New York, NY — At the start of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) announced that Bethany Li will join the staff as its new legal director. She will litigate cases that have broad impact on Asian American communities, build AALDEF’s community lawyering model, work with pro bono attorneys, and provide leadership on advocacy and community outreach programs.
“Bethany’s approach to community lawyering and her experience as a litigator will strengthen AALDEF’s work in protecting the civil rights of Asian Americans,” said AALDEF executive director Margaret Fung.
Before joining the AALDEF staff, Li was the Asian Outreach Unit Director for Greater Boston Legal Services, where she supervised the Chinatown and Dorchester Anti-Displacement Project, the Southeast Asian Anti-Deportation Project, the Low Wage Worker Nail Salon Project, and other programs on behalf of tenants, immigrants, students, and voters. Li also served as the Robert M. Cover Fellow in Yale Law School’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic and an adjunct professor at CUNY-Hunter College. Li received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College with a B.A. in History.
Li’s career with AALDEF began over a decade ago, when she was an Equal Justice Works Fellow and then a staff attorney. “Bethany has consistently used her legal skills in service of civil rights and the Asian American community, and I am delighted that she is returning to AALDEF at this critical moment in the racial justice movement,” said Fung.
“I am excited to join the AALDEF staff at a time when the organization’s legal services, community education, and advocacy are urgently needed. With the rise in anti-Asian violence and harassment, it is especially important to protect the rights of immigrants and persons with limited English proficiency by addressing the root causes of structural racism. It is equally important to collaborate with other communities of color on common issues of concern. I look forward to being part of this next chapter in AALDEF’s storied history,” said Bethany Li, incoming Legal Director of AALDEF.
As Li leaves her current role at Greater Boston Legal Services, AALDEF will also create a partnership with the Asian Outreach Unit. The community lawyering approach that the programs share will deepen civil rights work and advocacy locally and nationally. Jacquelynne Bowman, the Executive Director of Greater Boston Legal Services, said, “This partnership will strengthen the voice of Asian American communities and further our commitment to eradicate poverty.”
Li begins her new role as the AALDEF legal director on May 2, 2022.
For additional information, contact:
Stuart J. Sia