On August 21, 2023, AsAm News published a piece written by Rachel Phua titled “The Pandemic Emergency May Be Over, But Anti-Asian Hate Is Not.” AABANY was featured in this article, which details the alarming ongoing hate crimes against Asians in America and its effects on Asian-Americans.
The research of Dr. Elaine Chiu, law professor at St. John’s University and past chair of AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force, was cited to describe the discrepancy between official statistics and AABANY’s statistics regarding anti-Asian hate crimes. The article notes “although official statistics show that anti-Asian hate crime rates have fallen, AABANY found 233 anti-Asian incidents in New York City over the first three quarters of 2021, compared to 118 hate crimes the NYPD reported.”
In response to these persisting crime rates, AABANY has been pushing for hate crime prosecution reforms. The article noted that “AABANY wants the state and city to lower the standards needed to prove a hate crime, partly by changing the phrase ‘in substantial part’ to ‘in part,’ and including all offenses — unless explicitly excluded from the law — as possible acts of hate.” Chris Kwok, co-chair of AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force, said they are working with state lawmakers to introduce a bill to update the law.
Yang Chen, AABANY’s Executive Director, was quoted in the article stating that “before Covid came, Trump had already reoriented the US-China relationship. Covid set Trump on fire,” and noted lingering concerns over foreign policy rhetoric at the federal level.
On October 19, 2023, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) celebrated its 34th Anniversary with its Third Annual Founders’ Day, held at FTI Consulting, at their Midtown West Manhattan office. This annual event celebrates the establishment of AABANY as a bar association in 1989. AABANY pays tribute to its visionary Founders who played a critical role in laying the groundwork for AABANY’s emergence as the nation’s largest affinity bar association, currently with more than 1700 paid members.
The night opened with a light reception, as members trickled into the venue. Conversation flowed freely as attendees shared fond memories and anecdotes about AABANY. AABANY’s Membership Director, Christopher Bae gave welcoming remarks, introducing the lineup of speakers. He then passed the floor to Karen Kim, AABANY’s President, who provided an overview of the organization and shared her perspective on AABANY’s development in recent years Her speech underscored the organization’s remarkable growth, emerging as a vibrant and inclusive community of legal practitioners.
Following her, past AABANY President (2014-2015), Glenn Lau-Kee, delivered a moving speech as the event’s keynote speaker. With great depth and insight, Glenn delved into the origins of our organization, offering a captivating narrative of its founding journey and the challenges its first members faced. Glenn’s words struck a chord with the legal professionals in attendance, serving as a poignant reminder of AABANY’s remarkable journey. As Glenn concluded his speech, he was faced with a wave of resounding applause. His words had a profound impact on the attendees, leaving a sense of gravity in the air as they continued to mingle, network, and enjoy food and drinks.
Executive Director Yang Chen also spoke, reminding attendees of AABANY’s many milestones over the years. He highlighted Chris Kwok’s work on the Anti-Asian Violence Task Force, speaking at length regarding the two vital reports that the Task Force released. Furthermore, he talked about the short film recently released by the Task Force, “ Voices against Anti-Asian Hate.” Attendees were invited to screen the short film at the event. Yang Chen explained that the video was slightly updated from the version first screened at the Fall Conference, and he invited attendees who watched it at Founders’ Day to share their feedback before the film is finalized and released to the general public. Those who saw the video offered positive feedback with some useful suggestions for the Task Force to consider.
Many notable AABANY leaders and members were present at this year’s Founders’ Day, including Hon. Marilyn Go (Ret.), founding AABANY member Hugh Mo, Anti-Asian Task Force Chair Chris Kwok, and many Board members and Committee Chairs. “[I am] thrilled to have been able to spend time with AABANY’s range of members, in particular some of its founders,” exclaimed Jason Sabot, Senior Managing Director at FTI consulting. “The organization is so central to supporting and furthering Asian American interests in New York. Thank you for all you do, AABANY.”
As the event drew to a close, Beatrice Leong, AABANY’s Vice President of Programs and Operations, aptly captured the sentiment of the evening, stating: “Tonight is proof that AABANY will last through the centuries— we began with just a handful of founders, and now we’ve grown into a thriving and expansive community. The legal professionals in the audience tonight exemplify the unity of the AAPI legal community, solidifying AABANY’s lasting presence as both an organization and an institution.”
Our gratitude goes out to Christopher S. Bae, AABANY’s Membership Director, and the dedicated Membership Committee for their outstanding efforts in organizing this wonderful event. AABANY also thanks FTI Consulting for generously providing the venue, food, and drinks for Founders’ Day, as well as their enduring support and partnership. AABANY is delighted to mark its 34th anniversary with the esteemed guests in attendance. We look forward to celebrating AABANY’s 35th anniversary in 2024!
Last week, Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Division of Human Rights’ (DHR) Hate and Bias Prevention Unit (HBPU) announced the launch of a new phone hotline 844-NO2-HATE and online form to report hate and bias incidents.
HBPU encourages all New Yorkers to contact the Unit if they or someone they know has experienced a hate or bias incident. This reminder comes as Jewish, Muslim, and other communities across New York State face prejudice in the aftermath of the horrific violence in the Middle East.
In addition, HBPU stands ready to offer a wide range of assistance to community members, including support in filing complaints, organizing educational programming, hosting community dialogues, providing conflict resolution, and more.
“The Division of Human Rights will continue to work to ensure New Yorkers can live with dignity, fulfill their potential, and participate fully in the life of the state. Antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate has no place in our communities. It’s vital that we address hate here at home, and work with our neighbors and communities to build a better world, filled with love for all,” said Commissioner Maria L. Imperial.
Launched by Governor Kathy Hochul in December 2022 and chaired by Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado, HBPU has established 10 regional Hate and Bias Prevention Councils across the state. The councils are comprised of a diverse network of stakeholders that include community and faith-based organizations, law enforcement, and other advocacy groups. HBPU also oversees a rapid response initiative, which offers support to communities impacted by hate or bias incidents, and will soon be launching a youth initiative. More information about HBPU can be found at dhr.ny.gov/nohate.
On October 18th, 2023, AABANY held its Manhattan Pro Bono Clinic at the AAFE (Asian Americans for Equality) Community Center, at 111 Norfolk Street. Our dedicated volunteers gathered on Wednesday evening to provide invaluable, free legal services to the community. The clinic was met with a large number of volunteers, eager to give back to the New York AAPI community. Volunteer interpreters and attorneys met with clients, discussing a range of issues, encompassing family, immigration, and employment law.
AABANY would like to thank our Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee, AAFE, our community partners, and our hard-working volunteers for giving us their time and energy. Our success could not be possible without your support. AABANY hopes to continue making a positive impact on the community and providing much-needed legal services to those in need. We extend our sincere gratitude towards the following individuals:
Menglong (Anthony) Zhu
Tiange (Tim) Chen
Yan Lian Kuang-Maoga
Interpreters and Shadowers:
Yiming (Roselyn) Chen
Once again, AABANY thanks all the volunteers, AAFE, community partners, and the PBCS Committee who made this Pro Bono Clinic possible. Please join the next Queens Pro Bono Clinic taking place on November 1st at One Flushing Community Center. For more information, please click here.
The Trailblazer Award honors outstanding attorneys and organizations that make an impact in the legal profession and within the AANHPI community. This lifetime achievement award is NAPABA’s highest honor and recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment, and leadership of lawyers who have paved the way for the advancement of other AANHPI attorneys.
Trailblazers have demonstrated vision, courage, and tenacity in their practice. They have also made substantial and lasting contributions to the AANHPI legal profession, as well as the broader AANHPI community.
We’re proud to recognize these deserving honorees of the 2023 NAPABA Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award and look forward to celebrating their achievements at the 2023 NAPABA Convention in Indianapolis.
2023 Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award Recipients
Director Kiran A. Ahuja U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Kiran A. Ahuja serves as the Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). After more than two decades in public service and executive nonprofit work, she was nominated by President Joe Biden for her current role before being confirmed by the United States Senate on Tuesday, June 22, 2021. Director Ahuja is the first South Asian American and first Asian American woman to lead OPM. Learn more about Kiran.
Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta U.S. Department of Justice
Vanita Gupta is the 19th United States Associate Attorney General and has served as the third-ranking official at the Department of Justice since her confirmation by the Senate on April 21, 2021. Associate Attorney General Gupta supervises the Department of Justice’s civil litigating divisions. She also oversees the grantmaking components of the Department. Learn more about Vanita.
Lisa Loo Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Lisa S. Loo, as Vice President for Legal Affairs and Deputy General Counsel at Arizona State University, focuses on special projects and initiatives, commercial transactions, procurement, real estate and immigration matters. Lisa is a founding board member of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association. Learn more about Lisa.
Florence T. Nakakuni Former U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii
Florence T. Nakakuni is the former United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii. She was appointed in 2009 by President Barack Obama, replacing Edward H. Kubo Jr. who left to become a Judge on the Hawaii First Circuit Court. She is the first female United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii. Learn more about Florence.
Ambassador Katherine C. Tai U.S. Trade Representative
Ambassador Katherine C. Tai was sworn in as the 19th United States Trade Representative on March 18, 2021. As a member of the President’s Cabinet, Ambassador Tai is the principal trade advisor, negotiator, and spokesperson on U.S. trade policy. Prior to her unanimous Senate confirmation, Ambassador Tai spent most of her career in public service focusing on international economic diplomacy, monitoring, and enforcement. Learn more about Katherine.
Commissioner Mark T. Uyeda U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Mark T. Uyeda was sworn into office on June 30, 2022, after being nominated by President Joseph Biden and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Commissioner Uyeda has served on the staff of the SEC since 2006. He most recently served on detail from the SEC to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs as a securities counsel to the committee’s minority staff. He is the first Asian Pacific American to serve as a Commissioner at the SEC. Learn more about Mark.
Nearly 50 members of the bar “came out” to celebrate the diversity within the LGBT, Asian American, and South Asian communities with the LGBT Committee of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) and host Linklaters LLP. A companion reception is planned for Washington DC hosted by Blank Rome LLP on Nov. 16. RSVP here.
LGBT Asian American and South Asian attorneys in corporate, commercial, government, and public interest practice gathered to build peer-support and expand their network. David Lat, Founder, Original Jurisdiction and Above the Law, shared welcoming remarks. Thank you for joining us again.
Law firm sponsorships will help “Build Back the LGBTQ+ API community Better!” in collaboration with the Asian American Federation. Two years of lockdowns, a year of anti-Asian violence, and a record number of state anti-LGBT bills, have stunted the LGBTQ Asian community’s growth. Sponsors will support a series of training workshops for the LGBTQ Asian American community. Thank you for all your support!
On October 17, 2023, the IP Committee and the Labor & Employment Committee together hosted a bowling event at Frames Bowling Lounge in Midtown Manhattan. New and familiar faces gathered to mingle and bowl, alongside classic plates including angus beef sliders, buffalo wings, and perfectly crispy fries. With 4-5 players per lane across three lanes, attendees brought on the competition and the game was on! The spacious two-floor bowling lounge had a liveliness and energy that certainly made the Tuesday evening feel like a Friday, and the food was so good that it had everyone taking the leftovers home in smaller boxes.
We would like to thank all of our attendees for a fun night and Jane Hong (IP Committee vice-chair) and Jennifer Kim (Labor & Employment Committee vice-chair) who took the lead in making this event come to life. We are always looking forward to seeing more faces and welcoming newcomers and members alike. To learn more about the Labor & Employment and IP Committees, please visit this page and this page.
WASHINGTON – On Sunday, an unimaginable nightmare visited a Palestinian American family in Plainfield, Illinois, a suburban region outside of Chicago. Local law enforcement officials have accused the family’s landlord of murdering a six-year-old child and attempted murder of the child’s mother in their home. The Will County Sheriff’s Office concluded that the perpetrator targeted the family because of their Islamic faith.
No words can capture the anguish and devastation that this vile act of hate has brought. We send our deep, heartfelt condolences to the family, and we stand with the Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim communities throughout the United States.
Acts of hate must have no quarter anywhere. As the nation responds to the current conflict in the Middle East, we must not overlook our common humanity. Hate, whether in the form of anti-Asian hate, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, white supremacy, or any other act of bigotry must be condemned across the board.
On Monday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released its national crime statistics for 2022, reminding us that our work to eradicate hate must continue. With unrelenting focus, NAPABA, the Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago, the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago, and the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago are committed to do so.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 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 all backgrounds in the legal profession.
The NAPABA In-House Counsel Mentoring Program has operated for nearly two decades and is responsible for hundreds of professional relationships that have resulted in the development of in-house counsel leaders who have shined in their career.
This program provides mentee attorneys the opportunity to expand their professional network and find meaningful support and connection with other diverse attorneys who understand the challenges of the practice and can foster new ideas that inspires career growth. Mentors will harness their leadership skills and expertise to pass along perspective, wisdom, and practical skills gained throughout their career.
Interested in Applying?
The deadline to apply is October 17, 2023. For questions, please contact Sumbal Abid, Operations Manager.
On Tuesday, October 3, 2023 on the corner of Canal and Elizabeth Streets in Manhattan’s Chinatown, a crowd gathered for the 12th Annual Commemoration of Private Danny Chen. Danny Chen ended his life while deployed in Afghanistan after suffering from persistent and severe verbal and physical abuse by his fellow soldiers as a result of his race.
At the Commemoration, Pvt. Danny Chen’s life and legacy were told in twelve chapters by twelve speakers. The speakers included his family and friends, his teachers and mentors, community activists speaking on behalf of Chinatown Head Start and OCA-New York, and award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang. The Commemoration transported us from Danny Chen’s colorful childhood in Manhattan’s Chinatown to the gruesome details of the harassment and humiliating treatment he was subjected to while he served his country. You can watch the 12th Annual Commemoration of Private Danny Chen here.
AABANY members Rocky Chin and Marilyn Go, as well as Yang Chen, Executive Director attended the ceremony. The New York Timesreported on the observance.
Pvt. Danny Chen’s legacy is immortalized by the opera An American Soldier. With a libretto by Tony and Grammy winner David Henry Hwang, An American Soldier recounts the powerful true story of a young soldier from Manhattan’s Chinatown who sought to serve his country, only to find his biggest threat was the very people who swore to protect him. It is told through the multidimensional music of Huang Ruo and directed by Obie Award winner Chay Yew. The opera will premiere in NYC from May 12–19, 2024 at the Perelman Performing Arts Center.
To keep Pvt. Danny Chen’s legacy alive means to continue the fight against racially motivated injustice and discrimination. Twelve years after his death, Asian Americans are still perceived by individuals and elected officials as “perpetual others.” AABANY, alongside numerous community partners, will continue to honor Pvt. Denny Chen’s legacy as we pursue our mission of advancing social justice, diversity and inclusion for the AAPI community.