Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is a New York-based 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.

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is a New York-based 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. Current program priorities include economic justice, immigrants' rights, housing and environmental justice, ending anti-Asian violence and police misconduct, and voting rights and democracy. AALDEF will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2024. Over the past five decades, AALDEF has won millions of dollars in back wages for low-wage immigrant workers, successfully advocated to expand language access to Asian Americans under the Voting Rights Act, represented victims of anti-Asian violence and police misconduct, challenged anti-Muslim profiling and assisted Chinatown residents in rebuilding their community after the 9/11 attacks in New York City, and provided legal resources to Asian Americans seeking to create safe, healthy, and equitable communities. AALDEF has inspired hundreds of young lawyers to get involved in Asian American community issues and to engage in public interest law. More than 300 volunteers work with AALDEF each year.

About the Organization:

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is a New York-based 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. Current program priorities include economic justice, immigrants' rights, housing and environmental justice, ending anti-Asian violence and police misconduct, and voting rights and democracy. AALDEF will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2024. Over the past five decades, AALDEF has won millions of dollars in back wages for low-wage immigrant workers, successfully advocated to expand language access to Asian Americans under the Voting Rights Act, represented victims of anti-Asian violence and police misconduct, challenged anti-Muslim profiling and assisted Chinatown residents in rebuilding their community after the 9/11 attacks in New York City, and provided legal resources to Asian Americans seeking to create safe, healthy, and equitable communities. AALDEF has inspired hundreds of young lawyers to get involved in Asian American community issues and to engage in public interest law. More than 300 volunteers work with AALDEF each year.

organizational budget

3 MILLION - 4 MILLION

existence for

31+ YEARS

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

National • Arizona • California • Connecticut • Delaware • District of Columbia • Florida • Georgia • Hawaii • Illinois • Louisiana • Maryland • Massachusetts • Michigan • Minnesota • Nevada • New Jersey • New Mexico • New York • North Carolina • Ohio • Pennsylvania • Rhode Island • Texas • Virginia • Washington

organizational budget

3 MILLION - 4 MILLION

existence for

31+ YEARS

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

National • Arizona • California • Connecticut • Delaware • District of Columbia • Florida • Georgia • Hawaii • Illinois • Louisiana • Maryland • Massachusetts • Michigan • Minnesota • Nevada • New Jersey • New Mexico • New York • North Carolina • Ohio • Pennsylvania • Rhode Island • Texas • Virginia • Washington

The Issue:

The major challenge for the Asian American community is the sharp rise in anti-Asian violence since the pandemic. In March 2020, Asian Americans were scapegoated for the virus and targeted with racist slurs such as “Chinese virus” and “kung flu.” The result was an alarming increase in anti-Asian violence, harassment, and discrimination. In 2021, the FBI reported 746 racially-motivated attacks against Asian Americans, a 249% increase over the previous year and the highest number in three decades. In March 2021, eight people, including six Asian American women, were killed in deadly shootings at three Atlanta-area spas. This was followed by another widely-publicized and senseless act of violence, when Michelle Alyssa Go was pushed to her death in front of a New York City subway train in January 2022. Stop AAPI Hate, which has tracked hate crimes during the pandemic, reported more than 11,000 incidents of anti-Asian assaults, racial slurs, and anti-Asian discrimination in the past three years. The rise in anti-Asian hate and xenophobia during the pandemic has made many Asian Americans fearful of leaving their homes, sending their children to school, or taking action to report incidents of hate violence and harassment. This problem cannot be resolved without addressing the root causes of anti-Asian violence–by investing in education, health care, and fair wages for all communities.

The Solution:

AALDEF responded by launching its Stop Asian Hate Project, in order to support victims of hate violence and to address the root causes of anti-Asian racism. Our activities include: 1) legal counseling and advocacy for hate crime victims, including speaking at rallies and meeting with local district attorneys; 2) mobilizing a network of pro bono attorneys to accept potential cases; 3) training lawyers to respond to anti-Asian violence through a new continuing legal education program; and 4) conducting more than 70 legal rights presentations and outreach events in 2022. AALDEF’s legal rights and educational outreach events on anti-Asian hate have been organized in response to requests by community groups and residents.. These events generate more discussions about issues of public safety, policing, and the importance of community organizing in the fight against anti-Asian racism. One unique aspect of our programs is our coalition work with other communities of color on such issues as hate violence, language access, and civic participation. AALDEF has done joint cases and projects with other civil rights groups, including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, and Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College. These groups come together to respond to incidents of hate violence against any of our groups and advocate for policy changes to ensure fair treatment for hate crime victims. AALDEF's community lawyering approach provides resources and support for the most marginalized people in Asian American communities and ultimately builds community power to fight against systemic racism.

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