Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC)




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2021):

Revenue: $39,299,452
Expenses: $10,063,435
Assets: $42,722,924


1991 1


  1. “Who We Are.” Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Accessed July 31, 2017.



John C. Yang

Board Chair:

Kim Tran

Budget (2022):

Revenue: $11,134,690

Expenses: $14,337,667

Assets: $40,616,946 1


  1. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC). 2022. Part I.

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The Asian Americans Advancing Justice—Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that was founded in 19911 by the Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, which was founded in 1972.23The organization has affiliates in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and, San Francisco.4 The various affiliates within AAJC advocate for affirmative action, voting rights, and engage in litigation on behalf of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.5 Each affiliate operates with separate staff, boards, and finances but each work together under the AAJC name.6


The Asian Law Caucus of San Francisco founded AAJC in 1991, which was initially formed itself in 1972.7 Over the next few decades AAJC expanded to Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Atlanta. The president of AAJC is John C. Yang. Mr. Yang is a former Senior Advisor for the U.S. Commerce Department’s East Asian Affairs division under the Obama administration.8


AAJC has several corporate sponsors including AT&T, BB&T, Comcast NBC Universal, Facebook, Google, McDonalds, NCTA, Nielsen, Northrop Grumman, Southwest, The Rockfeller Group, The Walt Disney Company, Verizon, and, Walmart.9AAJC is also supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation,10 the Proteus Fund,11 the Atlantic Philanthropies,12 the Denta Quest Foundation,13 the GAPABA Law Foundation,14 College Futures Foundation,15 and, the American Bar Association.16

Political Advocacy

In 2013, AAJC criticized Pottery Barn for selling Halloween costumes depicting a sushi chef and a kimono outfit. During a radio interview about the Halloween costume controversy, a representative with AAJC compared the selling of the Halloween costumes to “hate crimes” committed against Asian Americans in the United States.17 Pottery Barn later removed the costumes from its website and apologized after AAJC’s claim that the costumes were “culturally insensitive.”  Ling Woo Liu, director of communications for AAJC summarized the controversy by saying, “like other minorities, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are real people who cannot and should not be commodified as Halloween costumes.”18

In December of 2013, Monterey Park, California, faced threat of litigation from AAJC when a proposed ordinance would have required English lettering on business signs in the city. The ordinance was aimed at assisting emergency responders in identifying structures with foreign languages only on the exterior of a building. The proposed ordinance was later dropped.19

AAJC has also pushed for the federal government to not register trademarks containing allegedly offensive or derogatory terms, saying that First Amendment protections do not apply to such terms. In a prominent Supreme Court case titled Matal v. Tam, AAJC filed an amicus curiae brief arguing that a provision of the Lanham Act prohibiting “disparaging” trademarks should be upheld.20 Members of a band called “The Slants” (a derogatory term for Asian-descended people that the Asian-American band members hoped to neuter as a reclaimed slur) had been denied a trademark on the band’s name.21 AAJC wrote that while it “support[s] efforts to reclaim and re-appropriate derogatory terms […] socially progressive reclamation movements are not an excuse to open federal trademark registration to vile epithets.”22 The Supreme Court struck down the provision unanimously, ruling that it violated the First Amendment.23

In 2017, AAJC launched an online tracker of “hate crimes” against persons of Asian descent. AAJC said that it plans to share data from the tracker with the controversial Southern Poverty Law Center to, “raise awareness that hate incidents against AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) are not one-off incidents.”24

In 2024, it was reported by the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project that AAJC was one of several activist organizations cooperating with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to implement Executive Order 14019 “Promoting Access to Voting”, signed by President Joe Biden, in order to increase access to voting as well as get-out-the-vote (GOTV) initiatives. The plan included planned social media posts on key voting engagement dates, partnering with activist groups to develop content for said posts, and planning volunteer service training for USTR employees. Other activist groups involved include the Brennan Center for Justice and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). 25

2019 House Democrats Issues Conference

John Yang, president AAAJ, participated in a discussion titled “Out of Many We are One” at the 2019 House Democrats Issues Conference that took place in Washington, D.C. and Leesburg, VA in April 2019. Yang was joined by Nana Gyamfi, executive director of Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Mary Small, policy director of Detention Watch Network, and Fernando Garcia, executive director of Border Network for Human Rights. 26

Affirmative Action

In 1996, through a ballot initiative, California voters passed Proposition 209, which prohibited public institutions from considering race, sex, or ethnicity in admissions or other government services, seeking to end “affirmative action” in the state.27 AAJC has worked to reinstate affirmative action ever since the proposition passed in California. AAJC contends that affirmative action promotes equality, equal opportunity, and, helps keep colleges from discriminating against particular races. According to AAJC, in the absence of affirmative action college admissions officers could, “apply negative stereotypes based on cultural and racial biases.”28 In 2014, the Supreme Court of California upheld Proposition 209.29


John C. Yang is the president and executive director of the AAJC. Yang previously served as the board chair of the AAJC as well as its treasurer and was previously a member of its national advisory committee. In addition he is co-chair of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s (NAPABA) Judiciary and Executive Nominations & Appointments Committee (since 1998), a member of the Member, American Bar Association (ABA)’s House of Delegates (since 2008), and a board member for the ABA’s Rule of Law Initiative (since 2013). 30

Kim Tran is the board chair for the AAJC. She also serves as the head of HR legal for online software platform GitHub. She previously worked as a member of the corporate Legal External Affairs for technology company Microsoft, and was formerly president of the King County Bar Association in Washington state. 31


  1. “Who We Are.” Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  2. “About.” Legal Aid Association of California. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  3. “About.” Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  4. “Asian Americans Advancing Justice: Frequently Asked Questions.” AAJC. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  5. “Who We Are.” Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  6. “Asian Americans Advancing Justice: Frequently Asked Questions.” AAJC. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  7. “About.” Legal Aid Association of California. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  8. “Former Obama Advisor to Lead Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC.” AsAm News. February 10, 2017. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  9. “Corporate Alliance.” Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  10. “Invisibility hurts – addressing disaggregated data needs of small and marginalized Asian American communities in the Midwest (MI, IL and OH).” W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Accessed July 31, 2017.

    April 2015 – June 2017

  11. “Security & Rights Collaborative.” Grants for 2016 | Security & Rights Collaborative. Accessed July 30, 2017.
  12. “Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Asian Law Caucus | Atlantic Philanthropies.” The Atlantic Philanthropies. Accessed July 30, 2017.
  13. Leonard, Katie. “Delta Quest Foundation Launches Grassroots Engagement Initiative.” DentaQuest Foundation. April 16, 2015. Accessed July 30, 2017.
  14. GAPABA – Law Foundation. Accessed July 30, 2017.
  15. “Grants Database .” College Futures Foundation. Accessed July 30, 2017.
  16. “Justice Assistance Fund Program.” Justice Assistance Fund Program. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  17. “Civil rights activist explains objection to Pottery Barn Asian-inspired Halloween costumes.” October 29, 2013. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  18. “Pottery Barn apologizes, pulls ‘offensive’ Halloween costumes.” Fellowship of the Minds. October 29, 2013. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  19. Shyong, Frank. “Monterey Park drops plan for English signs amid community outcry.” Los Angeles Times. December 15, 2013. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  20. “Matal v. Tam.” SCOTUSblog. July 30, 2017. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  21. “Matal v. Tam.” SCOTUSblog. July 30, 2017. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  22. Egger, Stacey. “Is it Illegal to Be Rude? The Slants Succeed in Changing the Conversation about Hate Speech.” Acculturated. June 27, 2017. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  23. Hansen, Hugh. “Symposium: Most important free speech case in many years.” SCOTUSblog. June 22, 2017. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  24. Chen, Jenny J. “First-Ever Tracker Of Hate Crimes Against Asian-Americans Launched.” NPR. February 17, 2017. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  25. Lucas, Fred. “EXCLUSIVE: Here Are the Left-Wing Groups the White House Trade Office Is Scheming With to Get Out the Vote.” The Daily Signal, March 10, 2024.
  26. ”2019 Issues Conference (Brochure).” House Democrats. Accessed April 11, 2019. Available:
  27. “California Affirmative Action, Proposition 209 (1996).” Ballotpedia. Accessed July 31, 2017.,_Proposition_209_(1996).
  28. Fuchs, Chris. “More Than 150 Organizations Sign Letter for Affirmative Action Following Ivy League Complaint.” May 31, 2016. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  29. Murphy, Katy. “California’s affirmative action ban bolstered by Supreme Court ruling.” The Mercury News. August 12, 2016. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  30. “John C. Yang.” Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC). Accessed February 5, 2024.
  31. “Kim Tran.” Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC). Accessed February 5, 2024.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. John C. Yang
    President and Executive Director

Supported Movements

  1. Vote Early Day
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 1991

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2021 Dec Form 990 $39,299,452 $10,063,435 $42,722,924 $2,705,540 N $39,133,386 $46,000 $46,478 $488,180
    2020 Dec Form 990 $10,089,716 $4,912,837 $11,804,280 $995,798 N $10,004,292 $45,981 $36,199 $370,939 PDF
    2019 Dec Form 990 $3,326,297 $3,231,821 $6,109,975 $497,488 N $3,051,995 $263,109 $32,970 $361,867 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $4,454,304 $3,888,893 $5,932,947 $488,787 Y $4,428,175 $52,349 $23,684 $366,080 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $2,765,757 $3,121,510 $5,600,703 $656,398 N $2,717,340 $63,526 $22,013 $592,595 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $3,196,404 $3,835,163 $5,973,475 $715,816 N $3,228,246 $0 $21,371 $346,013 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $2,404,225 $3,280,282 $6,159,952 $298,230 N $2,390,290 $0 $7,482 $353,610 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $4,391,236 $3,147,277 $6,973,246 $150,565 N $4,356,747 $41,710 $1,879 $340,754 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $3,933,842 $3,510,064 $5,741,490 $162,952 N $3,911,590 $0 $1,424 $332,766 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $2,849,963 $4,365,773 $5,537,231 $382,267 N $2,847,784 $0 $848 $381,252 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $4,384,269 $4,013,747 $6,946,835 $275,984 N $4,404,390 $7,018 $2,463 $312,618 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC)

    1620 L ST NW STE 1050
    WASHINGTON, DC 20036-5660