FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 22, 2022
MEDIA CONTACT: SF Public Defender’s Office | Valerie.Ibarra@sfgov.org | (628)249-7946
San Francisco Public Defender Announces the Hiring of Angela Chan, Long-time Immigrant Advocate for the Asian Law Caucus
SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju announced today that he has hired Angela Chan to join the leadership team of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. Ms. Chan previously was the policy director and a senior staff attorney managing the Criminal Justice Reform Program at Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus for over 15 years. Ms. Chan played a key role in writing and leading campaigns to pass sanctuary ordinances and laws throughout California, and also served on the San Francisco Police Commission. In her new role at the Public Defender’s Office, Ms. Chan has been appointed Chief of “Confront and Advocate” to lead and support the agency-wide strategy of confronting state-sponsored violence and advocating for community power.
“Ms. Chan’s tremendous leadership experience in San Francisco and across the state on issues related to both criminal justice and immigration will be a major asset to our office. She brings with her strong and deep connections to the Chinese American and other immigrant communities through her many years of dedication at Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, and importantly, she shares our commitment to challenging systemic inequality and injustice,” said Mr. Raju.
“It’s an honor to join Mr. Raju and the rest of the talented team at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, which has been on the national forefront of providing the highest quality of defense for community members for decades. I am inspired by the San Francisco Public Defender’s innovative community-centered programs that provide vital services to our communities, including record clearing, immigration defense, and youth programs. And I’m looking forward to drawing from their experiences serving community members impacted by the criminal system to advance policy reforms that move us towards a more just and equitable society,” said Ms. Chan.
Ms. Chan joining the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office brings her back full circle. When she began at the Asian Law Caucus as a Soros Justice Fellow in 2006, her project focused on partnering with the Youth Defender’s unit of the Public Defender’s Office to advocate for parents who are Limited English Proficient with youth in the juvenile system. Ms. Chan represented Chinese American parents to ensure they had equal access to justice, including assisting them with navigating the system and effectively advocating for their children.
Ms. Chan’s advocacy for immigrant families in the juvenile system led her to develop and lead successful campaigns to pass Sanctuary policies in San Francisco and statewide. She co-led campaigns to pass three ordinances that strengthened San Francisco’s Sanctuary Ordinance by ending the transfer of youth and adults by local law enforcement to ICE. She also co-founded the ICE out of CA statewide coalition to pass the TRUST Act, the TRUTH Act, and the CA Values Act at the state level to protect thousands of immigrants from being turned over to ICE by local law enforcement across the state every year. The transfer of immigrants to ICE has particularly impacted Southeast Asian refugees who have endured the trauma of fleeing genocide and war, resettlement in under-resourced and over-criminalized neighborhoods in the U.S., and then draconian prison sentences for mistakes made as youth.
Assemblymember Phil Ting said, “I was executive director for the Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus when Ms. Chan first joined as a law clerk and I applaud her 15 years of dedication to this community-based civil rights organization. I know Ms. Chan will continue to be a strong advocate for Asian American communities and our most vulnerable community members as she transitions to this new role in the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.”
Ms. Chan is the proud daughter of immigrants from Guangdong, China who immigrated to Portland, Oregon in the 1970’s where they ran a Chinese restaurant for over twenty-five years. Ms. Chan grew up working at the restaurant along with her brother and sister.