In conjunction with the Federal Bar Foundation and several other law firms, 33 women in the legal profession have created a scholarship program in honor of the late United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The program is titled “When There Are Nine” (WTA9), as it was Justice Ginsburg’s answer to the question of when there would be “enough” women serving on the Supreme Court. As the upper echelons of the legal profession are dominated by men, the WTA9 Scholarship program was founded to provide a network of support to young women aspiring to become lawyers. The WTA9 Scholarship will grant each recipient $10,000 as well as mentorship through and beyond law school. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and a dedication to academic achievement. Any women graduating from law school between 2022 and 2025 are eligible to apply no later than June 15, 2021. To learn more about the WTA9 Scholarship, click here.
AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence was recently mentioned in a May 6, 2021 ABC News article titled “Asian Americans take a stand as the US faces a new racial reckoning.” The article highlighted the report’s finding of the eight-fold increase in the number of anti-Asian hate incidents that were reported to the NYPD in 2020 compared to the previous year. Co-Executive Editor of the report and AABANY Board Director Chris Kwok was interviewed on the underreporting of anti-Asian hate incidents and the increase of anti-Asian hate and violence during the pandemic. Chris discussed the long-standing anti-Asian sentiments in America which date back to laws in the 19th and early 20th centuries controlling the rights of Chinese workers. He stated: “The pandemic unleashed, I think, a growing fear of China going back to [Barack] Obama’s second term…Then if you take the thread back longer in the West, in America, there’s always been a fear of Chinese in America.” Chris also mentioned how former President Donald Trump’s reference to COVID-19 as the “China virus” and “Kung Flu” fueled anti-Asian sentiment during the pandemic, providing perpetrators “the ultimate authorisation to behave to the worst impulses that you had.”
To read the full article, click here.
Please also take a look at previous blog posts from February 19, March 1, March 8, March 15, March 29, and May 10 highlighting news stories about our report. If you have come across a news report or article about our report that is not listed above, please let us know at email@example.com.
More public awareness about our report and the rise in anti-Asian violence is needed. Please share our report widely. If you have ideas or thoughts about how we can combat anti-Asian violence, please share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On May 7, AABANY co-sponsored a panel of Asian Pacific American judges as part two of NAPABA’s Summer Judicial Series. The event was hosted by the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association (GAPABA) and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). In addition to AABANY, the event was co-sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington, D.C. Area (APABA-DC), the Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund (AEF), the National Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (NAPALSA), the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA), and the South Asian Bar Association of Georgia (SABA-GA).
In honor of Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month as well as to encourage the growing number of young Asian American lawyers aspiring to the bench, GAPABA and NAPABA organized the panel to share the stories and careers of trailblazing APA judges. The panelists were AABANY member Hon. Denny Chin, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Hon. James C. Ho of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Hon. Sri Srinivasan, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit, Hon. Jennifer Choe-Groves of the U.S. Court of International Trade, Hon. Theodore D. Chuang, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, and Hon. Lucy H. Koh, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The panel was moderated by GAPABA Board Member Michael C. Wu and Byung Jin (BJay) Pak, Partner at Alston & Bird. GAPABA President and Of Counsel at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Angela Hsu, GAPABA President-Elect and Associate General Counsel at Delta Air Lines Timothy Wang, and GAPABA Communications Co-Chair and Law Clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas Prathyusha Chenji were also in attendance.
Michael and BJay posed several questions to the panelists regarding their backgrounds and experience on the bench. All of the panelists expressed how their upbringing in the U.S. made them keenly aware of their “otherness” and in some cases, motivated them towards public service. Judge Chin (a former AABANY President, 1992-93) shared his background as an immigrant from Hong Kong and his experience growing up in New York City. Judge Chin also noted that, as one of the few Asians in his school and at his work, he was constantly under scrutiny and pressure to perform well. “I felt like Yao Ming,” he stated. Several panelists also reported that they still faced microaggressions in their professional lives, despite their position as judges.
When asked about their career paths and perspectives on diversity on the bench, all of the panelists described varied experiences in private practice, the legislative branch, and executive branch of the government before becoming a federal judge. Many of the panelists also expressed how diversity in the federal government could only lead to better and more informed decisions on behalf of the American people. Many of the panelists also shared their own stories about how they were inspired and encouraged by seeing diverse individuals serving in government and in public positions. All of the judges expressed how the justice system in America ought to be color blind and that all individuals should have the right to a fair trial regardless of their background. Judge Chin also discussed the importance of community and unity despite having diverse perspectives. When asked to respond to Supreme Court Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Sonia Sotomayor’s discussion on the threat of disunity to national security, Judge Chin concurred, pointing out how even after President Biden’s election, Americans have yet to listen to each other without politicizing every single issue.
The moderators then closed the panel with several questions about advice any of the judges might have for young attorneys, law clerks, and others aspiring to become judges themselves. The panelists expressed how being a judge begins with being a good attorney. All of the judges emphasized the importance of relationships and teamwork, of maintaining a good reputation, and of being respectful and professional to all.
AABANY thanks NAPABA for hosting this series and also thanks the justices for their trailblazing example to the APA community. To watch a recording of the event, click here.
For Immediate Release:
Date: May 12, 2021
Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director
WASHINGTON – Today, as part of the third slate of judicial nominees sent to the Senate, President Joe Biden nominated Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Angel Kelley to become a federal district court judge for the District of Massachusetts. If confirmed, Judge Kelley would become only the second African American woman judge and second Asian American judge to serve on the Massachusetts district court, following Judge Indira Talwani who was confirmed in 2014.
NAPABA applauds the Biden Administration for continuing to nominate experienced individuals with diverse professional and personal backgrounds who reflect the diversity of the country. The daughter of a Japanese immigrant mother who found work as a meat packer, and an African American father originally from Selma, Alabama who was a truck driver, Judge Kelley began her legal career as a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society working in the Juvenile Rights Division in Brooklyn, New York, served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, and began her judicial service on the Massachusetts state court in 2009.
Judge Kelley received her LL.M. in Trial Advocacy from Temple University in 2003, her J.D. from Georgetown University in 1992, and her B.A. from Colgate University in 1989.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) in the largest Asian Pacific American membership organization representing the interests of approximately 50,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network, 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.
NAPABA | 1612 K St. NW, Suite 510 | Washington, DC 20006 | www.napaba.org
On May 6, the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association presented the George Bundy Smith Award to the Honorable Peter Tom, former Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, First Judicial Department. The George Bundy Smith Award is presented annually to an attorney of color whose career exemplifies the high standards in legal excellence, community service, and mentoring set by Judge George Bundy Smith through his participation in the Civil Rights Movement and his years of public service serving as a judge.
Vincent Chang had the honor of presenting the award to Justice Tom. In his speech, he described Justice Tom as “our Jackie Robinson.” Like Jackie Robinson, Justice Tom had accomplished goals during his career no one in his race had ever accomplished. Throughout his years of service in the court system, he achieved many “firsts”—first Asian American appointed to the Housing Court in New York City; first Asian American elected to the Civil Court in New York City; first Asian American elected to the New York State Supreme Court in New York County; and first Asian American appointed to the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department. Justice Tom was even the first Asian American to win the New York City Golden Gloves Boxing Championship. In his legal career, Justice Tom tore down walls one by one. He employed a 100-year-old “Bawdy House Statute” for the first time in a groundbreaking ruling to evict drug dealers from residential property. In People v. Luis Kevin Rojas, Justice Tom reversed an innocent man’s conviction and saved Luis Rojas from a potential lifetime in prison. Justice Tom also gives back immensely to the Asian American community. He is one of the founders of the Asian American Bar Association of New York.
In accepting the George Bundy Smith Award, Justice Tom shared the story of his family’s immigration to the United States from China with their hopes of finding the mountains of gold in America. Instead of finding gold mountains, Justice Tom was thrust into New York City where he had to learn English, find his identity, and work hard. He stated, “[The] real treasure of America was not…easy riches but vast golden opportunities in this diverse country where the road of opportunity leads if one works hard and perseveres.” In addition, Justice Tom provided attendees with insight into how appeals are handled by the First Department, stressing the importance of strong oral argument. He also emphasized pro bono representation and civility in the legal profession.
Congratulations to Justice Tom on receiving the George Bundy Smith Award! To read AABANY’s profile on Justice Tom, click here.
On April 20, Immigration Law Committee Co-Chairs Annie Wang, Poonam Gupta, and Zhixian (Jessie) Liu held a webinar titled “Immigration Changes Under the Biden Administration: A Look Back and Overview.” The co-chairs provided updates to the immigration policies under the Biden administration and compared it to the plans President Biden had outlined when he first took office.
In the webinar, the Immigration Law Committee provided updates to the status of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 and the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021 in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and discussed how passage of the bills could affect the pathway to citizenship. The co-chairs also covered employment-based immigration changes including the withdrawal of the H-4 EAD (Employment Authorization Document) rule, the repeal of the BAHA (Buy American and Hire American) Executive Order, and the changes to the H-1B Visa Program for fiscal year 2022. Co-Chair Annie Wang discussed the national dialogue surrounding asylum and refugee resettlement, and gave an update on the status of current DACA litigation. The co-chairs concluded the webinar by providing a quick overview of the rescission of the Public Charge Rule.
The Immigration Law Committee plans to continue hosting quarterly webinars to provide the AABANY community with immigration updates under the Biden administration. To learn more about the Immigration Law Committee’s upcoming events, please contact the committee co-chairs at https://www.aabany.org/page/129.