Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Fearless and Funny Women Reign Supreme at AALDEF’s Year of the Ram Celebration in NY

AALDEF 2003 "Justice in Action" award honorees Margaret Cho and Bhairavi Desai of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.  Photo Credit: Lia Chang

AALDEF 2003 “Justice in Action” award honorees Margaret Cho and Bhairavi Desai of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.
Photo Credit: Lia Chang

Margaret Cho kicks off the AALDEF's Year of the Ram festivities by raising the lion head to a loud drum roll Photo Credit: Lia Chang

Margaret Cho kicks off the AALDEF’s Year of the Ram festivities by raising the lion head to a loud drum roll
Photo Credit: Lia Chang

Originally published at AsianConnections.com in 2003

Comedienne Margaret Cho and Bhairavi Desai of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance were honored with 2003 “Justice in Action” awards at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s annual Lunar New Year celebration on February 13, 2003, at PIER SIXTY, on the Hudson River in New York City.

AsianConnections arts and entertainment editor Lia Chang celebrated with over 650 guests at AALDEF’s Year of the Ram festivities where girl power reigned supreme and WNBC-TV reporter Ti-Hua Chang served as the evening’s emcee.The evening ended with Flower Drum Song playwright David Henry Hwang’s somber reminder of the need for groups like AALDEF to defend civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans, especially in these troubled times.

Comedienne Margaret Cho shares a laugh with People Magazine's executive editor Jeannie Park. Photo Credit: Lia Chang

Comedienne Margaret Cho shares a laugh with People Magazine’s executive editor Jeannie Park.
Photo Credit: Lia Chang

Cho looking divine in an antique kimono, brocade corset and opera length gloves accepted her award from People Magazine’s executive editor Jeannie Park. True to form, the comedienne who begins touring her latest show, The Revolution Tour in March, regaled the audience with an R-rated comic riff on Asian American stereotypes and had us between laughter and tears.

NY Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez presented Bhairavi Desai, a founding member and organizer of the NY Taxi Workers Alliance with her award. In the wake of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, Desai and her staff at the NYTWA documented hundreds of incidents of hate violence against South Asian, Sikh and Muslim taxi drivers. The NYTWA organized legal clinics with AALDEF to assist drivers with discrimination, hate violence, and immigration problems, and securing disaster relief for their 9-11 related economic losses.

Margaret Cho accepts AALDEF 2003 "Justice in Action" award, for her wildly inventive use of comedy to challenge racism, sexism and social injustice. Photo Credit: Lia Chang

Margaret Cho accepts AALDEF 2003 “Justice in Action” award, for her wildly inventive use of comedy to challenge racism, sexism and social injustice.
Photo Credit: Lia Chang

Guests at the 2003 AALDEF dinner (l-r): David Henry Hwang, June Jee of Verizon, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, AALDEF executive director Margaret Fung, AALDEF assistant director Lillian Ling, and Paul Bader. Photo Credit: Lia Chang

Guests at the 2003 AALDEF dinner (l-r): David Henry Hwang, June Jee of Verizon, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, AALDEF executive director Margaret Fung, AALDEF assistant director Lillian Ling, and Paul Bader.
Photo Credit: Lia Chang

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
AALDEF Executive Director Margaret Fung and Justice in Action Honorees A. B. Cruz III, Arthur Chong, John Chou, John Kuo, Lawrence Tu, Sandra Leung and Simone Wu on Lawyers of Color’s Fourth Annual Power List
Filmmakers Can Register for the 11th annual 72 Hour Shootout™; Youn Jung Kim named Shootout Coordinator
Photos: Francis Jue, Telly Leung, Jennifer Lim, Jo Mei, James Saito, Sue Jin Song, Harriet Harris and More at Opening Night of The World of Extreme Happiness
Video: Deonna Bouye, Alfredo Huereca, Socorro Santiago, Charles Socarides in World Premiere of ‘Guadalupe in the Guest Room’ by Tony Meneses at Two River Theater through March 15
Photos: “Swimming Awkward Moment,” the newest works by painter Arlan Huang at Trestle Gallery through March 27
Photos: National Black Theatre Festival 2013; NBTF runs August 3-8, 2015 and will include Act III – A Celebration of Life Reception saluting the late theatre icon Garland Lee Thompson, Sr.
Jeanne Sakata, Jeremy Guskin, Angela Sauer, Andrew Ross Wynn, Elyse Mirto and More Set for A Noise Within’s FIGARO, March 1-May 10 
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley presents Rajiv Joseph’s THE LAKE EFFECT Starring Adam Poss, Nilanjana Bose, Jason Bowen through March 29
Mar. 4: Tony Award-Winner Lillias White, Carol Fredette & More to be Honored at 30th Annual Bistro Awards at Gotham Comedy Club
Mar. 8- 29: Pursuit of the Perfect Plate: tokyo fish story Premieres at South Coast Repertory starring Lawrence Kao, Jully Lee, Eddie Mui, Sab Shimono and Ryun Yu
OBIE Award-winner Jojo Gonzalez, Jessica Almasy, Marcia DeBonis, Brad Heberlee, Sakina Jaffrey, Erik Lochtefeld and Babak Tafti Set for Ars Nova’s World Premiere of SMALL MOUTH SOUNDS, March 10 – April 11; OBIE Winner Rachel Chavkin to Direct
Jose Llana Set for Lincoln Center’s American Songbook Debut on March 12
Lincoln Center Theater’s The King and I, Starring Ken Watanabe, Kelli O’Hara, Ruthie Ann Miles, Conrad Ricamora, Jon Viktor Corpuz, Paul Nakauchi and More Kick off Rehearsals; Previews Begin March 12
CAAMFest 2015 Honors Filmmaker Arthur Dong with World Premiere Screenings of Forbidden City, USA (3/14), The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor (3/15) & In Conversation with B. Ruby Rich (3/20)
CAAMFest Presents Ursula Liang’s Documentary 9-Man: Northern California Premiere at the Great Star Theatre on March 13; East Bay Premiere at The New Parkway Theater on March 22
Stan Egi, Ellen Crawford, Paige Lindsey White, Bruce Turk, Greg Watanabe and More Set for Jessica Kubzansky helmed PYGMALION at The Pasadena Playhouse, March 17- April 12, 2015
Video: BETWEEN RIVERSIDE & CRAZY’s Stephen Adly Guirgis, actor Stephen McKinley Henderson and director Austin Pendleton set for THEATER TALK
Mar. 24: An Evening with Amy Tan at New-York Historical Society
Broadway Bound Doctor Zhivago Featuring Tam Mutu, Kelli Barrett, Tom Hewitt, Paul Nolan, Lora Lee Gayer, Melody Butiu and More Kicks Off Rehearsal; Previews Begin March 27
Michael Mayer Helmed BROOKLYNITE Featuring Ann Harada, Matt Doyle, Nicolette Robinson, Andrew Call, Nick Cordero and More, Extends through March 29
Brandon J. Dirden, Merritt Janson, Roslyn Ruff, Andrew Hovelson, Roger Robinson Set for World Premiere of YOUR BLUES AIN’T SWEET LIKE MINE, written and directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson at Two River Theater, April 11-May 3
Tony Award® Nominees Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed to star in Rajiv Joseph’s GUARDS AT THE TAJ, helmed by Amy Morton, at Atlantic Theater Company, May 20-June 28
World Premiere Musical HAMILTON Transfers to Broadway; Previews begin July 13
Photos: John W. Kuo, Jessica Hagedorn, and Neal Katyal Receive AALDEF 2015 Justice in Action Awards
Suzan-Lori Parks’ FATHER COMES HOME FROM THE WARS, PARTS 1, 2 & 3 is the 2015 Winner of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History 
Variety.com: Ken Jeong to Star in ABC Medical Comedy Pilot ‘Dr. Ken’
Photos: Hudson Yang, Randall Park, Eddie Huang, Richard Lui, Lori Tan Chinn and More at #FreshOffTheBoat Viewing Party at The Circle NYC
Photos: Tony Award Winning Playwright David Henry Hwang, NEFA, Graham Sheffield CBE and Susan Stockton Receive 2015 ISPA Awards
Photos: Late Night at HERE LIES LOVE with Jaygee Macapugay, David Byrne, Jose Llana, Conrad Ricamora, Melody Butiu and More
THE WIZ Turns 40- Photos from Original Broadway Production and BC/EFA Gypsy of The Year Celebration Featuring André De Shields, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ken Page, Charl Brown, Carly Hughes, Christina Sajous, Alton Fitzgerald White, Lillias White and More
Photos: Ellen Burstyn, Baz Luhrmann, John Leguizamo, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Stephen McKinley Henderson, John Patrick Shanley, David Henry Hwang, Liza Colón-Zayas, Kenneth Lonergan and More Celebrate Stephen Adly Guirgis at The Mimi Awards
Crafting a Career
Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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