American Bar Association Honors Advancing Justice | AAJC President and Executive Director with Spirit of Excellence Award

The Spirit of Excellence Award celebrates the efforts and accomplishments of lawyers who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession
For Immediate Release
Contact
Mary Tablante 202-296-2300, ext. 0114 mtablante@advancingjustice-aajc.org

February 18, 2021—Washington, D.C.—Tonight, the American Bar Association will honor Advancing Justice | AAJC President and Executive Director John C. Yang with the Spirit of Excellence Award alongside four other esteemed civil rights leaders. The Spirit of Excellence Award celebrates the efforts and accomplishments of lawyers who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession. 

The awards are presented to lawyers who excel in their professional settings; who personify excellence on the national, state, or local level; and who have demonstrated a commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the law. Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and Lori E. Lightfoot, the first Black female mayor of Chicago, are among the honorees.

"The ABA's Spirit of Excellence Award is a hard-earned and well-deserved recognition of John Yang's incredible history of professional success coupled with innovative leadership for Asian Americans, not just in the legal field, but in community service, civil rights, and social equity, said Advancing Justice | AAJC Board Chair Parkin Lee. “We at Advancing Justice |  AAJC are truly fortunate that John had agreed to lead and grow our organization, enabling it to take on an ever-expanding portfolio of issues affecting the Asian American community through these tumultuous times."

Yang is an experienced attorney with over 25 years of policy, litigation, and corporate expertise. He served in the Obama Administration as Senior Advisor for Trade and Strategic Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he was the principal advisor to Secretary Penny Pritzker on issues related to Asia and worked with the White House and other U.S. agencies on strategic and economic issues concerning the region. He co-founded the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the direct service legal needs of Asian Pacific Americans in the D.C. metropolitan area and is a former president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) where he continues to serve as co-chair of NAPABA’s Judiciary and Executive Nominations and Appointments Committee.

“I’m honored to receive this award, especially among friends and trusted colleagues with whom we have worked to advance racial and social equity over the years,” said John C. Yang. “I’m grateful every day to lead an organization that combats hate and xenophobia, advocates for a more humane immigration system, and ensures that Asian Americans are included in advocacy, public policy, and media. Thank you to the American Bar Association for this distinguished honor.”

Learn more and see the full list of awardees: https://www.americanbar.org/news/abanews/aba-news-archives/2020/11/american-bar-association-announces-2021-spirit-of-excellence-awa/