Karen Narasaki ’80


Karen K. Narasaki is a national authority on voting rights and redistricting, census, media diversity, immigration, and race relations. 

From 2014 – 2019, she served on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights where she helped to lead reports on Native Americans, students with disabilities, voting rights, police use of force, environmental justice, immigrant detention and the inequitable distribution of school funding. Named several times by Washingtonian Magazine as one of the 100 most powerful women in the nation’s capital, she was president/executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice/AAJC for almost 20 years where she helped to lead the successful effort to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act; defend federal affirmative action programs; expand federal hate crimes law to cover people with disabilities, LGBTQ individuals, and women; reduce the under count of households of color in the decennial census; and defend immigrant rights.

Karen also negotiated media diversity agreements with ABC, NBC, FOX and CBS and chaired the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition for over a decade, leading to an increase in Asian Americans and other people of color in television. Karen also served as Chair of Comcast NBCU’s Asian American Diversity Advisory Council; co-chair of Nielsen Corporation’s Asian American Diversity Advisory Council; and as a member of Walmart’s Diversity Advisory Council.

She was vice chair of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, chair of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, and a board member for Common Cause, Independent Sector, National Immigration Law Center and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law.

She also served on the U.S. Census Decennial Advisory Committee and the FCC’s Advisory Committee for Diversity in the Digital Age.

Ms. Narasaki’s work has garnered many recognitions, including the American Bar Association’s Spirit of Excellence Award, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Trailblazer Award, National Immigration Forum’s Heroes of the American Dream Award, MALDEF’s Excellence in Community Service Award, Congressional Black Caucus Chair’s Award and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Hubert H. Humphrey Award. 

Ms. Narasaki is a graduate, magna cum laude, of Yale University and Order of the Coif of the UCLA School of Law.

You May Also Be Interested In