AABANY Members and Friends Cheer on the Mets at Citi Field

On Friday, June 14, 2019, AABANY’s Membership and Bankruptcy Committees co-sponsored a Mets Game outing with members, friends, and family at Citi Field.

We took up two rows of seats in the upper decks, with an expansive view of the stadium from left field. It was a beautiful (but slightly chilly and windy) late spring night for a game. The Mets played the Cleveland Indians, and we all got free t-shirts, but no one was sure whose face was on it. Our crowd included both fans and non-fans, and some very young future fans.

Thanks to everyone who came out to the ball game. The Membership Committee has already lined up an outing at Yankee Stadium in August, and we hope to see you there. Stay tuned for details.

PRESS RELEASE: THE ASIAN AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK, THE KOREAN AMERICAN LAWYERS ASSOCIATION OF GREATER NEW YORK, THE SOUTH ASIAN BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK AND THE FILIPINO AMERICAN LAWYERS ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK URGE INCLUSION OF ALL VOICES IN SPECIALIZED HIGH SCHOOLS LEGISLATION

NEW YORK, June 19, 2019 – The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”), the Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York (“KALAGNY”), the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY) and the Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York (“FALA New York”) condemn the process by which New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio formulated his plan to reform admissions to the city’s specialized high schools because he has shut out Asian American leaders and organizations from any meaningful participation.  We believe that any legislation with such wide-ranging impact on all communities should not be permitted to move forward when the process by which it has been advanced to the legislature has been marked by excluding the voices of the Asian American community.

In June 2018, Mayor de Blasio announced his support for New York State Assembly Bill A2173 which calls for eliminating the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT), to be replaced by a new selection process.  He did so without seeking any input from the Asian American community or any of the New York Asian American elected officials at the Federal, State, or local levels. We are deeply concerned, because we believe this exclusionary process illustrates how the current debate has largely ignored and dismissed the reality that Asian Americans also face racial discrimination.

Asian Americans currently make up more than 60% of enrollment in the specialized high schools.  Pronouncing that the specialized high schools had a “diversity” problem,” Mayor de Blasio’s rhetoric problematically casts the Asian American populations in these schools as a problem that needs to be fixed and ignores the incredible diversity that exists at the schools.  

In March 2019, the Mayor recognized that his rollout was flawed and that he “wish[es] he had done it better,” promising to meet with Asian American community leaders.  That meeting finally took place three months later, on June 13, with less than a week left in the State legislative session. Even though the Mayor finally apologized to the Asian American community at that meeting, Assembly Bill A2173 continues to move forward in Albany.

We recognize that the proposed elimination of the SHSAT is a divisive issue, even within the Asian American community.  AABANY proudly led public discussions on this issue, hosting a community forum in Flushing in 2014, another forum in Manhattan in 2015 and a documentary film screening about the SHSAT called “Tested” in 2015. AABANY used these opportunities to engage speakers on opposing sides of the debate in an effort to educate the public on the differing viewpoints, including those within the Asian American communities, on SHSAT reforms.   

The Asian American community is not monolithic.  We celebrate both the diversity within the Asian American community and the diversity Asian Americans bring to American society.  We fully support improving access to quality education for all. We are invested in true diversity, one that does not envision a small pie that must be divided among competing groups.  We support building more specialized high schools and the revival of gifted and talented programs in every elementary and middle school. We support city funded SHSAT test prep for any student that wants to take it.

Given the flawed process that produced the Mayor’s plan, we oppose New York State Assembly Bill A2173.  We call upon the Mayor to withdraw his current plan and provide Asian Americans a seat at the table to develop a new plan for the specialized high schools that benefits from having all stakeholders heard and represented in developing legislation on the vital issue of a fair, equitable and diverse public education system for all.

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The Asian American Bar Association of New York is a professional membership organization of attorneys concerned with issues affecting the Asian Pacific American community. Incorporated in 1989, AABANY seeks not only to encourage the professional growth of its members but also to advocate for the Asian Pacific American community as a whole. AABANY is a New York regional affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).

The Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York (KALAGNY) is a professional membership organization of attorneys and law students engaged with the issues affecting the Korean American community in Greater New York.  Incorporated in 1986, KALAGNY seeks to encourage the professional growth of its members as well as provide legal support for the Korean American community.

Founded in 1996, the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY) is an organization of South Asian attorneys practicing in the New York City metropolitan region. The mission of the SABANY is to enhance the professional development of the South Asian legal community and act as a resource to the South Asian community at large by increasing access to justice, upholding the rule of law and improving our justice system.

FALA New York was formally organized in 2015 in New York as a not-for-profit corporation to represent the interests of New York Filipino American attorneys, judges, law professors, legal professionals, legal assistants or paralegals and law students. The mission of FALA New York is to promote the vibrant Filipino American legal community in New York by connecting Filipino American attorneys in order to share our experiences and expertise and to explore issues, cases and laws that affect the Filipino American community.

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Early Bird Registration for NAPABA Convention 2019 Now Open

Registration for the 2019 NAPABA Convention is now open! Join NAPABA in Austin, TX, Nov. 7-10, as NAPABA celebrates its 31st anniversary. Register before Aug. 25 to take advantage of NAPABA’s early bird rates. Make sure your NAPABA membership is current for even more savings!

Book Your Hotel

NAPABA offers a room block at the JW Marriott Austin! Take advantage of the $269/night discounted room rate.

Apply for a Scholarship

NAPABA offers scholarships to defray the cost of Convention. Learn more about NAPABA’s scholarships and apply today!

To register and learn more about the NAPABA Convention, please click here. To renew your membership or become a member, please click here.

IP Committee Summer Mixer

On Thursday, June 13, 2019, AABANY’s Intellectual Property Committee hosted a Summer Mixer at Gu Japanese Fusion Sushi & Bar on East 52nd Street.

IP lawyers, law students, AABANY members, and non-members gathered together to share appetizers of agedashi tofu, karaage, and shrimp tempura at the back of the busy izakaya. The special rolls included ones amusingly named Spicy Girl, Dinosaur, and Dancing Eel—alongside the usual American staple of the California roll.  

Under the restaurant’s blue light, beads of ikura gleamed as members whose practices focus on different areas of IP exchanged lively stories about their work. One attendee shared a little on his background as an electrical engineer prior to entering the legal field. Another remarked that it was her first AABANY event—she wanted to know more about the organization’s work. Wooden trays of special rolls were fluidly passed up and down the table as members enjoyed the meal and company.

Among the varied topics discussed were the Avengers: Endgame’s conclusion, Huawei, Midtown’s Jollibee location, as well as deeper discussions about diversity, identity, and community. Ideas for future events were discussed—potentially including paintballing—and the Intellectual Property Committee is looking forward to hosting them over the next few months. Stay tuned for more!

Thank you to the IP Committee Co-Chairs Jeff Mok, Ben Hsing, and Greg Pan for organizing June’s IP Summer Mixer! To learn more about the IP Committee and how you can get involved, visit the Committee’s webpage here.

Congratulations to Brian Song on Being Honored by the Network of Bar Leaders

On Wednesday, June 12, the Network of Bar Leaders held its Presidents’ Dinner, a gathering to honor the Presidents of the Network of Bar Leaders’ member bar associations. The dinner was held at the Golden Unicorn in Chinatown, and AABANY was proud to be a Gold Sponsor at the event.

The program kicked off with opening remarks from New York State Attorney General Letitia James. Then, Hon. George B. Daniels, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, was honored, followed by his presentation of a keynote speech. As a multi-course banquet was served, some thirty-five Presidents from the Network of Bar Leaders’ member associations lined up to be presented with the President’s Awards by Hon. Jeffrey K. Oing, Justice of the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department.

AABANY congratulates its President Brian Song and all the Network of Bar Leaders’ member association Presidents who were honored and recognized at the Presidents’ Dinner. Many AABANY Board Officers and Directors and Committee Chairs were in attendance to celebrate with Brian Song and other bar association Presidents and leaders in attendance.

Photo courtesy of Network of Bar Leaders

We also congratulate Network of Bar Leaders President Bridgette Ahn on this highly successful event. To learn more about the Network of Bar Leaders, visit https://www.networkofbarleaders.org/ . For more photos from the event, see the Network of Bar Leaders’ album at https://photos.app.goo.gl/xyoR66SUX78UEDTL9

Thank You to our June Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

June’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic, held on Wednesday, June 12 at 33 Bowery Street in Confucius Plaza, brought out 12 lawyers and 11 interpreters who volunteered their time to help 34 clients.

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 June Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

Lawyers:

Gaye L. Chun

Peter Bartlett Wu

Eun Hye (Grace) Lee

Yan Sin

Kelly Diep

Alex Tran

Miae Woo

Soichiro Ishita

Annie Tsao

Satoshi Kurita

Mayumi Cindy Iijima

Francis Chin

Interpreters:

Yuchen (Fiona) Zheng

Alva Lin

Ming Li

Tianlin Liu

Teresa Wai Yee Yeung

Fiona Zhang

Limeng (Charles) Tan

Justina Chen

Xiaoshi Zhang

Angela Cheung

Kenny Moy

Special thanks to Coordinator Johnny Thach, Vice Chair Kwok Kei Ng, and Vice Chair Zhixian Liu for coordinating the clinic, and the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee Co-Chairs Pauline Yeung-Ha, Ming Chu Lee, Karen Kithan Yau, Asako Aiba, and Judy Lee for their leadership.

AABANY’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic occurs every second Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. The next clinic will take place on July 10, 2019. If you are interested in volunteering at future Pro Bono Clinics, please contact Asako Aiba at [email protected]

In the News: AABANY Co-Sponsors Reenactment of Supreme Court Cases Ozawa & Thind

On May 23, 2019 AABANY co-sponsored a reenactment of the Supreme Court cases Takao Ozawa v. United States (1922) and United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923) in the Ceremonial Courtroom at 225 Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn. The two historical cases describe the exclusionary immigration policies that prevented Asian immigrants from becoming naturalized citizens. The reenactment scripts were written by longtime AABANY members Kathy Hirata Chin and her husband, the Hon. Denny Chin. The event was jointly sponsored by the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY) and was held in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, during the month of May. The event was covered by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported on the history of these reenactments, “The Chins began writing and performing these reenactments 12 years ago, and every year they create a new performance based on a different case. Judge Chin explained that they look for cases of importance historically and that still resonate today.”

To read the full article, please click here.

AABANY Hosts its Third Annual Judges’ Reception in Celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

On Thursday, May 30, 2019, AABANY’s Judiciary Committee hosted its third annual Judges’ Reception at the Surrogate’s Courthouse, 31 Chambers Street. The reception honored newly inducted, elevated and retiring judges in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

The honorees recognized at the event were individuals who represent the significant strides that Asian Pacific Americans have achieved, as well as the ongoing fight for diversity within our leading institutions.

New York State Senator John C. Liu was slated to be the keynote speaker for the reception, but due to pressing matters in Albany he was not able to attend. The Honorable Phillip Hom, Civil Court of the City of New York, delivered remarks on his behalf. Judge Hom is a friend of Senator John C. Liu from their days at Bronx High School of Science and Binghamton University. Judge Hom also served as the Chief of Staff of then-Councilman John C. Liu from 2002-2005.

At the reception, the following judges were honored:

Hon. Shahabuddeen Ally
Hon. Karen Cortes
Hon. Shorab Ibrahim
Hon. Donald Leo
Hon. Ushir Pandit-Durant
Hon. John Zhuo Wang
Hon. Wendy Changyong Li
Hon. Archana Rao
Hon. Lillian Wan
Hon. Karen Bacdayan
Hon. Michael H. Park

All the honorees are Asian Pacific Americans Judges who were recently inducted to the bench or elevated in New York. To learn more about them and to read our press release for the event, click here. To learn more about the Judiciary Committee and to reach its co-chairs, go here: http://www.aabany.org/?page=115.

Following the awards ceremony, all attendees enjoyed catching up with each other or making new connections, over delicious food and dessert catered by Nom Wah and Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.

We thank everyone that braved the rain to make this year’s reception another successful one.

Thanks to AABANY Legal Intern Katy Kim for providing the photos for this blog post.

NYC Family Justice Center, Manhattan (MFJC): Core I Training, June 2019

The NYC Family Justice Center, Manhattan is excited to announce their next round of CORE I trainings. The CORE training series is a learning opportunity for service providers, community leaders, and city agency staff who are working with populations directly or indirectly affected by intimate partner violence, sex trafficking, and/or elder abuse. Please follow the link here for training dates and times.

All CORE trainings listed are free and will take place at the Manhattan FJC, 80 Centre Street, 5th Floor Training Room, Manhattan, 10013. Once the CORE training is no longer listed or available to select, it has reached maximum capacity of participants. For more information, contact Indhira Castro at [email protected].