NAPABA Honors President and Executive Director John C. Yang with Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award

Award is given to those who have demonstrated courage and tenacity that have resulted in substantial and lasting contributions to the AAPI legal profession.
For Immediate Release
Mary Tablante 202-296-2300, ext. 0114

Washington, D.C.—The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) announced that they will award one of its Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Awards to Advancing Justice | AAJC’s President and Executive Director John C. Yang. The award is given to those who have demonstrated vision, courage, and tenacity that have resulted in substantial and lasting contributions to the AAPI legal profession as well as the broader AAPI community.

“John is more than deserving of this distinguished award, which is NAPABA’s highest honor,” said Advancing Justice | AAJC Board Chair Parkin Lee. “John’s long and storied career, which has seen him in the partnership at a major law firm, as the Legal Director of the Asia-Pacific operations of a major U.S. corporation, in a senior leadership position within the U.S. Department of Commerce, and now as President and Executive Director of Advancing Justice | AAJC, all while providing incredible leadership and mentorship within the Asian American community, exemplifies the values and achievements which NAPABA’s Trailblazer Award seeks to honor and recognize. In his role at Advancing Justice | AAJC, John has stepped up in the face of anti-Asian hate to educate and advocate for our community across all sectors, from speaking up in national media and in Congress to making time to speak to countless organizations. In addition, Advancing Justice | AAJC has grown tremendously under his helm. Though the work has always been vital, the dual pandemics of Covid-19 and the increased racism directed toward our communities brought to the forefront the urgent need to provide additional resources for those who need it most. John has truly stepped up to that challenge and continues to fight for the most vulnerable.”

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 NAPABA, where he continues to serve as co-chair of NAPABA’s Judiciary and Executive Nominations and Appointments Committee.

“I am honored to receive this award from an organization I have had the privilege to be closely involved with over the years and have the utmost respect for,” said John C. Yang. “NAPABA and Advancing Justice | AAJC’s work both have been instrumental in uplifting the AAPI community, especially during these difficult times. I am grateful to be recognized in this space and am committed to the continued work and vision of building an equitable society for all.”

NAPABA has also recognized the tremendous achievements and contributions of Advancing Justice | AAJC’s Board Vice-Chair, Gina Shishima, with another of its Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Awards. Gina Shishima has risen to the highest levels of management at her law firm while remaining fully committed to supporting and advancing the Asian American community.  We are proud to have the benefit of her leadership and her vision, and to have her honored by the Asian American legal community.