Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang Photos: John W. Kuo, Jessica Hagedorn, and Neal Katyal Receive AALDEF 2015 Justice in Action Awards

AALDEF board president Tommy Shi, Justice in Action Award Recipients John W. Kuo, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Varian Medical Systems, Jessica Hagedorn, novelist, poet, and playwright, and Neal Katyal, partner at Hogan Lovells, Paul Saunders Professor at Georgetown University, and former Acting Solicitor General of the United States and AALDEF executive director Margaret Fung at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund's lunar new year gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York on February 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

AALDEF board president Tommy Shi, Justice in Action Award Recipients John W. Kuo, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Varian Medical Systems, Jessica Hagedorn, novelist, poet, and playwright, and Neal Katyal, partner at Hogan Lovells, Paul Saunders Professor at Georgetown University, and former Acting Solicitor General of the United States, and AALDEF executive director Margaret Fung at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s lunar new year gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York on February 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Over 700 people attended the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s lunar new year gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York on February 23, 2015, where John W. Kuo, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Varian Medical Systems, Jessica Hagedorn, novelist, poet, and playwright, and Neal Katyal, partner at Hogan Lovells, Paul Saunders Professor at Georgetown University, and former Acting Solicitor General of the United States, received the AALDEF 2015 Justice in Action Awards.

Juju Chang, Emmy Award-winning co-anchor of ABC News' Nightline, and Sree Sreenivasan, chief digital officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, were the co-emcees at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund's lunar new year gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York on February 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Juju Chang, Emmy Award-winning co-anchor of ABC News’ Nightline, and Sree Sreenivasan, chief digital officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, were the co-emcees at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s lunar new year gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York on February 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Juju Chang, Emmy Award-winning co-anchor of ABC News’ Nightline, and Sree Sreenivasan, chief digital officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, were the co-emcees.

AALDEF executive director Margaret Fung and board president Tommy Shi at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund's lunar new year gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York on February 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

AALDEF executive director Margaret Fung and board president Tommy Shi at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s lunar new year gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York on February 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Board president Tommy Shi and AALDEF executive director Margaret Fung welcomed the dinner guests and spoke about the organization’s recent activities. Fung noted that this year is the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and the Immigration and Nationality Act. On these two landmark anniversaries, Fung said, “We will continue to work for immigration laws that respect human rights principles and advocate for stronger voting rights protections.”

2015 Justice in Action honoree John W. Kuo, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Varian Medical Systems, with presenter former Justice in Action honoree Sandra Leung, general counsel for Bristol-Myers Squibb at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund's lunar new year gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York on February 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

2015 Justice in Action honoree John W. Kuo, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Varian Medical Systems, with presenter former Justice in Action honoree Sandra Leung, general counsel for Bristol-Myers Squibb at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s lunar new year gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York on February 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Former Justice in Action honoree Sandra Leung, general counsel for Bristol-Myers Squibb, presented the award to Kuo. She said they both learned about AALDEF as college students and were inspired to get more involved in social justice issues. She praised Kuo’s efforts to promote diversity by instilling a culture of inclusion at all levels of his company’s business operations.


John Kuo described growing up in rural Texas, where his parents faced discrimination and he was the target of racial slurs. His parents overcame this prejudice and adversity, and Kuo said: “From that, I learned the value of social justice. . .and the concept of fighting for the underprivileged and the disenfranchised.” Kuo spoke about the importance of affirmative action in his own career, as one of the few Asian American general counsels at major corporations: “Affirmative action leveled the playing field; it gave me a chance to prove myself, and to succeed and make a difference.”

2015 Justice in Action Award recipient Jessica Hagedorn with presenter Andrew Hsiao, senior editor at Verso Books at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund's lunar new year gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York on February 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

2015 Justice in Action honoree Jessica Hagedorn with presenter Andrew Hsiao, senior editor at Verso Books at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s lunar new year gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York on February 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Andrew Hsiao, senior editor at Verso Books, introduced Jessica Hagedorn as one of the nation’s great writers: “She’s one of the coolest, one of the most protean, multifaceted artists in America.” He observed that this year is the 25th anniversary of Hagedorn’s first novel, Dogeaters, which transformed Asian American literature. Hsiao praised her as a lifetime activist for social justice, citing her work with PEN American Center to defend free expression and with CultureStrike, a network of artists fighting against anti-immigrant hate.


Jessica Hagedorn spoke eloquently about her work as a writer. She said: “I write to fight, to give voice, and to make others visible. I write to conjure up the beautiful, the mundane, the fantastic, the tragic, the comic, and the unspeakable. We are living in vexed and uncertain times, and we need our lawyers and storytellers now more than ever.”

2015 Justice in Action honoree Neal Katyal, partner at Hogan Lovells, Paul Saunders Professor at Georgetown University, and former Acting Solicitor General of the United States with presenter Debo Adegbile, partner at WilmerHale and former litigator at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund's lunar new year gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York on February 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

2015 Justice in Action honoree Neal Katyal, partner at Hogan Lovells, Paul Saunders Professor at Georgetown University, and former Acting Solicitor General of the United States with presenter Debo Adegbile, partner at WilmerHale and former litigator at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s lunar new year gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York on February 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

The last presenter was Debo Adegbile, partner at WilmerHale and former litigator at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He said that Neal Katyal had argued 24 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and won a major post-9/11 case involving the rights of non-citizen detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. As Acting Solicitor General, Katyal risked criticism by issuing a “confession of error” for the government’s role in defending the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. Katyal later received the Justice Department’s highest civilian honor, the Edmund Randolph Award.


Neal Katyal told the stories of three individuals who faced prejudice in America. The first was about his father, an immigrant who arrived in the U.S. in 1960 and was forced to choose between bathrooms marked for “whites” or for “coloreds.” The second was about Gordon Hirabayashi, a student who defied the curfew and exclusion orders imposed on Japanese Americans during World War II. The third story was about Sureshbhai Patel, an Indian immigrant visiting his son two weeks ago in Madison, Alabama. Patel was violently thrown to the ground by police officers and remains in a hospital partially paralyzed. Katyal said: “The beauty of AALDEF is that its resources and support extend to all three types of people. AALDEF fights for those who cannot stand up for themselves, like Patel, or those who don’t know how, like my father. And for those who do choose to fight, the Gordon Hirabayashis, AALDEF acts as a pillar of support. This organization’s reach and impact are extraordinary, and it’s an honor to be a part of that.”


Since 1987, AALDEF has presented the Justice in Action Awards to exceptional individuals for their outstanding achievements and cotributions in advancing justice and equality. Past Justice in Action Award recipients include Rep. John Lewis, David Henry Hwang, Fareed Zakaria, BD Wong, Jose Antonio Vargas, Sandra Leung, Mira Nair, Deval Patrick, Don Liu, Aasif Mandvi, George Takei, Salman Rushdie, Seymour Hersh, Harry Belafonte, Margaret Cho, Connie Chung, and Yoko Ono.

Sree Sreenivasan, chief digital officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, AALDEF board president Tommy Shih, 2015 Justice in Action Award Recipients John W. Kuo, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Varian Medical Systems, Jessica Hagedorn, novelist, poet, and playwright, and Neal Katyal, partner at Hogan Lovells, Paul Saunders Professor at Georgetown University, and former Acting Solicitor General of the United States, AALDEF executive director Margaret Fung and Andrew Hsiao, senior editor at Verso Books at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund's lunar new year gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York on February 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Sree Sreenivasan, chief digital officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, AALDEF board president Tommy Shi, 2015 Justice in Action Award Recipients John W. Kuo, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Varian Medical Systems, Jessica Hagedorn, novelist, poet, and playwright, and Neal Katyal, partner at Hogan Lovells, Paul Saunders Professor at Georgetown University, and former Acting Solicitor General of the United States, AALDEF executive director Margaret Fung and Andrew Hsiao, senior editor at Verso Books at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s lunar new year gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York on February 23, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

 

Related articles:
Photos: AALDEF Honors Mari Matsuda, Aasif Mandvi, and John Chou in 2014 at 40th Anniversary Celebration
Juju Chang Named Co-Anchor of Nightline
Photos: AALDEF Honors Congressman John Lewis, Jose Antonio Vargas, and Simone Wu with 2013 Justice in Action Awards
Photos: AALDEF 2012 Justice in Action Honorees Parkin Lee, Jean Koh Peters and Fareed Zakaria
Photos: A.B. Cruz III and Lillian Kimura Receive 2011 AALDEF Justice in Action Awards
Juan Gonzalez and Larry Tu Received AALDEF 2010 Justice in Action Awards in New York
Multimedia: AALDEF Celebrates 35 Years of Protecting and Promoting the Civil Rights of Asian Americans

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Jeanne Sakata, Jeremy Guskin, Angela Sauer, Andrew Ross Wynn, Elyse Mirto and More Set for A Noise Within’s FIGARO, March 1-May 10 
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
Michael Mayer Helmed BROOKLYNITE Featuring Ann Harada, Matt Doyle, Nicolette Robinson, Andrew Call, Nick Cordero and More, Extends through March 29
Jose Llana Set for Lincoln Center’s American Songbook Debut on March 12
Jaime Castañeda to Helm Rajiv Joseph’s GUARDS AT THE TAJ at La Jolla Playhouse, February 2-28, 2016
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
World Premiere Musical HAMILTON Transfers to Broadway; Previews begin July 13
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 
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
Photos: “Swimming Awkward Moment,” the newest works by painter Arlan Huang at Trestle Gallery through March 27
Video: Viola Davis, Charles Dutton, Laurence Fishburne, James Earl Jones, Suzan-Lori Parks, Phylicia Rashad and More Share Stories in American Masters-August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand Documentary
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.
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
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
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
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
Video: BETWEEN RIVERSIDE & CRAZY’s Stephen Adly Guirgis, actor Stephen McKinley Henderson and director Austin Pendleton set for THEATER TALK
THE GET DOWN, Baz Luhrmann’s New Drama Series Set in 1970s NYC That Gave Birth to Hip-Hop, Punk and Disco, to Premiere on Netflix in 2016
The American Playwriting Foundation Creates The Relentless Award to Honor the late Philip Seymour Hoffman
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
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Advantageous, Oh Lucy!, Meru, Umrika, The Chinese Mayor, The Stanford Prison Experiment Among 2015 Sundance Film Festival Award Winners
Photos: Lillias White, Scott Wakefield, Ebony Jo-Ann, Tina Fabrique, Marjorie Johnson, Akin Babatundé, Alan Govenar and More at TEXAS IN PARIS at The York Theatre Company
New York City Blizzard Does Not Deter Broadway Icon Chita Rivera From Performing in Concert Taping for THIRTEEN’s Great Performances Series
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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s