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Staff Highlights: Richard Luong Shares How He Stays Engaged in the Public Interest Community Outside the Office

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Headshot of Richard Luong
Photo of Richard Luong

Equal Justice Works recently spoke with staff member Richard Luong, the Director of Institutional Advancement, about his advocacy supporting the Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community. Read more about Richard’s involvement below:

What brought you to Equal Justice Works?  

I’ve been a long-time admirer of Equal Justice Works, first learning about the organization when I was in law school. I began my career through a public interest Fellowship offered through my law school, where I was able to serve non-profit citizen groups in Pennsylvania and New York adversely effected by natural gas drilling in environmental litigation. I’ve also worked at Rising for Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit and have seen firsthand the impact that passionate legal advocates can have in a community. Whenever I’ve come across an Equal Justice Works Fellow or alum, I’m reminded of what incredible opportunities Equal Justice Works provides for attorneys to follow their passions, and so often return to the communities they call home to serve the people they know and care about most. I am super honored to play a part in making that all happen.   

Can you tell us a little about your work in your community apart from your role at Equal Justice Works? 

I serve on the Board of Vietnamese Boat People (VBP), a national non-profit with the mission of preserving the stories of the Vietnamese diaspora. Both of my parents are VBP refugees, and my work is really inspired by their courage and resilience. I lead the work on our Journeys Map, a digital platform that allows people to upload and plot locations of their journeys from Vietnam and gives the younger generation resources and guided instruction to facilitate intergenerational conversations.  

I also serve on the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s (NAPABA) Civil Rights Committee and recently was accepted into NAPABA’s leadership advancement program. Additionally, I serve as co-chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Middle Eastern (APIM) Advisory Board for my alma mater, the College of William and Mary. Through my work at both NAPABA and William and Mary, I seek to give a voice and address issues faced by those in the AANHPI communities.  

Finally, I have a huge passion for music and the arts, and co-founded the Contemporary Arts Network Foundation , with a close friend of mine, Asa Jackson. This organization is focused on helping to build and sustain careers in the arts for Virginians, with a focus on BIPOC communities.  

How does Equal Justice Works support your community-based advocacy outside of the workplace? 

Equal Justice Works has been incredibly supportive of my community-based advocacy outside of the workplace whether it’s providing flexibility for me to attend Board meetings and events of the organizations I’m involved with, providing me with personal professional development budgets to engage in meaningful learning opportunities, or backing my participation in conferences and convenings. There’s a great deal of synergy between my advocacy and involvement outside of the workplace and the organization’s mission. I’ve appreciated the support of my colleagues at every turn and am inspired by their involvement in their own communities as well.  

How did you get involved with legal organizations outside of your position like the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association? What role do they, and similar Associations play, in the legal field? 

NAPABA is an amazing resource for the AANHPI community, providing programming for attorneys, judges, and law students across the country. I’ll never forget the first NAPABA convening I went to and the overwhelming feeling of belonging. I am grateful to serve on their Civil Rights Committee, which addresses legislative and policy issues affecting the AANHPI community. I’m also excited to have been selected as a Fellow in their Leadership Advancement Program cohort for this year, which will bring together a group of about 20 attorneys from across the country and Canada to develop our leadership skills and styles.  

The role that NAPABA and other similar associations play such as the Hispanic National Bar Association, National Bar Association, National LGBTQ+ Bar Association, etc.is to give voice and representation to their constituents in every facet of the legal profession and build a supportive coalition for those in their community. They focus on increasing the pipeline of justice-minded attorneys, responding to emerging legal challenges, engaging with law school students to inspire a life-long commitment to service, and seek to advance justicefor their community members.  

To learn more about Richard’s advocacy, click here.

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