Living Legend Karen Korematsu and Noted Civil Rights Philanthropist Paul W. Lee Receive Special Honor At 2019 American Courage Awards

Asian Americans Advancing Justice| AAJC Will Bestow President’s Award to Korematsu and Lee
For Immediate Release
Michelle Boykins 202-296-2300, ext. 0144

Washington D.C. — Advancing Justice | AAJC (Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC) announced today it will honor two powerhouses in the civil rights community, Karen Korematsu and Paul Lee, at its 2019 American Courage Awards on October 3rd at the National Press Club. The American Courage Awards is an annual event honoring individuals, groups, or corporations for their extraordinary commitment to the cause of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) civil and human rights.

Living legend Karen Korematsu will be presented with the President’s Award for her leadership in the Asian American community. She is a civil rights advocate, educator, and public speaker. The daughter of the late civil rights activist, Fred Korematsu, Karen has dedicated her life to carrying her father’s legacy.  In 2009, she established the Fred T. Korematsu Institute to advance racial equity, social justice and human rights for all. She travels the country speaking to a wide range of audiences to promote Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution on January 30th. We are proud to have her serve on our Board of Directors and see her inspiring the next generation of Asian American leaders.

“Karen Korematsu is an undeniable icon in the community and her desire to make the world a better place for everybody is infectious,” said John C. Yang, president and executive director of Advancing Justice | AAJC. “Speaking up for the civil rights of Asian Americans courses through her bloodline and we are proud to applaud Karen as she continues her late father’s legacy.”

While every community needs its vocal champions like Karen Korematsu, it also needs philanthropists like Paul Lee who strongly supports civil rights efforts without any fanfare. Paul is the personification of what it means to lead by example. As the immediate past chair of Advancing Justice | AAJC’s Board of Directors, he has been a champion for the Advancing Justice | AAJC organization and within the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. His commitment to serving the Asian American community has spanned nearly four decades, challenging and inspiring countless individuals to give back to the community. As a President’s Award honoree, we are recognizing Paul for his efforts to bring about diversity within the legal arena.

“Paul understands that lawyers have a special role in society, and that part of that role is to pay it forward,” said John C. Yang, president and executive director of Advancing Justice | AAJC.  “For Paul it is not only about personal giving, but also about inspiring others to join him in making sure that lawyers continue to give back to the community.”

Paul epitomizes the meaningful verse “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required.” His work has opened doors for Asian Americans and more specifically, Asian American lawyers across the country.

Karen Korematsu and Paul Lee will join the 2019 American Courage Award honoree, former Advancing Justice | AAJC president and executive director, Karen Narasaki, and the student advocates supporting affirmative action in the Harvard case who will receive the Changemaker award. All honorees will be celebrated on October 3, 2019 at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C.