Advancing Justice | AAJC Welcomes Announces New NAPABA Law Foundation Community Law Fellow Gisela Perez Kusakawa

Kusakawa will expand Advancing Justice | AAJC's capacity to advocate for Asian American immigrant communities
For Immediate Release
Michelle Boykins 202-296-2300, ext. 0144

WASHINGTON— Advancing Justice | AAJC (Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC) welcomes today a new National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Law Foundation (NLF) Community Law Fellow, Gisela Perez Kusakawa.

“Gisela has demonstrated a deep commitment to serving immigrants within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community,” said John C. Yang, president and executive director of Advancing Justice | AAJC. “Already a leader among Asian American students, we look forward to her work in fighting for the rights of Asian American immigrant communities and becoming a future leader in the AAPI legal community. The NAPABA Law Foundation Community Law Fellowship is an excellent training ground for young attorneys and we are excited to have Gisela join our Advancing Justice | AAJC team. Advancing Justice | AAJC thanks the NAPABA Law Foundation for this opportunity.”

Kusakawa has served in several leadership roles in AAPI organizations in school, including as the Conference Chair of the National Asian Pacific American Law Student Association at the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Convention. She received her J.D. from The George Washington University Law School, where she received the Justice Thurgood Marshall Civil Liberties Award for her work in civil rights and public service. After receiving her degree, she clerked for the Honorable John M. Tran of the Fairfax Circuit Court, 19th Judicial Circuit. During law school, she worked as a student attorney with the GW Law Immigration Clinic where she won a grant of asylum for a client at the Arlington Immigration Court, and she interned with Farmworker Justice and a law firm specializing in the intersection of criminal and immigration law. She also previously worked with Advancing Justice | AAJC as an intern during the fall 2016 semester. 

“When you have the occasion to work for an organization the caliber of Advancing Justice | AAJC, you savor it and look for more opportunities to establish a deeper, more meaningful chance to serve the Asian American community,” said Gisela Perez Kusakawa. “I feel incredibly privileged to be able to work to protect and advance the rights of AAPIs and immigrants, and I am grateful to the NAPABA Law Foundation for the opportunity to serve the AAPI community through the NLF Community Law Fellowship.”

At Advancing Justice | AAJC, Kusakawa will work to challenge the ongoing criminalization of Asian immigrants across all sectors of our community. She will specifically address the government’s xenophobic scrutiny targeting Chinese and Chinese American students, scholars, and professionals, the dramatic increase in immigration enforcement against Southeast Asian refugee communities, and the targeting of Muslim and South Asian communities in a climate of ongoing Islamophobia. 

Kusakawa’s work will play an essential role in protecting the rights of Asian American immigrant communities in the face of increasing attacks from the current administration.

The NLF Community Law Fellowship Program was launched in 2004 to address the need for attorneys working on behalf of the Asian Pacific American populations. Recognizing that many obstacles prevent committed attorneys from practicing public interest law, including the shortage of entry-level jobs, the NLF Community Law Fellowship provides an opportunity for a new attorney to gain substantive experience at a nonprofit national or community-based organization.

Kusakawa’s fellowship with Advancing Justice | AAJC will span the next two years from August 2019 through August 2021.