The Work We Do*

In D.C., “observing the speed limit” merely entails seeing the sign as you whoosh by it going at least 10 mph over the number on the board.


I’ve yet to talk about the work that I’ve been doing since I got out here, which is a bit of a disservice to you guys back home who have asked me. Thing is – it’s kind of hard to explain in one big chunk. So here’s my best shot.

I have been working with the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center. The APALRC is both a law firm and just what the name implies – a legal resource center that provides direct services to the low-income, Asian Pacific American community here in Washington, D.C. The kinds of cases that the firm deals with range from domestic violence to immigration to human trafficking to tenants’ rights.

At the same time, the LRC does community outreach and organizing, which is where I come in! 🙂 The LRC has a strong base in metropolitan D.C. However, recently, they opened an office in Maryland, where their jurisdiction is still valid but their network is not as developed. So my job is to conduct outreach in Montgomery County (which is HUGE) to develop, create, and solidify relationships with other legal firms, community organizations, and faith-based organizations within the county.

Montgomery County itself is bigger than some states in population, like New Hampshire. Its population has almost reached 1 million. Of those 1 million, 28% are foreign born. Almost 50% of those foreign-born immigrants are Asian.

My role here is to serve this organization and expand its reach into Maryland so that the community here can be aware of its legal resources.

In order to do so, I get to do awesome stuff like represent the APALRC, which is quite well known and kickass in the APA community if I do say so myself, at conferences like the one I went to today in Annapolis. It’s not a typical 9 to 5 job because I’m on the go most of the time. And the staff is less like a staff, more like a family.


Homesickness still comes in waves, but for now it’s at low tide. Believe it or not, a cathartic moment came to me while re-watching Ratatouille. The words were spoken by Chef Gusteau himself: “If you focus on what you left behind. You will never be able to see what lies ahead.”

*The opinions expressed in this entry are solely my own and do not reflect those of the APALRC.


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