AABANY’s 11th Annual Holiday Party

On December 13, 2018, AABANY held its annual holiday party, this time at rent24, a co-working space near Bryant Park. We believe this might well have been the 11th annual holiday party.  The party started at 7 pm, after the space was converted from office space to a party space that we had all to ourselves for the duration of the event. We enjoyed cheese and crudite from Murray’s and Korean food from Woojirip. A professional bartender served and mixed a variety of beverages, including soft drinks, beer, wine, and whiskey. For dessert, we munched on an assortment of cupcakes, brownies and cookies from Whole Foods

The party was at full capacity, with over 140 people registered. We received a special visit from Andrew Yang, candidate for US President, who shared with the crowd why he was running. Also at the party was Pro Bono Committee Co-Chair Karen Yau, who appealed to the attendees to support the Pro Bono Clinic with a donation.

The party was scheduled to end at 9 pm but many stayed until 9:30 pm. Thanks to all who came. Check out some photos from the party at https://photos.app.goo.gl/AKxJP4jZ2Grh7oo5A

Special thanks to Charles Chen, VP of Programs and Operations, for finding the space, David Sohn, Membership Director, for handling food and beverages, and Margaret Langston, interns Katie Lee and Emma Li, and our volunteers for helping to staff the event

We wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season!

AABANY Prosecutors Committee Celebrates 10th Anniversary

On December 18, 2018, AABANY’s Prosecutors Committee held its 10th Annual Reception by honoring Bridget G. Brennan, Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York, and Jesse J. Sligh, Executive Assistant District Attorney, Queens County District Attorney’s Office, for their exemplary and established record of public service and their commitment to diversity and inclusion in the profession and the community.

Approximately 200 Prosecutors Committee members and guests filled the New York County Lawyers Association at 14 Vesey Street to capacity to celebrate this special anniversary event.  The evening featured numerous distinguished guests and speakers who provided congratulatory remarks to the Committee and the honorees.

Notable guests and speakers included:  

  • Darcel Clark, Bronx County DA
  • Michael McMahon, Richmond County DA
  • Madeline Singas, Nassau County DA
  • Cyrus Vance, New York County DA
  • Neil Corwin, Executive AUSA, US Attorney’ s Office, SDNY
  • Nancy Hoppock, Chief ADA, Kings County DA’s Office
  • Bridget Rohde, Chief AUSA, US Attorney’s Office, EDNY
  • John Ryan, Chief ADA, Queens County DA’s Office
  • Joe Alexis, Chief of Trials, Kings County DA’s Office
  • Catherine Christian, Special Assistant to the NY County DA for External Affairs
  • Diane Gujarati, Deputy Chief of Criminal Division, US Attorney’s Office, SDNY
  • Melinda Katz, Queens Borough President
  • Yang Chen, Executive Director, AABANY
  • Pamela Chen [Judge, US District Court, EDNY]
  • Dorothy Chin-Brandt [Retired Judge, Queens County Supreme Court]
  • Phyllis Chu [Judge, NY County Criminal Court]
  • Danny Chun [Judge, Kings County Supreme Court]
  • Ronald Hollie [Judge, Queens County Supreme Court]
  • Gilbert Hong [Judge, NY County Criminal Court]
  • Judy Kim [Judge, NY County Criminal Court]
  • Peggy Kuo [Judge, US District Court, EDNY]
  • Don Leo [Judge, Kings County Criminal Court]
  • Daniel Lewis [Judge, Queens County Supreme Court]
  • Kevin McGrath [Judge, NY County Criminal Court]

The Prosecutors Committee presented a 10-year retrospective slideshow reflecting on the birth and growth of this vibrant committee over the past decade.

This year’s reception also included a touching tribute in memory of Committee Co-Chair Helen Ahn, who passed unexpectedly in November. Helen’s parents and family were present to hear and receive the tributes from all the speakers and honorees.

AABANY thanks Prosecutors Committee co-chairs James Lin and Myongjae M. Yi for organizing the event, as well as Kin Ng, Catherine Christian, Francis Chin, Laura Badger, and the planning members for their assistance.  AABANY also thanks the New York County Lawyers Association for providing the beautiful venue for this special celebration.

AABANY congratulates the Prosecutors Committee on reaching its 10-year milestone and wishes it much success and growth in the coming years.  The Committee is comprised of current and former state and federal prosecutors. To learn more about the Committee go to https://www.aabany.org/page/73

Congratulations to Ushir Pandit-Durant on Her Historic Induction as Queens Supreme Court Justice

On December 21, the Hon. Ushir Pandit-Durant made history as the first South Asian judge elected to New York State Supreme Court in Queens and the first South Asian woman judge elected in New York State. Justice Pandit-Duran was sworn in by the Hon. Randall T. Eng (ret.), former Presiding Justice of the Second Department, New York State Appellate Division. Justice Eng was the first Asian American elected judge in New York State so it was especially fitting for one trailblazer in the Asian American community to swear in another trailblazer. Hon. Joseph Zayas, Administrative Judge of the Queens Supreme Court, Criminal Term, presided.

Justice Pandit-Duran began her career as a Prosecutor in the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, serving there with distinction for 25 years before being elected to New York City Civil Court in 2015, becoming the first South Asian to hold that elected office.

The induction took place at the Queens Supreme Court in Kew Gardens. Numerous speakers, including elected officials and community leaders, extolled Justice Pandit-Duran’s exemplification of the American Dream, coming here at age 10 not speaking a word of English and rising up to become a top prosecutor and now judge. As a South Asian, Justice Pandit-Durant reflects the diversity of Queens, one of the most diverse boroughs of New York City, with a large Asian population. Justice Pandit-Durant is herself a bar leader, having served as the first President of the South Asian Indo-Caribbean Bar Association of Queens.

AABANY congratulates Justice Pandit-Durant on her historic election and wishes her continued success and achievement as a Justice of the Supreme Court.

Congratulations to Hon. Peter Tom, Recipient of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Public Service Award

On November 30, 2018, Hon. Peter Tom of the Appellate Division, First Department, was presented with the Distinguished Public Service Award by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of the City of New York, at the Chamber’s 2018 Benefit Fundraising Dinner held at the Jing Fong restaurant. The event was attended by over 1,000 guests representing Chinatown’s businesses, family associations and community groups.

The Chinese Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1904 by Chinese businessmen in New York City and registered with the Imperial Chinese Government. This organization was formed to promote and support Chinese commerce and businesses in the Chinese communities. The Chinese Chamber of Commerce was incorporated in New York State in 1932.

The Chinese Chamber of Commerce Public Service Award recognizes Justice Tom’s contributions to New York State and the Asian American community. Please join AABANY in congratulating Justice Tom on this well-deserved award and honor.

Thank you to our December Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

December’s Monthly Pro Bono Legal Advice and Referral Clinic, held on Wednesday, December 12 at Asian Mutual Aid Group in lower Manhattan, brought out 16 lawyers, 7 interpreters, 2 logistics assistants, and 1 social worker. Together the volunteers helped 31 clients.

As you might know from a recent email to the AABANY membership, we are asking every member to actively support AABANY’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic by making donations that are vital to its continuing operation. In a few short years, with the tireless and generous assistance of our volunteers, we have helped hundreds of low-income clients with free legal advice and referrals to high-quality, culturally sensitive, and linguistically competent legal services. Together we have helped expand access to justice for underserved Asian American New Yorkers.

If you know family members, friends, or businesses, such as your firm, who would like to support the Clinic, please help us connect with them by contacting Karen Yau at [email protected]

Or please urge them to make a donation directly. They can visit the website of Asian American Law Fund of New York (AALFNY), AABANY’s 501(c)(3) affiliate: https://www.asianamericanlawfund.org/donate/ AALFNY is accepting charitable donations on the Clinic’s behalf and can issue any donor a tax receipt. Any contribution, large or small, would help. Please be sure to indicate in the memo field that the donation is intended for the Pro Bono Clinic.

Thank you to all of the December Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

Lawyers:

• Gaye L. Chun
• Wendy Li
• Soichiro Ishita
• Beatrice Leong
• Chris M. Kwok
• Eun Hye (Grace) Lee
• Zhixian (Jessie) Liu
• Francis Chin
• Wei Li
• Christopher Chin
• Sylvia Chin
• Lord Chester So
• Kwok Kei Ng
• Asako Aiba
• Judy Lee
• Pauline Yeung
• Karen Kithan Yau

Interpreters:

• Weiling Huang
• Emma Li
• Alva Lin
• Wai King
• Teresa Wai Yee Yeung
• Derek Ting-Che Tai
• Satoshi Kurita

Social Worker:

• Ann Hsu

Logistics Assistants:

• Johnny Thach
• Roger Chen

Special thanks to the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee Co-Chairs Karen Kithan Yau, Ming Chu (Judy) Lee, Asako Aiba, and Pauline Yeung for their leadership, and Executive Director Yang Chen and President James Cho for their support.

If you are interested in volunteering at next month’s Pro Bono Clinic on January 9, 2019, please contact Asako Aiba at [email protected] AABANY’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic occurs at 3 Bowery Street, New York, NY 10002 every second Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 PM.

NAPABA Submits Comment Opposing Proposed Public Charge Rule Targeting Immigrants

On Dec. 10, 2018, NAPABA submitted a public comment to the Department of Homeland Security to oppose the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds,” which expands the definition of “public charge” and targets legal immigration. The NPRM prevents the reunification of families, creates unnecessary burdens for entry, and adversely impacts the health and safety of immigrant communities. NAPABA thanks its affiliates and members who submitted comments to the Department of Homeland Security opposing the proposed regulations. 

AABANY submitted its comments opposing the proposed public charge rule. To read it go to https://blog.aabany.org/2018/12/26/aabany-comments-on-public-charge-rule/?preview_id=6369&preview_nonce=262c63a5d0&preview=true

AABANY Congratulates Honorable Shahabuddeen Ally on His Historic Induction

On December 20, 2018, wearing his signature bow tie, Shahabuddeen (Shah) Ally made history by being the first Muslim male and the first Indo-Caribbean to be elected to New York state court. In a packed court room at 111 Centre Street, family, friends and supporters of Shah Ally witnessed a lively, emotional and inspiring induction ceremony. This may very well have been the first judicial induction to feature South Asian drumming and dancing in the courtroom and curry at the reception.

Hon. Shahabuddeen Ally was sworn in by his wife, Hon. Alicea Elloras-Ally, as Judge of the New York City Civil Court, as their son, Ryan Elloras, and colleagues from the New York State bench and Manhattan Community Board 12 looked on with pride.

In his remarks, Judge Ally talked about his humble beginnings, which included immigrating to the United States from Guyana and growing up poor in the South Bronx, and how his induction is proof the “American Dream” is still alive and well. He thanked everyone that supported and stood by him to make his “American Dream” a reality.

The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) congratulates Hon. Shahabuddeen Ally on his induction to the Civil Court in New York County and all his well deserved success. We also thank Hon. Shahabuddeen Ally for recognizing AABANY and its Judiciary Committee at his induction.

In the News: Judge Pamela K. Chen Rules New York Ban on Nunchucks Unconstitutional

On December 14, 2018, AABANY member Judge Pamela K. Chen, of the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of New York, made news with her decision in Maloney v. Singas. Judge Chen held that a 44 year old New York state law banning nunchucks is unconstitutional. In her ruling, Judge Chen stated that the ban violated both the Second Amendment and State Constitutional right to bear arms.

Judge Chen noted, “The centuries-old history of nunchaku being used as defensive weapons strongly suggests their possession, like the possession of firearms, is at the core of the Second Amendment.”

To read the full New York Times article, go here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/19/nyregion/nunchuks-ban-overturned-new-york.html


To read the full decision, go here: https://reason.com/assets/db/15451588294642.pdf

Call for Nominations: Membership Director

AABANY thanks everyone who submitted nominations for the election taking place at the Annual Meeting scheduled for February 13, 2019. At this time, we have not received any nominations for the Officer position of Membership Director. If you are interested in applying for this position, please submit your nomination materials by no later than 5:00 PM on Friday, December 28.

As set forth in the Bylaws, section 5.4 (g):

The Membership Director shall: (i) receive and process applications or renewals of membership, and promptly notify acceptance or non-acceptance of the same; (ii) create and maintain accurate and up-to-date records of the membership of the Association, including categorizing the Members into their respective membership categories; (iii) maintain mailing addresses for each Member and person or organization doing business with the Association; (iv) advise members when their membership will expire and request renewal of the same; (v) at the request of the President or the Board, prepare a list of Members; and (vi) assist the other Officers in the performance of their respective duties and shall perform such other duties as may be prescribed by the Board or by the President.

The Membership Director is supported in the above functions by AABANY staff, and per the bylaws, section 6.05, “shall be the Chair of the Membership Committee.  The Membership Committee shall develop recommendations for programs and services that will meet the needs of the membership and encourage new Members to join the Association. The Membership Committee shall assist with the provision of general membership functions, such as application, renewal, and notice of expiration of membership.”

To apply for this Officer position, please submit:
(i) a statement of interest declaring your intent to run; and
(ii) a current resume, biography or CV listing your experience and accomplishments and any honors received to date.

As part of item (i), please indicate your experience with AABANY if you have been an active member, describing any activities that you have participated in or helped to organize. If you have not been an active member in AABANY, explain what capabilities, resources, talents, skills, expertise, experience or any other contributions the Membership Director. Please also identify any activities indicating a dedication and commitment to issues of importance to the Asian Pacific American community.

You may email your application in Word or PDF to [email protected]. You may fax your nomination to (718) 228-7206. If you wish to submit by regular mail, it must reach AABANY by no later than close of business, December 28, at the following address:

Best wishes for a happy holiday season!

AABANY Comments on Public Charge Rule

On December 7, 2018, AABANY submitted comments to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services in opposition to the rulemaking on Proposed Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds. AABANY wrote:

The Asian American Bar Association of New York believes that this rule change will cause irreparable harm to our community. Many of AABANY’s members are immigrants, or children of immigrants, and are personally impacted by this rule. The Proposed Rule changes the rules of the system in midstream and are directly intended to prevent immigrants from becoming American citizens.

To read the full text of the comments, click here.

AABANY thanks the Community Response Task Force of the Issues Committee for leading this effort on behalf of AABANY.