Home » Hawaii human rights leader honored for work on immigrant justice
Featured Hawaii History News

Hawaii human rights leader honored for work on immigrant justice

Dozens of Hawaii community leaders gathered in downtown Honolulu Thursday to celebrate the 80th birthday of human rights advocate Dr. Amy Agbayani and honor her work to empower immigrants.

The Legal Clinic, which provides free legal services and resources to low-income immigrants in Hawaii, hosted a fundraising event at Cafe Julia and honored Agbayani with the Guardian of Immigrant Justice award. The award acknowledged Agbayani for “her long-standing record of civil rights and social justice advocacy on behalf of immigrants and other under-represented Hawaii residents” for more than 60 years.

Friends Judge William Domingo and actor Daniel Dae Kim were among those in attendance, along with several local lawmakers, who presented her with certificates of recognition.

The benefit raised more than $100,000 to fund The Legal Clinic’s programs, which include counseling, education and advocacy.

Born in the Philippines, Agbayani came to Hawaii in 1964 for an East-West Center fellowship and earned a doctorate in political science at UH Manoa. She co-founded “Operation Manong” in 1972, a program that paired UH student mentors with young Filipinos, many of whom were bullied in public schools. The program has since evolved into UH’s Office of Multicultural Student Services.

She went on to oversee diversity outreach programs for UH Manoa, and is an Emeritus Assistant Vice Chancellor for student diversity and equity. She serves on President Joe Biden’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. She’s served on several boards, including as former chair of the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission.

Agbayani will be a guest on HNN’s Sunrise Weekends this Sunday, April 16. The show airs 7-9 a.m. on K5 and is livestreamed online.

Source: Hawaii News Now