In The News: Chris Kwok’s Op-Ed on Weaponized Coronavirus Language Against Asian-Americans Published in the New York Daily News

On March 26, 2020, the New York Daily News published an op-ed co-authored by Chris Kwok. The piece is entitled “Weaponized coronavirus language is endangering Asian-American lives.” (Chris, who sits on the AABANY Board and chairs the Issues Committee, co-wrote the op-ed in his capacity as a Board member of the Asian American Federation).

The article discusses how anti-Asian rhetoric and labeling the coronavirus as “the Chinese virus” is endangering the lives of Asian Americans across the United States. It also provides historical examples of what happens when you link a disease to a particular group of people. It can easily lead to stigma and violence against that group. For example, in the 14th century, Jews were accused of spreading the Bubonic Plague in Europe and massacred. Similarly, in the 1980s to 1990s gay people were blamed for spreading AIDS and suffered violence as a result.

Furthermore, the article notes that this is not the first time Asian Americans have faced something like this in the United States. In the 1850s to 1890s, the Chinese were accused of being carriers of venereal disease and leprosy. As a result of the openly anti-Chinese rhetoric during that period, Chinese people were “…rounded up into thousands of railroad cars, steamers, or logging rafts, marched out of town, or killed.”

Now, history seems to be repeating itself as the spread of the coronavirus pandemic is falsely being attributed to Asian Americans. In recent weeks we have seen a spike in xenophobic incidents targeting Asian Americans throughout the nation. Such incidents include “…Asian Americans being beaten, slashed, kicked, spat at, sprayed with things, yelled at or ostracized in public.” To make matters worse, President Trump’s deliberate campaign to label the coronavirus as “the Chinese virus” has put Asian Americans at an even higher risk.

To read the full article, click here.

Congresswoman Grace Meng Introduces Resolution to Denounce Anti-Asian Sentiment Caused by Coronavirus

On March 25, 2020, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives that denounces the anti-Asian sentiment caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus.  

“The increased use of anti-Asian rhetoric, particularly from our nation’s leaders such as the President, and their use of terms like ‘Chinese virus,’ ‘Wuhan virus,’ and ‘Kung-flu,’ is not only irresponsible, reckless, and downright disgusting, it threatens the safety of the Asian American community; such language demeans, disparages, and scapegoats Asian Americans,” said Meng. “Asian Americans, like millions of others across the nation, are worried about the coronavirus; however, so many Asian Americans are also living in fear following the dramatic increase of threats and attacks against those of Asian descent. During this time of heightened anxiety and fear surrounding COVID-19, we cannot lose sight of protecting the health and safety of every single person – no matter their race, ethnicity, or background. The House must take a strong stand against the sickening intolerance, bigotry, and violence that is leaving a terrible stain on our nation’s history, especially during this moment of an unprecedented public health crisis. I am grateful to my colleagues who introduced this resolution with me today, and for joining me in saying loud and clear: xenophobia and discrimination is absolutely unacceptable. I strongly urge all of my House of Representatives colleagues, to support this measure, and its passage.”  

The resolution has 124 cosponsors. They include: Reps. Chu, Pressley, Castro, Pascrell, Malinowski, Speier, Watson Coleman, Brown, Takano, Cisneros, Schakowsky, Velázquez, Pingree, Lieu, Napolitano, Correa, Haaland, Huffman, Torres, Blumenauer, Fudge, Cárdenas, Omar, Schrader, Moulton, Suozzi, Lynch, Dingell, Connolly, Case, A. Green, Bonamici, Trone, C. Maloney, Khanna, McGovern, Thompson (CA), Larson, Foster, E. Johnson, Jayapal, Kilmer, Jackson Lee, Lofgren, Porter, Raskin, Lowenthal, DelBene, Castor, Jeffries, Trahan, Smith (WA), Rose, Beyer, Rouda, Costa, Serrano, DeFazio, Krishnamoorthi, Ocasio-Cortez, Cicilline, Kim, Sanchez, Soto, Bustos, McCollum, Pocan, Welch, Sablan, Schiff, Larsen, Higgins, Yarmuth, McEachin, DeLauro, Quigley, Clark, Grijalva, DeGette, Engel, Butterfield, Rush, Deutch, Allred, Eshoo, S. Maloney, Kennedy, D. Davis, Bass, Boyle, Nadler, Lee (CA), Norton, Lewis, Mucarsel-Powell, Bishop, Evans, “Chuy” García, Schneider, Horsford, Carson, Wild, Tlaib, Casten, Craig, Frankel, Meeks, Brownley, Spanberger, Wexton, Vargas, S. Garcia, Hastings, Escobar, Cohen, Vargas, Sherman, Waters, McNerney, Cox, McNerney, Lawrence, Tlaib, and Gallego.  

To learn more and to read the text of the resolution, click here.

PRESS RELEASE: ASIAN AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK TO EXPAND FREE LEGAL CLINIC TO QUEENS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH NEW YORK STATE COMMITTEEWOMAN SANDRA UNG

NEW YORK – March 5, 2020 – On the heels of its success in Manhattan and Brooklyn, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) is getting ready to expand its Pro Bono Legal Clinic to Queens. 

According to the 2010 Census, of the over one million people identified as Asian American in New York City, nearly half live in Queens.  Located in the heart of Flushing, the Queens Clinic will be available every third week of the month with a specific focus each month on housing, immigration, elder law, or family and matrimonial law. Interpreters in Chinese (including Mandarin, Cantonese, Taiwanese), Korean, Japanese, and other languages will be available during the one-on-one consultation with a volunteer attorney. Karen Lin will be volunteering her time to serve as Coordinator of the Queens Clinic.

The Clinic will be held in collaboration with New York State Committeewoman Sandra Ung, a longtime resident of Queens and leading community advocate. Ms. Ung stated: “Having a free legal clinic in Queens, where there will be translators, gives an opportunity for those who simply do not know where to turn when encountering a legal problem, a place where their concerns can be heard.   This Pro Bono Legal Clinic in Queens is the first step in helping our community better understand their legal rights. Thank you to AABANY for this partnership and making this clinic available to our Flushing community.” 

“As members of the legal profession, our members have achieved their career goals through the struggles of their immigrant parents and grandparents,” states AABANY President Brian Song. “Now it’s time to give back. Many people in our neighborhoods do not have access to reliable information and assistance about legal processes and available legal resources. We can provide assistance in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner, so that the community understands their rights and remedies. Thank you to our committed volunteers.” 

AABANY’s Pro Bono Legal Clinic opened in 2015 to serve members of the Asian Pacific American community who have limited English proficiency (“LEP”) so that they can have meaningful access to justice. Mobilizing the skills and experience of AABANY’s diverse membership, the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee has spearheaded the Clinic’s effort in helping nearly 2,000 LEP individuals in the vast yet underserved Asian American community in New York through its Clinics in Manhattan’s Chinatown and Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge neighborhoods.   The Manhattan Clinic takes place on the second Wednesday of each month at the Community Room, 33 Bowery Street. The Brooklyn Clinic takes place on the fourth Thursday of every other month at A+ Academy, 6802 8th Avenue. (If a community member is interested in attending these Clinics, please contact judy.lee@aabany.org to double-check their dates and for any additional updates.)

The New York State Bar Association recently awarded the Pro Bono Legal Clinic with its prestigious New York State Bar Association Bar Leaders Innovation Award, in recognition of the impactful work done to provide legal assistance, community education programs, and outreach. AABANY’s theme for its upcoming fiscal year, “Stronger Together: Unity in Diversity,” is especially fitting as the Pro Bono Clinic expands to Queens, the most ethnically and diverse county in the United States, with 138 languages spoken throughout the borough.

The first Queens Clinic will be held on March 17 at the office of the New York State Committeewoman located at 135-15 40th Road, Flushing, New York 11354, on the topic of Housing Law. Subsequent Clinics will be held on the third Tuesday of each month, and the subsequent clinics already scheduled are on April 15 (Immigration Law); May 20 (Elder Law and Public Benefits); and June 17, 2020 (Family, Matrimonial, and Education Law). Community members seeking legal assistance must call to make an appointment at (347) 391-6463 (English and Chinese speakers), (516) 690-7724 (Korean language speakers), or (845) 450-0726 (Japanese language speakers). Appointments will be made based on availability.  Please note that walk-ins will not be permitted at the Queens Clinic.

For more information, please contact Yang Chen, AABANY Executive Director, at (646) 653-2168, or direct any inquiries to main@aabany.org.

The Asian American Bar Association of New York is a professional membership organization of attorneys concerned with issues affecting the Asian Pacific American community. Incorporated in 1989, AABANY seeks not only to encourage the professional growth of its members but also to advocate for the Asian Pacific American community as a whole. AABANY is a New York regional affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).

###

Additional information about AABANY is available at www.aabany.org
Follow our blog at www.blog.aabany.org
Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aabany
Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aabany

AABANY Celebrates 2020 Annual Dinner with More Than 800 Attendees

On Wednesday, February 26, 2020, AABANY hosted its 2020 Annual Dinner with the theme “Stronger Together: Unity in Diversity” at Cipriani Wall Street. The dinner attracted over 800 attorneys, judges, prosecutors, in-house counsel, government officials, and dignitaries and sponsorships from more than 60 law firms and corporations.

This year AABANY was proud to honor:

Hon. Sri Srinivasan, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, with the Public Interest Leadership Award.

Alan Tse, Global Chief Legal Officer, Jones Lang LaSalle, Inc., with the Corporate Leadership Award

Yen Chu, Chief Legal Officer, Equinox Holdings, Inc., with the Women’s Leadership Award

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP with the Law Firm Diversity Award

To read more about our extraordinary honorees, read the press release here.

This year, Spectrum NY1 News Anchor Vivian Lee served as MC and was joined on stage by Immediate Past President James Cho. 

James presented each of the honorees with special gifts from AABANY. Noting that Alan Tse was considered by his peers to be “The Closer,” James presented him with a bottle of McCallan, a nod to Attorney Harvey Specter from “Suits,” another well-known “Closer.” However, because Alan had to fly back to Chicago, the full-size bottle was replaced with a miniature size, with a ziploc bag that will ensure the bottle gets through security. (We have a feeling that the bottle was consumed well before Alan made it to the airport.)

For Yen Chu, James presented her with a monogrammed workout head towel for her next session at one of Equinox’s many gyms. That is one way to make sure that AABANY is “top of mind” for Yen in the days to come. Finally, for Chief Judge Srinivasan, we figured that as a jurist, he can never have too many robes, so James presented him a wizard’s robe, bearing his name above the Gryffindor crest. Although we doubt we will see Chief Judge Srinivasan wearing that robe on the bench any time soon, we can imagine him donning the robe in chambers, especially on those occasions where he may need to work some judicial wizardry to decide the most difficult cases.

In addition, we were also pleased to present the 2019 class of Don H. Liu Scholars: Grace Cho, Raymond Magsaysay, and Andrew Tran. To read more about the Don H. Liu Scholars, see our press release here.

Congratulations also to the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee. The Pro Bono Clinic was recognized with the New York State Bar Association Bar Leaders Innovation Award. NYSBA President Hank Greenberg attended the Annual Dinner to present the award. To read more about the award, see our press release here.

We thank all of the AABANY Annual Dinner Planning Committee members and volunteers for their hard work in making this year’s celebration a huge success.

We extend sincere thanks to all of our sponsors. Their generous sponsorships make it possible for us to pursue our mission to advance the interests of the Asian Pacific American (APA) legal community and the communities we serve and support our many activities and signature events throughout the year.

Lastly, we thank everyone that attended the 2020 Annual Dinner and celebrated with us.

Thanks to Corky Lee for the photos in this blog post. More photos to come. Stay tuned!

Congratulations to Kevin Kim on Receiving the Hong Yen Chang Award at the 9th Annual Columbia Law School APALSA Conference at Columbia University

AABANY congratulates Kevin Kim on receiving the Hong Yen Chang Award at the 9th Annual Columbia Law School APALSA Conference on February 22, 2020.

In June of 2017, Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Kevin as a Trustee of the City University of New York (CUNY) making him only the third Asian American and the first Korean American to serve on the CUNY Board of Trustees. Previously, Kevin served as a Commissioner of the New York State Liquor Authority, and became the first Asian American appointed to this position. In 2009, Kevin became the first Korean American to win a NYC primary when he became the Democratic nominee for NYC Council (District 19). Prior to that, he worked as a Congressional aide to former Congressman Gary Ackerman, an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, and a law clerk for then-U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin (SDNY). Kevin is also an entrepreneur and the co-founder of Tactile Brain LLC, an innovative mental math program designed by Jeonghee Lee, one of the world’s foremost mental mathematicians. In 2015, the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) awarded Kevin with an Ellis Island Medal of Honor in recognition of his many years of community service. Kevin served on AABANY’s Board as Director of Development in 2017. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Korean American Community Foundation (KACF) and the International Student Conference.

Kevin received his B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University and his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.

Kevin received his award during the Gala Dinner following this year’s Columbia Law School APALSA Conference, entitled “The Path Less Traveled: Success Beyond the Law Firm.” The award is named after Hong Yen Chang, who became the first Asian American lawyer admitted to the New York State bar over 130 years ago. In 1872, 13-year-old Hong Yen Chang came to the United States to be groomed as a diplomat. He earned degrees from Yale University and Columbia University’s law school and passed the bar exam. However, after passing the bar examination, he was first denied admission because of his lack of U.S. citizenship due to the Chinese Exclusion Act. A special act of the New York Legislature allowed his admission in 1888. Hong Yen Chang then moved to California and applied for admission to the bar there but was denied in 1890 due to his lack of citizenship. Not until 2015 was this exclusion remedied, when the California Supreme Court granted an application from members of the UC Davis Asian Pacific American Law Students Association for posthumous admission of Hong Yen Chang.

Before the award was presented, a video was played featuring Congresswoman Grace Meng and US Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang offering their congratulations to Kevin. Hon. Denny Chin introduced Kevin and presented the award to him. In accepting the award, Kevin gave an impassioned speech calling all in attendance, as law students or as lawyers, to become more active in the issues that affect Asian Americans and all under-served and under-represented communities.

Please join AABANY in congratulating Kevin Kim on this recognition and well-deserved honor.

NAPABA is Seeking Thursday Specialty Program Submissions for its 2020 Convention

You may have already seen NAPABA’s Call for Programs email for this year’s NAPABA Convention, taking place November 5-8. In addition to the call for general programs, NAPABA is also looking for Thursday Specialty Program submissions.

What is Thursday Specialty Programming?

Workshops and programs held by NAPABA’s networks and committees to build the skills and knowledge you need to excel in your career.

This year’s Thursday Specialty Programming tracks, held concurrently, include:

  • International Law Symposium presented by the International Law Committee
  • Solo & Small Firm Bootcamp presented by the Solo & Small Firm Network
  • Women’s Leadership Workshop presented by the Women’s Leadership Network

For more information on how to submit a program, please visit NAPABA’s Call for Programs page by clicking here.

Please note the deadline for submission is March 16, 2020, at 5: 00 PM ET.

In The News: Beatrice Leong Interviewed on “This is Uncomfortable”

On January 30, 2020, AABANY Membership Director Beatrice Leong was interviewed by Reema Khrais on her podcast called “This Is Uncomfortable.” During the interview which was broadcast on NPR, Beatrice shared a very personal story about why she decided to become a divorce lawyer. After graduating from college Beatrice and her long time boyfriend, someone she had been with since the age of 16, got married and moved in together. He worked as a financial consultant, and Beatrice went to law school. However, their relationship took a turn for the worst when Beatrice uncovered his infidelity. After a long back and forth internally, she realized divorce was her only choice. Having graduated from law school, she decided to be her own advocate and joined a family law practice to learn more about divorce law. Beatrice recounted her own consultation with a divorce attorney, found it cold and unsympathetic, and believed that she would make a better matrimonial lawyer, one who understands the emotional trauma that her clients may be undergoing.

The interview talks about the complicated dynamics that accompany a divorce, including how financially and emotionally draining it can be. To hear more of Beatrice’s story, click on the following link: https://www.marketplace.org/shows/this-is-uncomfortable-reema-khrais/divorce-story/

Congratulations to Beatrice on her interview. If you would like to meet her in person and talk with her about her experiences, consider going to the Membership Mixer on February 19. Details at https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1325644

Judge Sri Srinivasan Will Be Presented with the Public Service Leadership Award at the 2020 AABANY Annual Dinner

AABANY is excited to announce that Judge Sri Srinivasan will be presented with the Public Service Leadership Award at the 2020 AABANY Annual Dinner being held on February 26, 2020, at Cipriani Wall Street.

Judge Srinivasan was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed 97-0 by the Senate on May 23, 2013 to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. With his confirmation, Judge Srinivasan became the first South Asian American federal appellate court judge in U.S. history. On February 12, 2020, Judge Srinivasan once again made history by becoming both the first Asian American and South Asian American to serve as Chief Judge for a circuit court in the United States. Judge Srinivasan grew up in Lawrence, Kansas and graduated from Stanford University in 1989 and Stanford Law School and Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1995. Following graduation, he served as a law clerk to Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the U.S. Solicitor General, and as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. In 1998, he joined the law firm O’Melveny & Myers. From 2002 to 2007, he served as an Assistant to the Solicitor General. In 2007 he returned to O’Melveny & Myers as a partner, later becoming chair of the firm’s appellate and Supreme Court practice. From 2011 until his appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals, Judge Srinivasan served as the Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States. He has also taught appellate advocacy at Harvard Law School.

We look forward to seeing you at the Annual Dinner. For more information and tickets, click here on the following link: https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1223619

Yen Chu, Chief Legal Officer at Equinox Holdings, Will Be Presented with the Women’s Leadership Award at the 2020 AABANY Annual Dinner

AABANY is excited to announce that Yen Chu will be presented with the Women’s Leadership Award at the 2020 AABANY Annual Dinner being held on February 26, 2020, at Cipriani Wall Street.

Yen D. Chu currently serves as Chief Legal Officer of Equinox Holdings, Inc., a global integrated fitness, wellness, and hospitality company, with a portfolio of brands/business interests in Equinox, Equinox Hotels, SoulCycle, Blink Fitness, PURE Yoga, Furthermore (a digital lifestyle magazine), and Equinox Media. She leads the Equinox legal department, and during her tenure, Ms. Chu has led business innovation and growth with the launch of new ventures and businesses, including Equinox Hotels, Equinox Media, and Equinox Explore.

Before joining Equinox, Ms. Chu spent over a decade as a vital member of the senior leadership team and advisor to the Board of Directors of Ralph Lauren Corporation. She also nearly a decade at the law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP as a corporate attorney. Additionally, she has also been a champion of diversity and inclusion, dedicating her time and voice to multiple organizations that focus on advancing and empowering women, people of color, first-generation students, and other underrepresented groups, particularly in the legal profession.

Ms. Chu graduated from Columbia Law School and is currently a Board Member of the Columbia Law School Association.

We look forward to seeing you at the Annual Dinner. For more information and tickets, click here on the following link: https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1223619

Alan Tse, Global Chief Legal Officer at Jones Lang LaSalle, Will Be Presented with the Corporate Leadership Award at the 2020 AABANY Annual Dinner

AABANY is excited to announce that Alan Tse will be presented with the Corporate Leadership Award at the 2020 Annual Dinner being held on February 26, 2020, at Cipriani Wall Street.

Alan K. Tse is the Global Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary of Jones Lang LaSalle, Inc (NYSE: JLL), the Fortune 200 Real Estate Services Company with 92,000 employees worldwide. Mr. Tse leads a team of 300 plus legal and compliance professionals worldwide and is a member of the global leadership team. In addition to his Legal and Compliance responsibilities, Mr. Tse also oversees Internal Audit and Insurance reports.

Mr. Tse started his career as a business and technology attorney at Brobeck Phleger and Harrison LLP in their Silicon Valley office, representing technology companies and venture capitalists. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Corporate Counsel from 2013-2019 and served as Board Secretary and chaired the Membership Committee and Advocacy Committee during his tenure. Mr. Tse is the co-founder and serves on the Board of the Asian American Legal Foundation and was named one of the best lawyers under 40 by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association in 2005.

Mr. Tse holds a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned Phi Beta Kappa honors and graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School.

We look forward to seeing you at the Annual Dinner. For more information and tickets, click here on the following link: https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1223619