Righting Wrongs - December 22, 2011: A Year in Civil Rights

Please celebrate the holidays by making a special year-end donation to AALDEF!

As 2011 comes to a close, take a look back at AALDEF's year in civil rights...

The 2011 Justice in Action Awards
imageWe began the year by honoring Lillian Kimura of the Japanese American Citizens League and Scripps Networks Interactive's A.B. Cruz III with our 2011 Justice in Action Awards. An unexpected highlight? BD Wong's hilarious, impromptu stand-up at the end of the night. Join us for the Year of the Dragon at our Lunar New Year Gala honoring Fareed Zakaria, Jean Koh Peters, and Parkin Lee on February 8th, 2012!
The Largest Trafficking Class Action in U.S. History
imageIn February, our Anti-Trafficking Initiative, together with the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center, sought class certification in New Orleans for 500 Indian guestworkers lured to the U.S. with false promises of green cards, who were forced to live in overcrowded, unsanitary, and racially segregated camps. The case captured national attention this November when Dan Rather made it the subject of an hour-long TV investigation, "An American Nightmare."
NJ Workers Recover Almost $50k in Unpaid Wages
imageIn April,
AALDEF's New Jersey-Asian American Legal Project (NJ-AALP) settled a lawsuit on behalf of two Indian Gujarati workers against a sweets manufacturing factory for $8,500 in unpaid minimum wage and overtime pay. Read more in the Jersey Journal. In the fall, we helped three Korean sushi chefs recover almost $40,000 in back wages from their Palisades Park employer. Details in the Bergen Record.
A New Redistricting Plan for NYC
imageFor the once-in-a-decade chance to secure equal access to the political process, AALDEF, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the National Institute for Latino Policy, and the Center for Law and Social Justice proposed the Unity Map, which redraws New York City voting districts to keep Asian Americans and other communities of color together. Read the AP story on the Unity Map and our op-ed in the New York Daily News.

New Jersey Town Sued to Allow Mosque
imageThe Town of Bridgewater, NJ suddenly altered its zoning laws to block development of a mosque by the Al Falah Center. The town said it was concerned over traffic safety issues; AALDEF and our co-counsel representing the Center contend it's religious discrimination. In July, a NJ federal court ruled that we can proceed with the lawsuit. A New York Times editorial noted the importance of this decision, and our co-counsel, Peter L. Zimroth from Arnold & Porter, wrote an essay for New York Law Journal calling this "the case that makes a lawyer's life meaningful."
Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of 9/11
imageTo mark the tenth anniversary of September 11, AALDEF organized a roundtable discussion on the impact and aftermath on New York City's diverse residents and a forum on post-9/11 civil liberties and the Muslim American community.

NYC English Language Learner Students Get A Boost
imageAALDEF's Educational Equity Program has been assisting neglected English Language Learners in New York City schools for years. Finally in 2011, the state of NY intervened in response to our advocacy. NYC schools will add 125 new bilingual education programs, improve parent outreach, and prioritize English instruction in some Asian immigrant neighborhoods. Read more in the Wall Street Journal.

Chinglish -- A Night at the Theatreimage
The new play Chinglish by David Henry Hwang opened on Broadway in October with a special benefit preview and Q&A for AALDEF members.

Standing Up for Voting Rights
imageAs the 2012 election season approaches, AALDEF welcomed the new Asian language bilingual ballot requirements. But the year's biggest voting rights event was December's Stand for Freedom Rally against voter identification laws in New York City. AALDEF, the NAACP, and SEIU led 150+ other civil rights organizations and mobilized thousands of people to attend. Read our op-ed on Asian American voter suppression in the New York Daily News.

Don't forget to read Emil Guillermo's latest posts on the AALDEF blog, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter!

Please celebrate the holidays by making a special year-end donation to AALDEF!
Founded in 1974, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) is a national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans. By combining litigation, advocacy, education, and organizing, AALDEF works with Asian American communities across the country to secure human rights for all.

Contact us:
e: info@aaldef.org
p: 212.966.5932

99 Hudson Street
12th floor
New York, NY 10013