We are proud to present the next Fireside Chat as part of a series of discussions produced in partnership with the New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Taskforce. This will be a meaningful opportunity to provide education to Mandarin-speaking communities across New York State, and we want to encourage as much attendance as possible.
AABANY is proud to launch its official podcast series, The Whole Lawyer Project, hosted by Jane Jeong, which showcases Asian American attorneys and leaders throughout the nation and the human stories behind their success.
Most recently, Jane shared her story with Law360, in an article entitled The Pursuit Of Wellness In BigLaw: Lessons From My Journey (subscription required). In a heartfelt account, Jane opened up about mental health and wellness issues in Big Law — including her personal experiences with the pressures of the industry, the costs of perfectionism, reaching an emotional breaking point and, as a potential blueprint for others, how she has set boundaries and made changes to her daily routine to take care of herself. “I conflated sacrifice with success and exhaustion with excellence. I just continued to reach and reach — demanding that I become the perfect attorney I knew I was not, waiting for the day I could finally stop acting and just be,” she writes.
Together with Jane, AABANY is proud to further explore the human side of lawyering in The Whole Lawyer Project. The inaugural episodes of the podcast, which feature immediate past AABANY President Brian Song and AboveTheLaw Founder, David Lat, can be found under the tab for The Whole Lawyer Project on the AABANY blog. It can also be found on Spotify and iTunes. For anyone hoping to gain further insight into the human stories behind our external success, it is well worth a listen.
An eight-fold increase in reported hate crimes against Asians, racist rhetoric such as “the Chinese virus,” and insufficient media coverage of anti-Asian violence — these were among the timely issues discussed at a press conference hosted by the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) on February 11. The press conference centered around AABANY and Paul, Weiss’ co-authored report: A Rising Tide of Hate and Violence against Asian Americans in New York During COVID-19: Impact, Causes, Solutions. Speakers of note included:
Chris Kwok, Board Director, Issues Committee Chair
Karen King, Vice Chair, Pro Bono & Community Service Committee; Counsel, Paul, Weiss
U.S. Rep., Grace Meng (D-NY)
Prof. Russell Jeung, Stop AAPI Hate
President Frank Wu, Queens College, CUNY
The report’s primary finding is that anti-Asian hate and violence surged in 2020. Between March and September of that year, the number of reported anti-Asian hate incidents related to COVID-19 exceeded 2,500.
At the press conference, Rep. Meng kickstarted the discussion of this grim reality by situating it against a backdrop of long-standing intolerance toward the AAPI community, which motivated the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Meng condemned some of the nation’s top government officials and social institutions for fanning the flames of this deep-rooted racism. As noted in the report, the xenophobic rhetoric of elected officials, paired with misinformation spread by the media, normalizes and fuels disease-based stigma against Asians. The subsequent uptick in violence against Asian communities motivated Meng to propose and help pass House Resolution 908 in 2020 denouncing all forms of anti-Asian sentiment. While Meng described the bill as largely symbolic, it has since been incorporated into President Biden’s presidential memorandum, which includes concrete measures to disseminate COVID-19 resources in different languages and improve the collection of data on hate crimes. Meng’s fight to amplify voices within the AAPI community thus lights the path forward. “We’ve taken a positive step — an initial step — but we must continue to speak out whenever and wherever anti-Asian sentiment rises,” said Meng.
A similar desire to spotlight the plight of AAPIs motivated Chris Kwok to serve as an executive editor for the report on anti-Asian violence. Since the onset of the pandemic, Kwok noted at the conference, there has not been a single prosecution or civil resolution for any incident of anti-Asian bias. A key purpose of the report is thus to show that Asian invisibility in the political and legal space has real-life consequences. Moving forward, Kwok hopes to inspire a constructive dialogue among Asians and other Americans alike. To that end, the report highlights seven initiatives that will help policyholders at all levels keep communities safe and hold perpetrators of violence accountable. These initiatives range from broad prescriptions, such as public education campaigns and collaboration among minority groups, to specific remedies, such as clear reporting mechanisms for victims and the more consistent prosecution of hate crimes.
Professor Russell Jeung continued the discussion of possible solutions to anti-Asian hate incidents while echoing his concern about the divisive effects of COVID-19. Drawing from data he helped collect for Stop AAPI Hate, Jeung said that among United States cities, New York City reported the second-highest number of hate incidents in the past year. Assessing the range of anti-Asian hate incidents reported to Stop AAPI Hate, the report notes a concerning number of incidents involving verbal harassment, physical assault, and being coughed and spat on. Worse still, the youth and the elderly are the most common victims of racist attacks and consequent racial trauma. Among its federal recommendations to address this issue, Stop AAPI Hate proposes to expand civil rights protections for AAPIs experiencing discrimination, end the racial profiling of Chinese researchers, and mobilize a federal interagency response to anti-Asian hate amid the pandemic. As Jeung is quick to emphasize, this fight for the civil rights of Asian Americans is a fight to expand protections for all Americans. “Please stand up, speak out, build bridges, and together we can make good on the promise of a diverse democracy,” said Jeung.
In promoting the proposals of Stop AAPI Hate and the report, for which he wrote the foreword, Queens College President Frank Wu highlighted the importance of building multi-racial coalitions. Wu identified Black, Latinx, and other underrepresented communities as allies to the AAPI community. As emphasized in the report, stronger collaboration among such minority groups is especially critical in communities like New York City, whose diversity heightens the danger that hate incidents exacerbate racial politics. “It would be a mistake of principle and pragmatism to point the finger at another group and suggest that others are guilty by association,” said Wu. Instead, we must look to universal values and American ideals as forces for national unity. As Wu writes in the foreword to the report, “To be Asian American is to be American, to express confidence enough in an experiment of self-governance to participate wholeheartedly.”
Rep. Meng concluded the press conference by calling on all Americans, especially those raised in the United States, to identify and combat racism when it occurs within their own circles. Meng stated that too often, stories of victims from the AAPI community are left out of mainstream media and the public consciousness. Along with implementing the aforementioned policy recommendations, therefore, Meng emphasized the need for racial solidarity. Only then can Americans progress toward the shared goal of dismantling systemic racism in this country and advancing justice for all.
Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) congratulates NAPABA Trailblazer, California Labor Secretary Julie Su, on her nomination to be Deputy Secretary of Labor in the Biden-Harris administration.
“California Labor Secretary Julie Su currently oversees the largest state labor department in the country and is an exceptionally well-qualified candidate to serve as Deputy Secretary of Labor,” said A. B. Cruz III, president of NAPABA. “Julie is a nationally recognized expert on workers’ rights and civil rights and has spent a large portion of her career advocating for the immigrant community. 2020 has been a difficult year for most Americans, but even in the face of a pandemic and severe economic decline, as California Labor Secretary, Julie led the state through decisive actions and creative solutions to rescue California businesses. With a state economy of over $3.2 trillion that spans diverse industries, NAPABA is confident that her leadership will steer our country toward recovery and opportunity. Our strong support of her underscores the importance of having public servants who are representative of the American people: whether it’s race, gender or socioeconomic status.”
Prior to her role as California Labor Secretary, Su was California Labor Commissioner, Litigation Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles and has taught at UCLA Law School and Northeastern Law School. Su was a recipient of the 2019 American Bar Association Margaret Brent Award and a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s “Genius” Grant. She is a graduate from Harvard Law School and Stanford University.
NAPABA advocated for and strongly supported Julie Su’s nomination. We thank President Biden for nominating Julie Su to Deputy Secretary of Labor.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents 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 in government and the judiciary on the local, state, and federal levels, 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.
On February 4, Governor Cuomo issued a proclamation recognizing Lunar New Year Day as a deep-rooted day of celebration for Asian and Pacific Islander communities. February 12 will mark the beginning of the “Year of the Ox,” an animal whose association with hard work and diligence has universal relevance amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In these challenging times, Governor Cuomo calls upon all New Yorkers to “join in spirit with our Asian and Pacific Islander communities and wish them the very best in welcoming Lunar New Year 4719, as we look forward to an end to the worldwide suffering and loss in the near future and to peace and good health for all.”