SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Family separation, racial discrimination and the protection of youth will be addressed in the 44th anniversary fundraising benefit for Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, a nonprofit organization that provides legal and social services and advocates on behalf of vulnerable community members in the San Francisco Bay Area. This year’s dinner event, called “Strength in Community,” is expected to draw more than 200 attendees on Friday, Oct. 4, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Mission Bay Conference Center.
“We are starting to witness history repeat itself,” said attorney Don Tamaki of San Francisco-based firm Minami Tamaki, who is the event keynote speaker. Immigration policies of the current Administration strike an alarming resemblance to the forced internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. “For Japanese American families in particular, including my own, the President’s invocation of ‘national security’ to justify the vilification of immigrants, refugees and Muslims, his curtailment of fundamental freedoms, and his efforts to cause ‘alternative’ facts to prevail over the real ones, are all too familiar to our community, which likewise was targeted 77 years ago and ended up incarcerated for no good reason.”
In collaboration with community partners, API Legal Outreach last year served 2,900 low-income clients who were faced with critical life and safety issue such as eviction, deportation, elder abuse, domestic violence, and human trafficking.
“We must move towards a just and fair society for the protection of immigrants, women, seniors and youth,” said Dean Ito-Taylor, API Legal Outreach’s executive director. “The strength of communities of color is more powerful than the racist policies that have been implemented to divide us. With all of our communities working together and making our voices heard, there is hope for change.”
Those to be honored at this year’s event are Filipino Advocates for Justice whose policies promote social and economic justice; attorneys Raymond Pascual and Elisa Shieh of the Asian American Bar Association who volunteer at API Legal Outreach pro bono clinics; and Youth Leadership Institute for their program that builds leadership in grantmaking among youth.
“To be a young person today is to be in constant peril due to the epidemic of mass shootings in our schools and neighborhoods,” said Jean Pham, outreach coordinator with API Legal Outreach’s Youth Advisory Council, which will announce a Call to Action at the event. “We are committed to fixing the issue at its root by using our platform to raise consciousness among youth about the cycle of violence.”
Mimi Kwan, VP Community Engagement at ABC7 (KGO-TV), emcees the event, which will include a performance by local Sunny and The Black Pack. Tickets are available through Eventbrite.