WASHINGTON — Asian Pacific American bars are deeply disturbed by the distribution of a second racist flyer targeting an Asian American candidate in New Jersey. The South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey (SABA-NJ), Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ), the New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association (NJMLA), the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the National Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (NAPALSA), and the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA) condemn the Hoboken flyers claiming that a turbaned Sikh-American mayoral candidate is a terrorist. “The Asian Pacific American legal community is disgusted by this racist attack that continues to promote a false association between religion and acts of terror. Associating a candidate, or anyone, with horrific criminal acts based solely on their appearance is racist and xenophobic,” said Pankit Doshi, NAPABA president.
This is the second time in less than a week that racist advertisements have attacked Asian-American candidates. “There is no place for this type of racism in our country, whose history is defined by the immigrant communities that have settled it. Our country’s diversity should be represented in our elected candidates. The candidate and voter intimidation in these flyers cannot be tolerated and should not discourage anyone from participating in the democratic process,” said SABA President Rishi Bagga.
As diverse bar associations, we will continue to stand up against racism and xenophobia in all its forms. This type of attack on diverse candidates seems to be on the upswing and cannot be allowed to become a part of the normal discourse.
The anonymous flyer targeted APALA-NJ and SABA-NJ member Ravi Bhalla, a Councilman in Hoboken who is running for Mayor of Hoboken and an attorney with Florio Perrucci Steinhardt and Fader, LLC, in Rochelle Park, New Jersey. His opponent has said that his original flyers were altered and has condemned the racist addition.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 50,000 attorneys and over 75 national, state, and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA engages in legislative and policy advocacy, promotes APA political leadership and political appointments, and builds coalitions within the legal profession and the community at large. NAPABA also serves as a resource for government agencies, members of Congress, and public service organizations about APAs in the legal profession, civil rights, and diversity in the courts.
NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.