2019 Justice in Action Award recipients, with presenters, emcees. From left, Juju Chang, emcee; Tommy Shi - AALDEF board president; Margaret Fung - AALDEF executive director; Ted Shaw, presenter - Professor at University of North Carolina School of Law and former Director- Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Vanita Gupta, 2019 JIA award recipient; Michael C. Wu, 2019 JIA award recipient; Samuel S. Choy, presenter - Partner, King & Spalding; and Sree Sreenivasan, emcee.  (All photos by Lia Chang)

On March 27, 2019, more than 650 people attended the 45th anniversary gala of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), a New York-based national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian-Americans.

The gala, held at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers in New York, included the presentation of AALDEF’s 2019 Justice in Action Awards to Michael C. Wu, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary of Carter’s, Inc.; and Vanita Gupta, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights coalition.

The emcees were Juju Chang, co-anchor of ABC News’ Nightline; and Sree Sreenivasan, digital and social media strategist and co-founder of Digimentors.

Special guest, Aasif Mandvi, a writer and comedian who received the 2014 Justice in Action Award, also spoke to the audience, urging them support AALDEF’s important work at a time when the civil rights of immigrants and communities of color are facing unprecedented attacks.


Aasif Mandvi donates his tie for AALDEF’s live auction; with emcee Sree Sreenivasan.

AALDEF presents Justice in Action awards annually to individuals for their outstanding achievements and contributions to social justice.

Proceeds from the gala support AALDEF’s litigation, advocacy and community education programs in the areas of immigrant rights, economic justice, educational equity, housing and environmental justice, and voting rights and democracy.


The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, 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.


AALDEF 45th anniversary gala emcees Juju Chang and Sree Sreenivasan.

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