In this 7-part series, we’ll meet L.A.-based activists, religious leaders, musicians, journalists and others who help illustrate the deep connections and unique influence L.A.’s immigrant communities have around the world.
Vietnamese American lawyer and restaurateur
Luu-Ng works as an immigration and human rights lawyer. She also co-owns a pioneering Southeast Asian restaurant in L.A. In both jobs, Luu-Ng seeks to honor her family’s experience as refugees from Vietnam and celebrate LA’s immigrants.
Ethiopian American journalist
Wondimu, an exiled Ethiopian American journalist, is the founding director of TSEHAI Publishers. He seeks to fill a void in the U.S. book market by telling stories of Ethiopia and Africa that have been censored and erased in Western media.
Armenian American musician and activist
The grandchild of Armenian Genocide survivors, Tankian is best known as the lead vocalist for metal band System Of A Down. His outspoken political activism has made him a major player in Armenia’s politics today.
Ju Hui Judy Han
Korean American queer organizer and activist
Han was part of an early wave of queer Korean American organizers who took on homophobia within Korean evangelical Christian churches. As a UCLA academic, she studies South Korean protest movements.
Iranian American author and journalist
Sarshar, a reporter from Iran, moved to L.A. just before the Iranian Revolution. She’s become a leading broadcast journalist serving the Persian diaspora and a generous patron of local Iranian American art, culture and history.
Uighur activist and NASA engineer
Sidick, an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, is SoCal’s leading Uighur dissident. He’s calling attention to China’s genocidal policies targeting the mostly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority in their historic homeland, Xinjiang.
Naason Joaquin Garcia
Mexican religious leader
Garcia is the leader of La Luz Del Mundo, a Protestant religious movement from Guadalajara. One year ago, Garcia was arrested on charges of child molestation here in L.A., where he has lived on and off for nearly two decades.
Aaron Schrank covers religion, international affairs and the Southern California diaspora under a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation and with support from USC's Annenberg School of Journalism.