The Historical Society of the New York Courts was founded in 2002 by then New York State Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye. Its mission is to preserve, protect and promote the legal history of New York, including the proud heritage of its courts and the development of the Rule of Law.
A first generation immigrant herself, Lin attempts to define what it means to be “Asian American,” noting that the term often groups a diverse collection of people into a single phrase. In actuality, she explains, there are a plethora of cultures, languages, religions, histories, and patterns of immigration within the umbrella term; perhaps what most strongly links Asian Americans to one another are the hardships they face.
“Asian Americans are often grouped together as an undifferentiated mass and many share the experience of being treated as perpetual foreigners who do not fully belong in America,” Lin writes. From the Bubonic Plague of the 1900s – when San Francisco’s Chinatown was quarantined – to the present day, when COVID-19 has propelled a new wave of anti-Asian xenophobia and racism, Asian Americans have historically faced people challenging their place in this country, Lin says.
The designation of May as Asian Pacific Islander American Heritage Month, then, is an homage to Asian Americans who often feel invisible. Lin explains that May was chosen to celebrate Asian American history to mark the anniversary of Japanese immigrants arriving in the US, and to acknowledge the contributions of Chinese workers in building the transcontinental railroad.
Lin embeds a powerful lesson in her article: Asian Americans will no longer accept being silenced, blamed, or overlooked. This month is only the first step on the journey ahead.
Thanks to Karen Lin for sharing these important thoughts on APA Heritage Month. To read the full blog post, click here.
On Wednesday, May 27, 2020, from 1 PM to 3 PM, the Asian American Federation will be hosting an Upstander Training workshop to address the ways that xenophobia and scapegoating since the COVID-19 outbreak continue to rise, most consistently against Asian communities.
Through a presentation and interactive break-out groups, participants will explore opportunities and strategies to be “upstanders” during the current moment and help disrupt this wave of anti-Asian bias through safety interventions, de-escalation tactics, and calling-in strategies.
On May 22, 2020, the Membership Committee hosted their weekly Zoom Mixer Membership Mixer, with 21 participants in attendance. The icebreaker question posed to the participants was “What song would be playing if you had to make an grand entrance?” Members named “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Game of Thrones” theme song, “Eye of the Tiger,” “Final Countdown,” K-Pop classics, “‘Law and Order” theme, “Juicy,” “Young, Scrappy and Hungry,” and more great songs.
This mixer featured AABANY Treasurer Will Hao, Alston & Bird Associate Will Lee, Pro Bono Committee Vice Chairs Karen King and Kwok Ng who gave members a preview of an upcoming COVID-19 small business relief community presentations.
The Membership Committee previously hosted Monthly Mixers at bars, ballparks, stadiums, operas, etc, but due to COVID, we are moving online to offer members a weekly outlet to share their feelings, see old friends, and make new connections. Mixers start at 6:30pm on Friday and the main event ends at 7:30pm but feel free to stay on after 7:30pm for smaller breakout groups.
We are giving away door prizes on some weeks. In order to win, you must be a member and must RSVP via the calendar entry on aabany.org to get a raffle number. Non-members can join the Zoom mixer but won’t be eligible to win a prize. Mixers are not recorded, and are LIVE, so don’t miss out.
This week we gave away a Hulu subscription – congratulations to Bryan Cheah for winning! Congratulations to Bryan also for graduating from Rutgers Law School, and we wish you the best of luck in preparing for the bar exam!
On Saturday, May 16, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) hosted its “Mandarin and Cantonese Community Webinar on Anti-Asian Violence,” part of a broader series aimed at addressing the rise in anti-Asian violence in light of COVID-19. The events focused on briefing individuals on how to defend themselves if an incident were to occur and also discussed relevant state laws that protect victims. The Mandarin webinar aired from 2:00-3:00 PM and the Cantonese webinar aired from 3:00-4:00 PM.
Guest speakers included moderator Kwok Kei Ng and representatives from the NYPD, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, and the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR).
William Kwok, Asian Liaison of the Immigrant Outreach Unit of the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau, discussed the practical measures by which individuals can protect themselves from immediate physical harm. Individuals are encouraged to run into public spaces such as stores or public spaces that may have police officers on duty. If they are able, victims are encouraged to call 911 or get bystanders to contact the police. There are translators on stand-by at the NYPD if needed. Most importantly, undocumented persons should not be afraid of calling the NYPD as officers are forbidden to inquire about a victim’s immigration status.
Additionally, Officer Kwok and Mr. Ng discussed specific provisions of the Hate Crimes laws that apply. New York Penal Law § 240.30-3 describes the elements of Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree, stating that the incident must reflect an intent to harass, annoy, threaten, or harm through physical force. New York Penal Law §485.05, the Hate Crime Law, enhances sentencing if the incident is proven to be bias-motivated. Victims and bystanders should be unafraid of reporting incidents to the authorities; any materials whether in the form of videos, audios, or testimonials can help secure a conviction. Officer Kwok and Mr. Ng presented in both the Mandarin and Cantonese webinars.
Lastly, Jiarui Li, an associate at Simpson Thacher and guest speaker for the Mandarin webinar, and Karen Yau, Co-Chair of the AABANY Pro Bono & Community Service Committee and guest speaker for the Cantonese webinar, discussed the various resources available to victims. Victims should contact the New York Office of Victim Services and the NYCCHR to see if they are eligible for compensation and legal assistance. Both New York City and New York State have dedicated Hate Crimes Task Forces that victims can contact. Victims residing in New Jersey or Connecticut can contact their own individual state Hate Crimes Task Forces.
The guest speakers reiterated the importance of reporting anti-Asian incidents to the police. Only by informing the relevant authorities can we adopt a preventative approach and stop bias incidents from occurring before individuals are harmed.
We thank the guest speakers for joining us and for their commitment to protecting the well-being of everyday New Yorkers. For more information on anti-Asian harassment and violence, email [email protected] or call our hotline at 516-690-7724.
On Sunday, May 17, 2020, the Pro Bono & Community Service Committee of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) hosted the Korean version of its webinar series, “Anti-Asian Violence and Hate Arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The presentation addressed the increase in violent incidents against Asians in the community and included a discussion of the rights that victims and bystanders have when a racially motivated confrontation occurs, as well as what actions rise to the level of a prosecutable offense.
The webinar featured moderator, Sean Dong Min Rhee, a Northeastern University law student, as well as two panelists: Kings County Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Pak and Naomi Jeehee Yang, an Associate at Paul Weiss.
During the presentation, Stephanie Pak explained what actions would constitute a hate crime (P.L. §240.30) and aggravated assault (P.L. §485.05) as set forth in New York Penal Law. She also gave examples of actions that would rise to a criminal level so that community members would be able to recognize incidents which they should report to law enforcement agencies or their local District Attorney’s office. Furthermore, Stephanie emphasized that when Korean victims are called Chinese during an assault, this does not invalidate the action from being prosecuted as a hate crime but rather makes the issue ripe for prosecution.
The other panelist, Naomi Jeehee Yang, shared information on who to contact during or after these incidents, as well as a few helpful tips that can help prosecutors and law enforcement. She stressed the importance of recording an incident because the evidence is often a key component in successfully prosecuting assailants. If this is not an option, it is important to call 911, as phone calls to police are recorded and can also be used as evidence during a criminal trial. Most importantly, Naomi spoke on the significance of reporting these anti-Asian episodes. If incidents are reported there will consequently be a more accurate number of cases in which Asians are being victimized in the community. This, in turn, increases the visibility of this issue and will spur action by government officials and policymakers – bringing about legislation or resources that can be helpful to the Asian community.
Thank you to our panelists, the excellent attorneys at Paul Weiss for their pro bono assistance, and our volunteers at the Pro Bono Committee for planning and organizing our Anti-Asian Violence and Hate Arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic webinars. We will have more community presentations on topics related to COVID-19 and its impact on the AAPI community this month. For more information on anti-Asian harassment and violence, email [email protected], call our hotline at 516-690-7724, and check out the resources that AABANY has compiled at https://www.aabany.org/page/covid19.
View the video of the webinar by clicking on the image above.
Hon. John Z. Wang, a proud member of AABANY, has launched his own campaign to run for New York City Civil Court in the First Municipal Court District, which covers Battery Park, Chinatown, FiDi, Greenwich Village, Soho, Tribeca, and Two Bridges. An active contributor to the Judiciary Committee of AABANY, Judge Wang has organized panels on how to become an appointed and elected judge in hopes of encouraging more Asian American and Pacific Islander lawyers to pursue this path. Now, he hopes to make his community proud by becoming the first Asian American Civil Court Judge elected to the First District.
Judge Wang immigrated to the United States at five years old and grew up in a predominantly working-class Italian American neighborhood in Brooklyn. As one of very few Asian Americans in his community, he recognized the dangers of racism and bigotry and the importance of respecting other cultures and races.
The Judge has devoted his entire career to public service. After graduating from Vassar College and Brooklyn Law School, he received a six-month fellowship to work at Legal Services, where he advocated for claimants of unemployment insurance. Subsequently, he served as a court attorney in Brooklyn Family Court and the Bronx and Manhattan Civil Courts, and clerked for Hon. Anthony Cannataro, a New York State Supreme Court Justice and the Administrative Judge of the New York City Civil Court. Last year, Judge Wang was appointed as a Brooklyn Housing Court Judge. In all his years serving in New York’s courts, he has also contributed to policy-making by helping to restructure parts of the Manhattan Civil Court.
Now, Judge Wang hopes to serve as the first Asian American Civil Court Judge elected to the First Judicial District. Judge Wang views the Civil Court as the people’s court–it serves everyday people with real, working-class issues. He is moved by the stories and individuals that these small claims and credit card disputes represent, and hopes to do his part to deliver justice to everyday people.
Judge Wang also maintains a reputation for treating individuals that come before him with dignity, compassion, and fairness. As the only sitting judge in this contested race, Judge Wang understands the weight of making difficult decisions regarding people’s livelihoods.
AABANY’s Judiciary Committee vetted Judge Wang for his appointment to Housing Court in 2017 and found him highly qualified and well-suited for the role. The Committee noted that “[t]he advocates and judges that encounter Mr. Wang in the courthouse uniformly praise his intellect, work ethic and demeanor.” After more than two years on the bench, Committee Co-Chair Will Wang (no relation) observed: “It is somewhat uncommon for a relatively recent judge to have published the number of opinions Judge Wang has published. To me, this demonstrates both Judge Wang’s work ethic and overall writing ability.”
Judge Wang believes he faces a tough but winnable campaign. The COVID-19 pandemic has created serious challenges, including uncertainty in voter turnout and participation, but he hopes that his experience working in Civil Court will inspire individuals to volunteer and vote for him.
In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, AABANY is proud to present “Fortune 500 General Counsel Panel: Leadership during Crisis” as part of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (“NAPABA”) General Counsel Webinar Series. The event will feature a panel of prominent General Counsels covering a wide variety of industries to discuss topics that range from advice to aspiring General Counsels, crisis management with a focus on the response to the pandemic, collaboration with the board and c-suite, demonstrating legal department value from a quantitative and qualitative perspective, leveraging legal technology, enhancing the compliance function, diversity and inclusion initiatives (internally and externally with outside counsel) and maximizing the value that outside counsel brings to companies. The panel will take place via Zoom on Thursday, May 21, from 4:30 to 6:00 PM.
Michael Wu. Michael currently serves as the Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary of Madewell. He sits on the advisory boards of the Georgetown Law Corporate Counsel Institute and AABANY. Michael is also a member of the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association Board of Directors. He has previously served as an executive and general counsel at companies including Carter’s, Rosetta Stone, Teleglobe, and Global One.
Damien Atkins. Damien currently serves as the General Counsel of the Hershey Company. He has previously served for three years as the General Counsel for Panasonic North America, for ten years as the Deputy GC (Corporate) and Chief Compliance Officer for AOL, and for seven years at a major New York City law firm. In addition, Damien has previously founded two start-ups. His expertise includes mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, securities regulation, global ethics and compliance, and government investigations.
Peter Beshar. Peter currently serves as the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Marsh & McLennan. Previously, he was a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and served as the Co-Chair of the firm’s Securities Litigation Group and had served as the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the New York State Attorney General’s Task Force on Illegal Firearms. Additionally, he has served as the Special Assistant to the Honorable Cyrus Vance in connection with the United Nations’ peace negotiations in the former Yugoslavia.
Elisa Garcia. Elisa currently serves as the Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel of Macy’s and serves on the Board of Directors and Nominating and Governance Committee of Dollarama, Inc. and the Board of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession. She has previously served as an executive for Office Depot, Domino’s Pizza, and Philip Morris International.
David Hyman. David currently serves as the General Counsel of Netflix and as the company’s Secretary. Prior to Netflix, David served as General Counsel of Webvan, Inc. and was with the law firms Morrison and Foerster in San Francisco and Arent Fox in Washington, DC.
Alan Tse. Alan currently serves as the Global Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary of JLL. Previously, Alan served as an executive for Petco, Churchill Downs, LG Electronics, Ligos Corporation, and Centerpoint Broadband Technologies. He is a co-founder and Board member of the Asian American Legal Foundation and has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Corporate Counsel from 2013-2019. Alan was recognized by NAPABA as one of its Best Lawyers Under 40 and received the Corporate Leadership Award at AABANY’s 2020 Annual Dinner.
David Yawman. David currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Government Affairs, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of PepsiCo. Previously, he served as the Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for PepsiCo and General Counsel for North America and Corporate, the Senior Vice President, Chief Compliance and Ethics Officer for PepsiCo, the General Counsel of business units comprised of North America Beverages, Quaker Foods North America and Latin America Beverages, the Associate General Counsel for the Pepsi Bottling Group, and had spent six years as a member of PepsiCo’s corporate law department. Prior to joining PepsiCo, Dave was an associate with the law firm Fried Frank and served as a law clerk in the United States District Court.
“AABANY is pleased to be co-sponsoring the NAPABA General Counsel webinar series,” states President Sapna Palla. “Each of the first two webcasts have already seen attendance by nearly 500 attorneys from all across the country. We are looking forward to a similar turnout for the one AABANY is presenting on May 21. We thank Michael Wu for organizing these webcasts and serving as moderator to guide the discussion on important topics of interest to attorneys across a broad range of industries and sectors. Through these programs, and as we celebrate APA Heritage Month in May, we continue to highlight the vital role played by diverse in-house attorneys in leading and advancing the legal profession.”
If interested, please register by May 20. Click on the flyer above for registration information.
The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) congratulates Won S. Shin, AABANY Board Director, on his recent promotion from an Assistant United States Attorney to Chief of Appeals at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Criminal Division, Southern District of New York.
Before his promotion, Won S. Shin served as an Assistant United States Attorney at the same office. In that role, Mr. Shin oversaw briefing and argument in criminal appeals in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and advised other prosecutors on legal issues arising in their investigations and prosecutions. He was previously a member of the office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit and is a recipient of the FinCEN Director’s Law Enforcement Award for Cyber Threats.
Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Shin was an Assistant Solicitor General at the New York State Attorney General’s Office, where he briefed and argued appeals on behalf of the state in the Second Circuit and New York state appellate courts. Before entering public service, he was a litigation associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington, DC. He began his legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Karen Nelson Moore of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Mr. Shin received his A.B., magna cum laude, in biochemical sciences from Harvard College, and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.
Mr Shin’s dedication to public service and his record of leadership is well-known and appreciated by all of us at AABANY. Please join us in congratulating Mr. Shin on this well deserved promotion.