NAPABA Denounces Use of Racist Language to Describe Coronavirus

Please read below a statement released by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association on March 18, 2020:

Using the terms ‘Chinese virus’ and ‘Wuhan virus’ to describe the coronavirus and COVID-19 is inaccurate and unacceptable. This disease does not discriminate. We cannot allow racism to rise as we come together to take on this challenge. NAPABA calls on the President and other leaders to stop using this harmful and xenophobic language.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recognized using such terms creates harmful stigma against ethnic and minority groups, further endangering public health. Discriminatory language distracts from the problem before us, and only perpetuates unfounded misinformation.

The stereotypes associated with this language have led to a rise in anti-Asian bias and racist attacks related to the coronavirus. NAPABA 
spoke out against this bias and joined a coalition of over 260 organizations, including our member bar associations, calling for leaders to focus on unity and denouncing anti-Asian attacks, xenophobia, and racist language. 

We ask you to do your part to combat racism and promote unity in response to this challenge. Know the facts and encourages others to do the same by referring to the 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Strategic Lessons from within China for Responding to COVID-19

Committee of 100’s teleconference series: Strategic Lessons from within China for Responding to COVID-19

About this Event

Committee of 100 (C100) is launching a teleconference series, Strategic Lessons from within China for Responding to COVID-19. The series will feature business executives and education leaders with experiences on the ground in China responding to the coronavirus, offering timely and actionable advice to American job creators and educators.

With each passing day, American job creators are concerned about how the outbreak will impact not only their bottom line, but the livelihoods of their employees. Meanwhile, schools and universities are closing to protect their students, faculty, and staff. Americans are feeling fearful and uncertain, and would benefit greatly from hearing from leaders within China who have struggled with and navigated similar complexities.

The series begins with discussions featuring C100 members David Ho moderated by Richard Lui, Wednesday, 3/25 at 2pm ET. Richard was was the MC for AABANY’s Annual Dinner for many years. The second session will feature Dr. Anning Chen, CEO of Ford China on March 30 at 9pm Eastern Time. The sessions will be moderated.

For more detail on this series, read more here.

NAPABA Cancellations & Postponements: Lobby Day Canceled I Call for Programs Deadline Extended

Please see below an important message from NAPABA:

As we continue to monitor the situation regarding the coronavirus, we at NAPABA have had to make changes to our association calendar. One of these changes was a tough decision; the other was simple.

Lobby Day

Reluctantly, NAPABA is canceling Lobby Day, originally scheduled for May 18-19

Out of concern for your safety, the safety of your families, and all whom you may come in contact with, we are following the advice of the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) to suspend all events that may attract 50 or more people scheduled for the next eight weeks. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

We are working with the Thompson Hotel to cancel reservations for those who have already secured lodging.

As current events demonstrate, advocacy on behalf of our communities remains as important as ever. NAPABA continues to work with Congress, the Administration, our partner organizations, and our affiliated bar associations to address our immediate challenges and maintain the relationships we will need to continue to represent our communities. We encourage you to continue to speak out, contact your elected officials and local leaders, and continue to work with your local bars in partnership with NAPABA to make a difference for our communities.

NAPABA Convention Call for Programs

A second calendar adjustment involves our deadline for the 2020 NAPABA Convention Call for Programs. The deadline has been extended to April 20 at 5 p.m. ET to provide you more time to submit your proposal. 

We understand that the current situation may impact your ability to secure speakers for your program ideas as people’s schedules change. We want to reassure you that the CLE Committee will take the current events into consideration upon reviewing the submissions and will not count the lack of “confirmed” speakers against your submission. 

We still encourage you to include those who have expressed interest in speaking on your program as “confirmed” speakers, but we understand that their availability may change. 

We look forward to receiving your program submissions by Monday, April 20

Please be safe and stay healthy!

Call for Programs Quicklinks: 

Update on Services During COVID – 19 Pandemic From Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security

Please see below this important news release from the Commissioner of Social Security:

I want you to hear directly from me how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our services.  The first thing you should know is that we continue to pay benefits.  Be aware that scammers may try to trick you into thinking the pandemic is stopping your Social Security payments but that is not true.  Don’t be fooled. 

To protect you and help stop the spread of this coronavirus, we cannot accept visitors in our offices at this time.  There are several other ways you can get help.  Many services are available online at www.socialsecurity.gov.   If you have a critical need that you cannot address online, we can help you over the phone.

Please visit our COVID-19 web page at www.socialsecurity.gov/coronavirus/ to find out what services we are continuing and which ones we are suspending, how to contact us, and important information about deadlines we are extending to ease the burden on you and medical providers during this pandemic.

From NAPABA: Prepare for the 2020 Census

Census Day is April 1

This month, households across the country will receive letters inviting them to fill out their 2020 Census forms online. Are you ready to fill yours out? Are you ready for the questions you may get as a lawyer about the Census?

Everyone should be counted in the Census, regardless of language ability, immigration status, age, income or identity. Unfortunately, in some communities there is misinformation, confusion, and fear about participating. And others, like the AAPI community, are historically undercounted.

If our communities don’t fill out the Census, they lose out on electoral power and representation, funding, resources and access to services in their language. As lawyers and community leaders, we are in a position to dispel myths and help our communities get counted.

In light of concerns about the coronavirus, Census officials are encouraging individuals to fill out the form online or by mail. For more information about the Census and the Coronavirus, please visit CountUsIn2020.org.

Four Things You Can Do to Help:

Watch and share the Census Bureau’s videos, in English and over sixty other languages, on how to fill out the Census online.

Share the in-language Census resources in your community and with your clients.

Share the AAPI in-language “About the Census” videos on social media.

Learn what lawyers and bar associations can do to protect the public.

NAPABA, the South Asian Bar Association of North American and Asian Americans Advancing Justice developed resources for AAPI lawyers about the upcoming Census. Find more materials, including in-language resources and videos, at napaba.org/census and CountUsIn2020.org.

Together we can ensure our communities are counted!

Questions about the Census?  You can contact NAPABA two ways:

  • Call the census language hotline, for answers to questions in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Urdu, Hindi, and Bengali/Bangla.  Call 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM Eastern Time at 844-2020-API or 844-202-0274.
  • Go to https://www.countusin2020.org/hotline

Notice from the NYS Unified Court System: New York Courts Emergency Alert Portal

We are sharing the announcement below that was circulated by NYSBA:

Effective January 30, 2020, the Court System has initiated a new system – the New York Courts Emergency Alert Portal (“Portal”) — to send out notifications about court closures and other UCS emergencies. The new Portal is hosted by NYAlert, a state public notification platform with a well-established record of reliable performance, and will replace Twitter notifications. Among other new features, the Portal will allow users to receive information about specific counties of their choosing, and to select their preferred method of notification (text, phone and/or email). Attorneys who are currently registered for Twitter announcement will need to register for the Portal at www.nycourts.gov/alerts/.

During a brief transition period, we will be sending out alerts through both Twitter and the Portal. We anticipate discontinuing use of Twitter for emergency alerts on or about March 15, 2020.

If you or your members have any questions on this subject, please contact Barbara Zahler-Gringer at: NYCourtAlert@nycourts.gov.

AABANY Goes to the Theater: “Cambodian Rock Band”

On Sunday, February 16, a group of AABANY members and friends, including AABANY Co-Founder Rocky Chin, Executive Director Yang Chen, Board Director Chris Kwok, Director of Technology Francis Chin, GSPI Committee Co-Chair Kevin Hsi, and Women’s Committee Co-Chair Yan Sin, went to see “Cambodian Rock Band.” The play is written by Lauren Yee, currently in residence at Signature Theater off-Broadway, steps away from the bright lights of Times Square. The all-Asian cast features six talented performers who play multiple roles, including as band members of a fictional band, the Cyclos. While the band is made up, the music they play is not, featuring Cambodian pop songs from the ’60s and ’70s. The story flashes back and forth between Cambodia in the 1970s, when the Khmer Rouge came to power, and modern day Cambodia, as a father and daughter come to grips with the legacy of a country torn apart by trauma, tragedy and war crimes.

Before the play started, the AABANY group got to meet and chat with Lauren Yee, who was busily greeting audience members as they gathered in the spacious lobby on the second floor, right outside the theater. She handed out “Cambodian Rock Band” buttons and happily spoke with us about her play and its journey to the New York stage. The play itself was gripping and powerful, and the talented cast not only sang and performed numerous songs, many in Cambodian, they also told a touching and compelling story about the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge’s reign in Cambodia. After the show, our group also got to meet members of the cast, who engaged with audience members that were hanging out in the lobby after the show, talking to them about the play and also taking photos with them.

“Cambodian Rock Band” was a worthwhile and moving theatrical experience, and we highly recommend that you go and see it. The play opened on February 4 and runs through March 15. Catch it before it closes! More details here.

Allen & Overy Hosts AABANY’s 2020 Annual Meeting of Members

On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, AABANY held its Annual Meeting of Members at Allen & Overy. President Brian Song called the meeting to order and established quorum. Elections were held for the 2020 Board of Officers and Directors, along with a vote on bylaw revisions to clarify and extend term limits.

President Brian Song presented the Year in Review while Executive Director, Yang Chen, presented the report of the Committees. After the reports, awards were presented to honor AABANY leaders and committees for their dedication to AABANY over the past year. While these presentations were occuring, Immediate Past President James R. Cho and President-Elect Sapna Palla tallied the votes.

The following officers were elected and will begin their term on April 1, 2020:

Terrence L. Shen
President-Elect

Tiffany Miao
Vice President, Programs and Operations

David Sohn
Vice President, Programs and Operations

Margaret Ling
Development Director

William Hao
Treasurer

Christopher Bae
Secretary

Beatrice Leong
Membership Director

The following candidates were elected as Directors to serve two-year terms starting on April 1, 2020:

Jasmine Ball
Una A. Dean
Edward Y. Kim
Naf Kwun
Won Shin
Kazuko Wachter

Congratulations to all the Officers and Directors who were elected to the Board.

The bylaw revisions were passed.

The following awards were presented:

Committee of the Year: The Young Lawyers Committee

For their outstanding contributions in promoting AABANY’s mission and their service to our members and the community at large.

Program of the Year: The AABANY Trial Reenactments Project under the auspices of the Professional Development Committee 

For enhancing and contributing to public understanding and awareness of major contributions by Asian Americans to the social, political and legal history of the United States.

Member of the Year: Beatrice Leong

For her contributions to the growth of AABANY’s membership under her leadership as Membership Director.

Congratulations to all the honorees for the recognition of their achievements and hard work during the 2019 fiscal year.

We would like to thank our members for attending and participating in the annual meeting, and we also thank John Hwang and Allen & Overy for hosting the meeting in a beautiful space, treating us to a delectable selection of food and drinks.

AABANY Congratulates Kenneth Chin as Recipient of the NYSBA 2020 Diversity Trailblazer Award

AABANY congratulates Kenneth Chin on being presented with the New York State Bar Association’s Diversity Trailblazer Award at the John E. Higgins, Esq. Diversity Trailblazer Award Ceremony on Jan. 27, 2020 at the New York Hilton Midtown. Ken is a Partner and the Banking and Finance Chair at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP and longstanding member of AABANY. The award recognizes Ken for his transformative work to promote and achieve diversity and inclusion at his firm and in New York’s Asian American community.

Read our full press release here.

First General Interest Meeting Held for Proposed Family and Elder Law Committee

Over 20 people attended the first general interest meeting of the proposed Family and Elder Law Committee on January 21 at Kleyman Law Firm. The Family and Elder Law Committee seeks to provide legal practitioners and the community with valuable resources, networking opportunities, and CLE workshops that address issues related to divorce, custody, support, child abuse/neglect, domestic violence, long-term care planning, advanced directives, and guardianship.

The Family and Elder Law committee hopes to provide an outlet to support the members that practice in these fields and provide guidance to other attorneys who do not. Participating members of the committee can learn from experienced family, matrimonial and elder law attorneys regarding these issues. There will be many opportunities to advocate, volunteer, take on pro bono cases and network with legal professionals in these fields.

We were honored to have Alvin Tsang, who wrote and directed his documentary film about immigration and divorce, Reunification, join us. We hope to co-sponsor the screening of his film in March/April. We discussed many great ideas of having mediation trainings, holding workshops on Know Your Rights, and  reaching out to other not-for-profit organizations for sponsorship and collaboration. Your inputs are greatly appreciated and we hope to implement them moving forward.

For more information, please contact Yan Sin – sinsengyan(a)gmail.com; Beatrice Leong – leongbeatrice(a)gmail.com; and May Wong – maywong.esq(a)gmail.com.

Last but not least, many thanks to Beatrice Leong and her firm, Kleyman Law Firm, who lent us the space for this inspirational meeting and Yan Sin for providing the Maury show souvenirs for our raffle winners!