Transforming education, research, community service and the arts as they relate to Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
In March 1983, Chol Soo Lee, a death row inmate, was freed from prison – 10 years after his wrongful arrest and conviction for a Chinatown gang killing. His release marked a victory for an early Asian American movement that started in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The UCLA Asian American Studies Center (AASC) marked that moment 30 years later, co-sponsoring a commemoration for an audience that included original Free Soo Lee protestors as well as current students who were learning about this story for the first time. In December 2013, participants joined together to reflect on this important part of Asian American history and how Lee’s case is still relevant today. The event is just one example of the many ways the AASC provides nuanced perspectives on how the American public views and acts toward Asian Americans. Since its founding in 1969, the AASC has helped create a broad knowledge of the diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander experience through research, leadership, and a commitment to making a difference in higher education in California and across the nation today.
From the start, AASC has been establishing partnerships, collaborations and exchanges with hundreds of public and private institutions across the nation and around the world. The center has played a critical role in developing Southern California’s infrastructure of social service agencies, civil rights organizations, museums, historical societies, media and cultural groups, and business associations that serve and represent the Asian American and Pacific Islander population. From large scale projects with research affiliates such as the UC Asian American and Pacific Islander Multicampus Policy Research Project to advancements in new fields of scholarship and teaching in ethnic studies, AASC is the leading center of its kind in the country.
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