Korean Immigration​ Coalition Leader Steven Choi Honored

November 25, 2013

2013 Felix A. Fishman Awards for Progressive Advocacy Work

 Left to Right: McGregor Smyth, Executive Director of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI); Shena Elrington, Director of the Health Justice Program, NYLPI, who presented the award to Mr. Choi; Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition; Jonathan Westin, Executive Director of New York Communities for Change; Christina Giorgio, Staff Attorney, NYLPI, who presented the award to Jonathan Westin; Lawrence T Gresser, Board Chair-Elect, NYLPI. (Photo - Rick Kopstein)


Left to Right: McGregor Smyth, Executive Director of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI); Shena Elrington, Director of the Health Justice Program, NYLPI, who presented the award to Mr. Choi; Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition; Jonathan Westin, Executive Director of New York Communities for Change; Christina Giorgio, Staff Attorney, NYLPI, who presented the award to Jonathan Westin; Lawrence T Gresser, Board Chair-Elect, NYLPI. (Photo – Rick Kopstein)

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), a legal nonprofit that advocates for low-income New Yorkers, honored Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), and Jonathan Westin, executive director of New York Communities for Change (NYCC), at the 2013 Felix A. Fishman Awards Luncheon last week.

Both were recognized for their progressive advocacy work and commitment to helping others in need at the House of the Association of the New York City Bar.

The Felix A. Fishman Awards are given by NYLPI to two honorees every year―one community lawyer and one community advocate. The Henry & Lucy Moses Fund endowed these awards in honor of Felix A. Fishman, a former trustee and director who committed his life to helping others by using the law.

A talented trusts and estates lawyer whose work was guided by an unerring moral compass, Felix A. Fishman was a staunch believer in progressive ethical ideals and considered the capacity to care for others as the true barometer of a successful lawyer. Established in 2003, the Felix A. Fishman Awards has recognized 20 honorees to date, and will continue to honor those who serve the needs of their community.

As executive director of the NYIC, Steven has been an outstanding advocate on behalf of New York City’s immigrant communities. Prior to joining the New York Immigration Coalition, Steven was executive director at the MinKwon Center for Community Action (formerly YKASEC), a community-based organization in Flushing, Queens. Under his leadership, MinKwon played a lead role in building several powerful coalitions―including the 13% and Growing Coalition and the Asian American Community Coalition on Redistricting and Democracy―to represent New York’s Asian American community. Steven helped MinKwon triple in size and significantly raise its profile, leading to several feature articles in The New York Times and winning multiple awards for its work.

Previously, Steven was a staff attorney at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and has worked at a wide array of legal and Asian American organizations. He received a J.D. from Harvard Law School, an M.A. from the University of Hawai’i, and a B.A. from Stanford University in history with honors.

As the executive director of NYCC, Jonathan has been dedicated to improving the lives of New York City’s underserved communities. Jonathan began his organizing career working with homeowners in Southeast Queens at the height of the foreclosure crisis. Over years of community meetings and direct actions, his work resulted in the passage of one of the nation’s strongest anti-foreclosure laws in 2009. Since then, he has helped organize thousands of parents, students, teachers, immigrants, and low income communities all over New York State to demonstrate against a variety of issues, including: Mayor Bloomberg’s school closing efforts; proposed budget cuts that would have had a disproportionately deleterious impact on low income and immigrant communities; and most recently, the lack of a living wage for fast food workers.

About New York Lawyers for the Public Interest

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) advances equality and civil rights, with a focus on health justice, disability rights and environmental justice, through the power of community lawyering and partnerships with the private bar. Through community lawyering, NYLPI puts its legal, policy and community organizing expertise at the service of New York City communities and individuals. NYLPI’s partnership with the private bar strengthens its advocacy and connects community groups and nonprofits with critical legal assistance. NYLPI is the recipient of the 2010 New York Times Awards for Nonprofit Excellence.

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