On May 12, AABANY members participated in a re-enactment of “Justice Denied: Wards Cove Packing Co. v. Atonio,” at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP. The cast included Cadwalader Partner, Kathy Hirata Chin, who together with her husband, Hon. Denny Chin of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, spearheaded AABANY’s trial re-enactment project for the past nine years. Also in the cast were Cadwalader attorneys (and AABANY members) Lauren U.Y. Lee and Jessica Wong, as well as past NAPABA and AABANY President Andy Hahn, three past AABANY Presidents, Linda Lin, Clara Ohr and Yang Chen (also AABANY’s Executive Director). The role of Hon. Thomas Tang of the Ninth Circuit was played by Hon. Lorna Schofield, the first Filipino American Article III judge.
The Wards Cove re-enactment tells a story of racial discrimination in hiring, promotion and working conditions in the Alaska salmon canning industry. It recounts a long history of legal proceedings that ultimately led to defeat for the plaintiffs who sought to redress decades of discrimination against Asian American workers in the Wards Cove cannery. The case led to the United States Congress enacting the Civil Rights Act of 1991which partially overturned the Supreme Court’s rulings in Wards Cove. In doing so, however, Congress left in place an exemption that carved out the case from the reach of the Civil Rights Act, thereby denying the class represented in Wards Cove from enjoying the benefits of the legislation. To quote from the re-enactment Gloria Caoile, of the Philippine Heritage Foundation: “This is like saying everyone can sit in front of the bus except for Rosa Parks.”
It was a great honor and privilege to be joined at the re-enactment by the family of Abraham Arditi, counsel for plaintiffs in Wards Cove. (They appear in the group photo, in the far left.)
We thank Cadwalader and its Center for Diversity and Inclusion for once again hosting an AABANY trial re-enactment. We are also grateful for the wonderful reception afterwards, for all attendees, which included a wine-tasting to go along with the sumptuous food that was served.
To learn more about this trial re-enactment contact AABANY’s Executive Director, Yang Chen at [email protected]. The scripts for the first five
re-enactments can be found online at the AABANY Law Review website.