John C. Yang is the president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC.
At Advancing Justice | AAJC, John leads the organization’s efforts to fight for civil rights and empower Asian Americans to create a more just America for all through public policy advocacy, education, and litigation. His extensive legal background enables Advancing Justice | AAJC to address systemic policies, programs, and legislative attempts to discriminate against and marginalize Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and other minority communities.
John has been a leader in the Asian American and Pacific Islander and broader civic community. In 1997, John co-founded the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the direct service legal needs of Asian Pacific Americans in the D.C. metropolitan area. He served as chair of the Asian American Justice Center (former name of Advancing Justice | AAJC) after serving as treasurer of the organization and as a member of its National Advisory Council. John was president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) from 2003 to 2004, and since 1998, he has served as Co-Chair of NAPABA’s Judiciary and Executive Nominations & Appointments Committee. In that capacity, he has worked extensively with the White House and the U.S. Senate in securing the nomination and confirmation of over 20 Asian American and Pacific Islander federal judges and numerous other Senate-confirmed Presidential appointments.
John’s other leadership positions have included: Member, American Bar Association House of Delegates (2008–present; Minority Caucus Chair, 2014–16); Board Member, ABA Commission on Racial & Ethnic Diversity in the Legal Profession (2009–12); Advisory Committee on Pro Se Litigation for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (1998–2002); General Counsel, Organization of Chinese Americans (2000–02); Board Member, ABA Rule of Law Initiative (2013–present).
John is an experienced attorney with over two decades of policy, litigation, and corporate expertise. He served in the Obama Administration as Senior Advisor for Trade and Strategic Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he was the principal advisor to Secretary Penny Pritzker on issues related to Asia and worked with the White House and other U.S. agencies on strategic and economics issues concerning the region. Previously, John was a partner with a major Washington, D.C. law firm, and also worked in Shanghai, China for several years as the legal director for the Asia-Pacific operations of a U.S. Fortune 200 company.
John graduated with honors from George Washington University Law School, where he served on the George Washington Law Review and the Moot Court Board. Chambers USA recognized John as one of “America’s Leading Business Lawyers” and as a Washington, D.C. “Super Lawyer” by Law & Politics.
Articles, Publications, and Appearances
Television and Video Interviews and Appearances
- How Asian Americans really feel about affirmative action (MSNBC, The Cross Connection, January 29, 2022)
- Race in America: Allyship with NAACP LDF PResident & Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill & AAJC President John Yang (Washington Post Live, April 8, 2021)
- Hate crimes against Asian American continue to rise amid pandemic (CBS News, February 13, 2021)
From ‘Undocumented’ to Executive (Comcast Newsmakers, May 6, 2019)
Why family-based immigration has become a sticking point in the national debate (PBS NewsHour, February 22, 2018)
In the News and Op-eds
- Lunar New Year would become the 12th federal holiday under a bill before Congress (The Boston Globe, February 1, 2022)
- Anti-Asian hate crimes increased 339 percent nationwide last year, report says (NBC News, January 31, 2022)
- Community Conversations: “Stop Asian Hate” and the Fight for Change (Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2021)
- Advocates praise new White House actions to counter rising anti-Asian violence (Politico, March 30, 2021)
The coronavirus and the long history of using diseases to justify xenophobia (Washington Post, February 14, 2020)
Is Andrew Yang ‘reclaiming’ stereotypes with Asian jokes? Experts say not so much. (NBC News, November 20, 2019)
Keep our family immigration system out of Dream Act negotiations (The Hill Op-ed, January 18, 2018)