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.