News Releases

May 3, 2022: District Attorney Gascón Introduces First AAPI Advisory Board in LADA History

Media Relations Division
(213) 257-2000

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced today the creation of the office’s first-ever AAPI Advisory Board, one of several Advisory Boards he formed that opens dialogue toward a more inclusive, stronger, safer and more trusting relationship with communities countywide.

“As we recognize and celebrate the contributions and influence Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to the history, culture and achievements of the United States and Los Angeles County, it is crucial to see the challenges members of the AAPI community face today and find solutions,” District Attorney Gascón said. “This new Advisory Board will initiate the necessary dialogue to meet the needs of AAPI communities and find concrete ways to build a more equitable justice system.”

The creation of the AAPI Advisory Board comes at a time when anti-Asian racism and acts of violence have skyrocketed. Reports of hate crimes increased by 76% in Los Angeles County at the start of the pandemic according to a Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations report.

The Advisory Board will meet regularly to address hate crimes and other priority issues, conduct outreach to diverse AAPI communities and advise on improvements to better serve AAPI residents and all those who come into contact with the office. They also will work to improve diversity and inclusion within the office itself.

The AAPI Advisory Board members include:

Dr. Sophal Ear, Advisory Board Chair, is Associate Dean and Associate Professor for the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University. He served on the Crescenta Valley Town Council and as a former Treasurer of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), a national civil rights organization devoted to uplifting Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese American communities. He sat on SEARAC’s board from 2014-2020.

Connie Chung Joe, J.D., is the Chief Executive Officer of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-L.A.), the nation’s largest legal and civil rights organization for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

Jonathan Cruz serves on the Board of Governors of the Philippine American Bar Association and on the Diversity, Unity and Equity Advisory Committee to the ABC Unified School District.

Lisa Kang serves on the board of the Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance and on the Executive Committee of the Criminal Justice Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

Manjusha Kulkarni is Executive Director of AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity), which serves and represents the 1.5 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Los Angeles County. She co-founded Stop AAPI-Hate, the nation’s leading aggregator of COVID-19-related hate incidents against AAPI people.

Arnold Lee is the president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County and a deputy city attorney for the City of Pasadena.

Esther Young Lim is the creator of the “How to Report a Hate Crime” booklet, which has been translated to 10 different languages for Los Angeles County, Orange County and other regions.

Chanchanit Martorell is the Founder and Executive Director of the Thai Community Development Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of Thai immigrants through services that promote cultural adjustment and economic self-sufficiency.

Rev. Mark M. Nakagawa is the West District Superintendent of The United Methodist Church where he oversees approximately 80 congregations in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area.

Diane M. L. Tan, a longtime community and civil rights advocate, is a founding member, Vice-President (Historian) and former Co-Chair and Treasurer of the Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance. She serves or has served in leadership roles for several bar associations. She is a retired Administrative Law Judge.

Jen Won has served on the Board of Governors for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association since 2019. She is a bilingual trial lawyer at Larson, LLP in Los Angeles.

Mia Frances Yamamoto is Past President of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, co-founder of the Multi-Cultural Bar Alliance and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Southern California and founding board member of International Bridges to Justice, a human rights group.