Last Tuesday, I went to volunteer at my old internship Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center [APADRC] for it’s annual fundraiser called Conversity which honored two great womyn’s contribution to the API community! The 1st executive director who was coincidentally a UCLA alum. She also graduated with a Masters in Social Work from Columbia. The other honoree was a UCLA Law alum who practiced immigration law.
That night, I met the co-founder of the org, and I asked her, why she decided to open the [APA]‘DRC. She told me she did it because there were so many small claims court cases (i.e. tenant vs. landlord) that were unresolved and that communities like the Asian Pacific Islander communities could not resolve it because a) did not speak the English language or b) understand the legal language. So the 'DRC served as a way for these people to make the law more accessible to them. The 'DRC had come to fruition around the same time as the L.A. Riots and then undertook the platform of coalition building through building cross-cultural relationships. During that time, the primary focus was the strengthening of the Afro-Korean American relationships.
When I joined the 'DRC, I had no idea about this but I definitely felt fulfilled knowing we helped people. But after last Tuesday, I feel so comforted knowing that I interned for a place whose values so closely parallel mine. It has been a place where women have thrived and coalition has endured.
Today, the DRC continues to be a peacemaking organization through it’s Peer Mediation program at a middle school and high school. The kids made art work as part of our anti-bullying campaign. As you can see, some of them are TAL-ENT-ED.
I loved the people I interned with and I am truly proud to be a past APADRC intern.Public Interest, here I come.