On Thursday evening, Nov. 7, AABANY celebrated its 30th birthday at Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, just around the corner from the JW Marriott in Austin, Texas, at which the NAPABA Convention was taking place. AABANY members who were attending the Convention came out in force and brought friends from various affiliates from around the country. Over 60 attendees filled a section of one of the event rooms on the second floor. Among the attendees were members who were there at the start of AABANY, including Rocky Chin, Hon. Marilyn Go, Hon. Denny Chin (who served as President from 1992-93) and his wife Kathy Hirata Chin. Past Presidents Vincent Chang, James Chou, and Dwight Yoo also attended, as did current President Brian Song. Membership Director Beatrice Leong organized the celebration; she secured the venue and placed the food order, and she also ordered the cake. The authentic Texas barbecue fare was a big hit, and the cake came out with sparklers.
Thanks to all our members and friends for coming out to celebrate with us in Austin!
Congratulations to NAPABA on a successful National Convention in Austin, Texas. Affiliates from around the country gathered to celebrate with NAPABA at its 31st Anniverary Gala Dinner held on Saturday night, Nov. 9, in the Grand Ballroom of the JW Marriott in Austin. Comedian Sheng Wang hosted the evening, and the Keynote Speaker was Chef Kristen Kish, owner of Arlo Grey, in conversation with restaurant critic Soleil Ho. Congratulations also to all the honorees who were presented with awards at the Gala:
Military and Veteran Service Award – Capt Lia Mitoko Reynolds
APA Owned Law Firm Award – Willenken LLP
Law Firm Diversity Award – Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
Pro Bono Award – Karen King
Women’s Leadership Award – Debbie Shon
Presidents Award – Dale Ho
AABANY was honored to be presented with the Affiliate of the Year Award. Read more about that here.
AABANY members could be found filling a few tables at the Gala Dinner … but where was Executive Director Yang Chen? He was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict. That did not stop Membership Director Beatrice Leong from creating a cardboard version of our ED to attend the Gala and then join the AABANY group photo at the NAPABA Convention. Thank you, Beatrice!
On Saturday, November 9, 2019, AABANY was honored to be presented with NAPABA’s Affiliate of the Year award at NAPABA’s National Convention in Austin, Texas. AABANY was selected to receive this award for its best practices and accomplishments in our community.
President Brian Song accepted this honor at the Dinner Gala, but he did not do so alone. He called upon Board members, Past Presidents, and founders, including Rocky Chin, Hon. Marilyn Go (Ret.), and Sylvia Chin to join him on stage to accept the award together on behalf of everyone at AABANY.
For three decades now, AABANY has been working tirelessly to support Asian Americans in the legal profession in New York. It means a great deal for the hard work of AABANY’s Board Members and Committee Chairs, the dedication of our members, and AABANY’s commitment to the overall Asian American Community to be recognized.
We congratulate and thank our entire AABANY family and our sponsors for supporting our mission and bringing AABANY to this Point. As Executive Director Yang Chen said in the video played before the award was presented, “this award is for everyone at AABANY.” 2019 marks the second time that AABANY received the Affiliate of the Year Award. AABANY first received this honor in 2008.
On Friday, Nov. 8, during the Plenary Lunch Session at the NAPABA Convention in Austin, Texas, AABANY’s Trial Reenactment Team performed “Fred Korematsu and His Fight for Justice,” reenacting Korematsu v. United States. AABANY had performed an earlier version of this reenactment at the NAPABA Convention in Washington, DC, in 2017, to mark the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 which sent some 120,000 Japanese American citizens to internment camps without any due process. This year, to mark Fred Korematsu’s 100th birthday, AABANY’s Trial Reenactment Team performed an updated script which took into account the developments that occurred since 2017. The Korematsu case was nominally overruled in a footnote by Chief Justice Roberts in Trump v. Hawaii (2018), which upheld the Muslim Travel Ban in part. This reenactment included modifications that featured text from the majority and dissenting opinions in that case, and concluded with words from an Op-Ed written by Fred’s daughter Karen, lamenting that the United States Supreme Court had replaced one bad precedent with another.
This updated Korematsu reenactment was made special by the participation of new cast members, including Dale Minami, Don Tamaki, Peggy Nagae, and Hon. Edward Chen, members of the legal team that brought the coram nobis proceeding which overturned the wrongful conviction of Fred Korematsu. Dale, Don, Peggy, and Judge Chen played themselves. Also playing herself was Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, the United States District Court Judge who presided over the case. Karen Korematsu played herself and closed the show with moving and inspiring words from her June 28, 2018 New York Times Op-Ed article.
The 2019 Korematsu reenactment played to an audience of 900 at the NAPABA Convention Friday Plenary Lunch session, and it is easily the largest single audience for any AABANY Trial Reenactment. Judge Chin moderated a panel discussion about this case and its continuing relevance immediately after the lunch session, featuring a panel that included Don Tamaki, Dale Minami, Karen Narasaki, Hon. Marilyn Hall Patel, Hon. Edward Chen and Karen Korematsu.
Thanks to everyone who took part in performing in this historic reenactment, especially those who were part of Fred Korematsu’s Fight for Justice. We are grateful for the leadership of Kathy Hirata Chin and Hon. Denny Chin for leading AABANY’s Trial Reenactment Team. To learn more about AABANY’s Trial Reenactments, visit the reenactments website at reenactments.aabany.org.