmosphere.”
A recognized leader in the legal and Asian American and Pacific Islander community, Yang’s service includes: President, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (2003–04); Board Chair, Advancing Justice | AAJC (2005–08); Board Member, American Bar Association Commission on Racial & Ethnic Diversity in the Legal Profession (2009–12); Advisory Committee on Pro Se Litigation for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (1998–2002); Co-Founder, Asian Pacific American Legal Center (1997). He continues to serve as co-chair of NAPABA’s Judiciary and Executive Nominations and Appointments Committee and has been a member of the ABA House Delegates since 2008.
“I am honored to take the helm of Advancing Justice | AAJC,” said Yang said. “In the days following the election, I strongly felt the importance of dedicating myself to safeguarding the rights of my family, my community, and all Americans. The work of Advancing Justice | AAJC is well-known to me. With so many battles that lay ahead to ensure equal protection and civil rights for all Americans, I am proud to join a team that is equally passionate and prepared to move our causes forward.”
As an immigrant brought to the United States by his parents, Yang understands the path his parents and so many Asian Americans have to travel in the pursuit of the American dream.
“I was fortunate to come to the United States at a time when America opened her arms to my family’s arrival,”Yang said. That core American value of welcoming immigrants is essential to our identity as a nation, and it must be defended,” said Yang. “Today, our fundamental American values are under attack and the Asian American and Pacific Islander community is facing its greatest threats to their civil and human rights since the Internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. As incoming president and executive director of Advancing Justice | AAJC, I am committed to working hard to defend and preserve our civil and human rights.”
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC has a mission to advance civil and human rights for Asian Americans. We strive to empower Asian Americans and Pacific Islander communities across the country by bringing local and national constituencies together, advocate for federal policy that reflects the needs of Asian Americans, and promotes a fair and equitable society for all.