Roland Hwang, a longtime adjunct instructor in Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies, will be honored with the Champion for Justice award by the State Bar of Michigan for his civil rights advocacy and teaching. He will be recognized by the State Bar of Michigan at its annual convention on September 21, 2016, in Grand Rapids.
Hwang began teaching a minicourse on “Asian Americans and the Law” in 1995, shortly after the launch of the program then called Asian Pacific American Studies, housed within LSAʻs Program in American Culture. The course has been offered continuously since then, and Hwang has since developed a 3-credit course called “Asian/Pacific Islander Americans and the Civil Rights Movement.”
From the outset, Hwang brought teams of colleagues into the classroom. Over the years, students have engaged with legions of community activists as co-instructors, including Ron Aramaki, Jim Shimoura, Toshi Shimoura (a Topaz camp internee) and Mary Kamidoi (a Rohwer camp internee) and Frances Kai-Hwa Wang (NBC News Asian America). Guest speakers in the class have included State Representative Stephanie Chang (an A/PIA Studies minor alumna) on affirmative action, and James Toy (founder of UM Spectrum Center in 1971) on the LGBT movement.
Hwangʻs teaching draws on his extensive experience as an Assistant Attorney General for the state of Michigan, from which he retired in 2015 after 27 years of service. More importantly, Hwang has served tirelessly as an activist and advocate on Asian/Pacific Islander Pacific Islander American issues. He is vice-president of American Citizens for Justice, the advocacy organization formed in response to the Vincent Chin murder case in Detroit in 1982. He is a past chair of the State Advisory Commission to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Hwang is also appointed to the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission.
Hwang holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan, and J.D. and LL.M. degrees from Wayne State University School of Law.