NAPABA Receives Grant from American Arbitration Association’s International Centre for Dispute Resolution Foundation to Combat Anti-Asian Bullying in Schools

In recognition of October as National Bullying Prevention month, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is proud to announce that the American Arbitration Association’s International Centre for Dispute Resolution (AAA-ICDR) Foundation has awarded it grant funding under its Rapid Response Fund which focuses on conflict-resolution initiatives helping Asian American/Pacific Islander communities combat the surge in anti-Asian hate across the United States. 

“NAPABA is grateful to the AAA-ICDR Foundation for its generous support on this critical project,” said A.B. Cruz III, president of NAPABA. “With thousands of cases of anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents—and seemingly no end in sight—we must do all we can to protect the most vulnerable victims of hate—children, and stand up for them harnessing the power of our nationwide network of affiliates as trained advocates.”  

The award, made through the NAPABA Law Foundation, will be used, in part, to develop a toolkit to combat COVID-19-driven anti-Asian bullying in schools as well as for other anti-bullying advocacy efforts. The toolkit will seek to equip and train NAPABA affiliates on legal and non-legal responses alike and provide best practices on how to interact with school officials. The toolkit is aimed at educating not only NAPABA lawyers on conducting best advocacy practices, but also to help families, students, educators, and communities understand the availability of remedies including appropriate alternative dispute resolution approaches to addressing anti-Asian bullying. For more on the AAA-ICDR Foundation and its Rapid Response efforts to combat the surge in anti-Asian hate, please visit here

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 APA 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.

NAPABA Congratulates Judge Florence Pan on her Confirmation to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) congratulates Judge Florence Pan on her historic and overwhelmingly bipartisan (68-30) confirmation to serve as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Judge Pan will become the first Asian Pacific American (APA) woman to serve as an Article III judge in the District of Columbia.

In 2009, Judge Pan was nominated by President Obama to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and was confirmed by unanimous consent by the Senate. She was the first judicial nominee to be confirmed under the Obama Administration, and became the first APA judge to be appointed to any court in the District of Columbia. Judge Pan has over a decade of judicial experience serving in the Criminal, Family Court, and Civil Divisions, and has presided over more than 650 trials. She also has sat by designation on the D.C. Court of Appeals twice.

“Judge Florence Pan, who has ably served our nation’s capital for over a decade on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, is now the first Asian American woman to serve on the U.S. District Court,” said A.B. Cruz III, President of NAPABA. “NAPABA applauds the Senate’s historic bipartisan vote confirming this eminently qualified jurist.” Previously, Judge Pan served for 10 years as an Assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, including two years as the deputy chief of the appellate division. She also held positions in the Department of the Treasury and at Main Justice, notably in the Office of the Solicitor General. Judge Pan taught at Georgetown University Law Center and American University, Washington College of Law, and is active in her community having served as the Secretary of NAPABA’s Judicial Council.

Judge Pan is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford Law School. Following law school, she clerked for the Honorable Ralph K. Winter, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the Honorable Michael B. Mukasey of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

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 APA 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.

NAPABA Receives Grant from The Asian American Foundation to Serve as National Network Partner for Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Response

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is proud to announce that The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) has named it a National Network partner in its investment, coordination, and collaboration efforts to combat anti-Asian hate. NAPABA, along with other leading advocacy organizations, has received initial grant funding to support ongoing activities in anti-hate tracking, protection, response, and prevention measures. TAAF has invited NAPABA to partner in this effort in part due to recognizing NAPABA’s work in building a national civil rights infrastructure that harnesses the legal power, strength in numbers, geographic diversity, and linguistic abilities of NAPABA’s nearly 90 affiliated Asian Pacific American organizations.

“TAAF recognizes that the prolonged underinvestment in Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) populations resulted in our communities being unprepared for, and more vulnerable to the most recent onslaught in anti-Asian hate,” said A.B. Cruz III, president of NAPABA. “We are grateful not only to be a grant recipient, but also an ongoing partner with TAAF and its network of organizations dedicated to the common cause of protecting our AAPI populations.”

To address anti-AAPI hate locally, TAAF is piloting AAPI Action Centers led by on-the-ground partner organizations that will serve as hubs for addressing hate in their respective cities. These Action Centers will first be piloted in New York City, Chicago, and Oakland. Each Action Center will be connected to each other, and they will feed into the umbrella of TAAF’s Anti-Hate National Network to ensure best practices are being transmitted between the national and local levels of work. NAPABA intends to leverage its strength in numbers—which includes three affiliates in New York City, five in Chicago, and 10 affiliates in northern California—to contribute its expertise in assisting hate crimes and help hate incident victims seek pro bono legal assistance.

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 APA 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.

NAPABA Donates $10,000 to Assist AAPI Crime Victims

On September 21, 2021, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), proudly announced an award of $10,000 to the AAPI Crime Victims and Education Fund (“Fund”) to support the Fund’s efforts to assist crime victims and implement educational programs specifically aimed at reducing violence targeted against the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) population across the nation. Created by NAPABA affiliate the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association (GAPABA) and the GAPABA Law Foundation out of the aftermath of the Atlanta spa shootings, the Fund will provide emergency monies to victims in need of urgent assistance. The Korean American Bar Association of Georgia (KABA-GA) is also a founding partner. The Fund is also committed to raising awareness about rights of AAPIs, providing linguistic access to justice, and supporting other educational activities such as bystander training.

“NAPABA is honored to support the AAPI Crime Victims and Education Fund and all the critical work the Fund will undertake not only to help victims recover from the wounds of anti-Asian hate crimes, but the affirmative educational work that will help prevent future hate from occurring,” said A.B. Cruz III, President of NAPABA. “The Fund’s mission aligns with NAPABA’s priorities of forging meaningful relationships between law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to protect, as well as combating stereotypes, and raising awareness and visibility of AAPI’s not only in legal circles, but in civic life in this country.”

“GAPABA is grateful for NAPABA’s continuing support and collaboration in our shared goal of ensuring that AAPIs remain visible and receive the support they need,” said Angela Hsu, President of GAPABA. “While we have launched the AAPI Crime Victims and Education Fund from Georgia, which became the epicenter for the rebirth of an anti-Asian hatred movement in the wake of the Atlanta spa shootings, we recognize that AAPIs around the country have been systemically overlooked for philanthropy, crime victim support, and other social services. This is why we established the fund to operate at a national level.” The Fund is currently overseen by the GAPABA Law Foundation, which is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and has an Advisory Board consisting of legal and community leaders from across the United States. The effort is led by a six-person volunteer executive committee, consisting of Angela Hsu, of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, and President of GAPABA; BJay Pak, of Alston & Bird LLP, former U.S. Attorney, N.D. Georgia; Christopher Chan, of Eversheds Sutherland; Edward Sohn, of Factor Law, Inc, and the GAPABA Law Foundation; Sara Hamilton, of Thompson Hine LLP, President of KABA-GA; and Timothy Wang, of Delta Air Lines, and President Elect of GAPABA. To contribute to the Fund please visit GAPABA Law Foundation for details.

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 APA 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.

NAPABA Statement on the Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) expresses its grave concern at the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan. The United States has historically been a beacon to those fleeing oppression and persecution, and NAPABA has long championed resettlement and humanitarian protections for refugees and asylum seekers. In the case of Afghan nationals who have risked their lives to support the efforts of the United States government or the International Security Assistance Force, including as interpreters, NAPABA urges the Administration to expeditiously safeguard, evacuate, and process at-risk Special Immigrant Visa eligible persons and ensure that our refugee and asylum system is equipped to handle the influx of those facing immediate threat by the Taliban, including women, children, and religious, and ethnic minorities.

“As a former flag officer in the United States Navy, I greatly appreciate the danger and risk that our Afghan colleagues assumed in order to support the global war on terrorism in Afghanistan and to secure the country from the repressive rule of the Taliban, who banned education for girls, and severely restricted the rights and freedom of women,” said A.B. Cruz III, President of NAPABA. “We must ensure that those who risked so much to support our mission are not forgotten or left behind, and that women, children, and others at risk can be protected.”


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 APA 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.

NAPABA President A.B. Cruz III Testifies before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property on the Importance of a Diverse Federal Judiciary

For Immediate Release: 
Date: July 12, 2021

Contact: Edgar Chen, Policy Director

Click here for Testimony.

WASHINGTON – This morning, NAPABA President A.B. Cruz III testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property at a hearing entitled, “The Importance of a Diverse Federal Judiciary, Part 2: The Selection and Confirmation Process.” President Cruz’s testimony on behalf of NAPABA highlighted the challenges that Asian Pacific American attorneys often encounter as they attempt to advance in the legal profession. According to the 2017 landmark study “A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law” (“Portrait Project”) published jointly by NAPABA and Yale Law School, the most often cited issues are lack of mentorship and role models, lack of leadership training, and work going unrecognized. President Cruz’s testimony also drew on the Portrait Projects finding that the selection process for clerkships or law firm promotion – often a prerequisite for judicial consideration, involves not only measures of objective criteria but also access to mentorship and subjective criteria which are often amorphous factors that decision makers rely on to determine whom they regard as their proteges. President Cruz was joined on the panel by his Coalition of Bar Associations of Color (CBAC) colleague and Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) President Elia Diaz Yeager.

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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 APA 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..

Coalition of Affinity Bars Stand in Unity for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Continuing Legal Education

For Immediate Release: 
Date: July 7, 2021

Contact: Edgar Chen, Policy Director

WASHINGTON- 
The Coalition of Bar Associations of Color (CBAC) – the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the National Bar Association (NBA), and the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA) – together with the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association, and the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA-North America) stand united in their support of efforts to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in continuing legal education (CLE) and in opposition to the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling and amendments to the Florida Bar Rules on diversity requirements for CLE programming. As national organizations dedicated to advancing equality and opportunity for underrepresented and historically marginalized members of the legal profession, diversity, equity, and inclusion are of paramount importance to our communities. Diversity on CLE panels benefits both panelists who are recognized for their expertise, as well as audience members who can be inspired by seeing those with similar backgrounds or experiences serving as role models and educators in the legal profession. Moreover, CLE participants may well benefit from hearing from panelists who bring unique and diverse perspectives that they may not have been exposed to previously.

“The objective of the ABA policy and the Florida CLE Diversity Policy is not to exclude anyone, but to ensure inclusion,” argued CK Hoffler, a Florida Bar member and President of the NBA in the NBA’s submission to the Supreme Court. “No one is displaced nor denied an opportunity to participate because of these new policies. African-African attorneys founded the NBA, due in large part because of exclusion. Today, there remains a need to ensure the inclusion of African American attorneys in the legal field and include African American attorneys in the discussion of legal issues.”

“As bar associations dedicated to the advancement of equality and opportunity for APA attorneys, NAPABA and its Florida affiliates believe it is imperative to feature a diverse range of views, experiences and backgrounds in CLE programs in order to address the critical gaps in mentors, connections and role models that are so important for career advancement,” wrote A.B. Cruz III, President of NAPABA in a joint filing before the Court submitted with Florida-based affiliates. “Panelists benefit from recognition as experts which burnishes their credentials, and audience members can be inspired by witnessing those with similar backgrounds or experiences serving as role models and educators in the profession.”

“Diversity is vital to ensuring equal justice under the law and to public confidence in our legal system,” said Elia Diaz-Yaeger, HNBA National President. “If we want to move in the right direction, we must work to ensure a greater diversity across our profession that is representative of the people and communities we represent. That kind of positive change does not happen on its own; it requires bold action and leadership. We urge the Court to clarify its order to permit inclusive diversity policies for CLE courses.”

“In Florida, with a Native American population of over 125,000 and two federally recognized tribes, American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian people are grossly underrepresented in the legal profession and strikingly so in the judiciary,” said Colleen Lamarre, President of the National Native American Bar Association. “The ABA policy and the Florida Bar Business Law Section’s CLE Diversity Policy are aimed at ensuring that CLE programing reflects the local population and advances the voices of historically marginalized groups. Representation and visibility through the continuing legal education process is critical to guaranteeing that the voices of indigenous people are heard and that the local and national attorney population, the pipeline of future attorneys, and our clients benefit and learn from interactions with Native American attorneys and their professional and cultural experiences.”

“Ensuring that diverse points of view are recognized and promoted throughout the legal profession is a primary goal of the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association,” said Lousene Hoppe, LGBTQ+ Bar Association President. “We support the efforts of the ABA and the Business Law Section of the Florida Bar to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion on CLE panels, and we oppose the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling and amendments to the Florida Bar Rules on diversity requirements for CLE programming.”

“SABA North America is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the entire legal profession in North America,” said Samir Mehta, President of SABA North America. “We are committed to seeing this diversity reflected through lawyers of all backgrounds and identities. In Florida, there is only one Asian Pacific American on the federal bench in the entire state and such jurists represent less than one percent of state court judges there. This level of underrepresentation is unacceptable and we look forward to seeing more judges from all marginalized and historically underrepresented backgrounds added, including Asian American and South Asian American judges. In the arena of continuing legal education, we hope that the Florida Supreme Court will recognize that inclusion of different viewpoints will serve as an inspiration for the entire bar. We also hope this will prove that historically underrepresented or marginalized communities are not only welcome, but have much to contribute to our common goal of advancing justice.”

With the stated goals to eliminate bias, increase diversity, and implement efforts aimed at recruiting and retaining diverse attorneys, the Business Law Section (BLS) of the Florida Bar set forth a policy preference whereby the BLS would only sponsor, co-sponsor, or seek accreditation for any CLE program that had minimum numbers of diverse panelists, although the policy also had built in flexibility allowing for exemptions in the event that, after a diligent search, diverse panelists could not participate. In April, on its motion, the Florida Supreme Court struck down this policy characterizing it as “tainted by…discrimination,” and analogizing it to university admissions cases where the Supreme Court of the United States prohibited quotas based on race, even though the policy does not exclude or foreclose the participation of any panelist on a CLE program based on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability or any other characteristic. The Florida Supreme Court then re-wrote the Florida Bar rules to prohibit the approval of any CLE programs that use quotas based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, disability or sexual orientation of course faculty or participants. The ruling means that licensed Floridian attorneys would be banned from receiving CLE credit for attending an ABA-sponsored CLE program, as the ABA has a similar diversity policy.

For more information please contact:
HNBA Contact: Daniel Herrera
NAPABA Contact: Edgar Chen 
NBA Contact: Wanda Flowers
NNABA Contact: Colleen Lamarre 
LGBTQ+ Bar Contact: D’Arcy Kemnitz 
SABA-NA Contact: Jasmine Singh 

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The Coalition of Bar Associations of Color (CBAC) was established in 1992 and is comprised of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the National Bar Association (NBA), and the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA). The HNBA is an incorporated, nonprofit, nonpartisan, national membership organization that represents the interests of more than 67,000 Hispanic legal professionals and as well as the close to 13 percent of law students enrolled in ABA accredited law schools in the United States and its territories. We are committed to advocacy on issues of importance to the 61 million people of Hispanic heritage living in the U.S. From the days of its founding three decades ago, the HNBA has acted as a force for positive change within the legal profession. It does so by encouraging Hispanic students to choose a career in the law and by prompting their advancement within the profession once they graduate and start practicing. Through a combination of issue advocacy, programmatic activities, networking events and educational conferences, the HNBA has helped generations of lawyers succeed. For more information about HNBA, visit www.hnba.com.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of over 60,000 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 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 color in the legal profession. For additional information about NAPABA, visit www.napaba.org.

Founded in 1925, the NBA is the nation’s oldest and largest national network of minority attorneys and judges. It represents approximately 66,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students and has over 80 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and around the world. The organization seeks to advance the science of jurisprudence, preserve the independence of the judiciary and to uphold the honor and integrity of the legal profession. For additional information about the National Bar Association, visit www.nationalbar.org.

Founded in 1973, the NNABA serves as the national association for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. NNABA strives for justice and effective legal representation for all American indigenous peoples; fosters the development of Native American lawyers and judges; and addresses social, cultural and legal issues affecting American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. For additional information about NNABA, visit www.nativeamericanbar.org.

The National LGBTQ+ Bar was founded over thirty years ago by a small group of family law practitioners at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis. In 1987, the idea of creating a gay and lesbian bar association was formally introduced at the Lesbian & Gay March on Washington. The first Lavender Law® Conference took place the following year at the Golden Gate University in San Francisco. In 1989, at the American Bar Association’s Mid-Year meeting, bylaws were presented, and a nonprofit board of directors was formalized. At the second board meeting in 1989 in Boston, the LGBT Bar, then known as the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association (NLGLA), had 293 paid members, and initiated a campaign to ask the ABA to include protection based on sexual orientation to its revision of the Model Code of Judicial Conduct for Judges. In 1992, the LGBT Bar became an official affiliate of the American Bar Association and it now works closely with the ABA’s Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities and its Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. For more information about the LGBTQ+ Bar, visit www.lgbtbar.org.

SABA North America was founded in 2002 to strengthen the rapidly growing South Asian legal community with a recognized and trusted forum for professional growth and development, and promotes the civil rights and access to justice for the South Asian community. With 29 chapters throughout the United States and Canada, SABA attorneys work in all areas of the law, including at large law firms, as in-house counsel, government attorneys, and solo practitioners. SABA hosts an Annual Conference, annual Lobby Day, and numerous other successful programs throughout the year. For more information about SABA North America, visit www.sabanorthamerica.com.

NAPABA and Florida Affiliates File Comments Before Florida Supreme Court to Uphold Diversity and Inclusion in Continuing Legal Education

For Immediate Release: Date: June 29, 2021

Contact: Edgar Chen, Policy Director

WASHINGTON –The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), together with the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Tampa Bay (APABA-TB), the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of South Florida (APABA-SF), the Greater Orlando Asian American Bar Association (GOAABA), and the Jacksonville Asian American Bar Association (JAABA) (collectively, “Florida Affiliates”) filed comments today before the Florida Supreme Court in response to the Court’s April 15 ruling prohibiting the Florida Bar from approving and providing credit for any continuing legal education (CLE) courses employing certain diversity requirements for CLE panels. NAPABA, its Florida Affiliates, and all affiliates across the nation serve to promote justice, equity, and opportunity for Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) and to foster professional development, legal scholarship, advocacy, and community involvement benefiting persons of all colors and backgrounds.

Today’s filing documents the critical need for diversity, equity, and inclusion in CLE programming both in Florida and across the country. As APAs remain underrepresented at nearly every level of the legal profession, NAPABA and its Florida Affiliates urge the Florida Supreme Court to recognize that fostering diversity is an increasingly necessary component to the successful functioning of the American legal system. The submission argues that the Florida Bar’s diversity policies are inclusive and would not exclude any person, perspective, or viewpoint from a CLE program based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, as the Florida Supreme Court believed, when it described the policy as “tainted by …discrimination.” Instead, as the filing notes, the stated goal of the policy was to eliminate bias, increase diversity, and implement tactics aimed at recruiting and retaining diverse attorneys.

“The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) values diversity, equity, inclusion, and opportunity for members of the APA legal community and persons from all backgrounds,” said A.B. Cruz III, President of NAPABA. “Meaningful representation, including on CLE panels, is a chance for panelists and participants to recognize that APA lawyers are here to contribute to the advancement of legal education.”

“The Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Tampa Bay (APABA of Tampa Bay) is proud to join with our fellow Florida APA bar associations in underscoring the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion in continuing legal education,” said Hannah Choi, President-Elect of APABA of Tampa Bay.  “In Florida there are over 760,000 Asian Pacific American residents, yet there is only a small percentage of APA lawyers in the state.  In a profession where APAs are underrepresented, diversity, equity, and inclusion matter and benefit all current and future members of the bar.”

“For the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of South Florida (APABA-SF), diversity, equity, and inclusion are not merely buzzwords, but are significant and meaningful to the APA community,” said Guy Kamealoha Noa, President of APABA-SF.  “As our comments show, APA jurists account for less than ½ percent of all Florida judges.  Having diversity on CLE panels presents an opportunity for participants to learn from their peers of different backgrounds and perspectives, and can inspire others to know they too can be leaders in the Florida Bar. I have witnessed APA attendees comment during a panel presentation that they did not know there were any APA judges in South Florida and how wonderful and inspirational it was for them, as APAs, to see an APA judge. Diversity on CLE panels provides real, meaningful impact on the community.” 

“The Greater Orlando Asian American Bar Association (GOAABA) notes that with anti-Asian hate crimes and hate incidents on the rise across the country, and particularly in Florida, APA voices and faces in the legal community need to be heard and seen,” said Onchantho Am, President of GOABBA. “Florida ranks eighth in the nation for anti-Asian hate incidents.  In these critical times, having a diversity of voices on CLE panels helps the legal community come together and be more united.”   

“The Jacksonville Asian American Bar Association (JAABA) strives to improve representation of APAs in the Floridian legal community,” said Vivile Dietrich, President of JAABA. “Having APA representation in CLEs is just one area where the Florida Bar can do better in terms of raising the visibility of the APAs in the law.  The perspectives of APA legal colleagues regarding their career pathways, practice area expertise, and legal issues affecting the various APA communities, promote authenticity, credibility, and knowledge – not only regarding mentorship opportunities for APA attorneys and law students – but also of APA experiences, cultural views, and concerns for those who represent or otherwise wish to engage and foster deeper relationships with APA community members.” 

“The Filipino-American Lawyers Association of New York (FALA NY) is committed to enhancing the diversity in the profession,” said Ariel Risinger, President of FALA NY. “CLEs are an opportunity to put forth a wide range of perspectives and thought leadership. We strongly support our Florida colleagues in ensuring the profession’s commitment to showcasing the diversity of thought for all generations of lawyers.”

The Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago (AABA Chicago) strongly believes that diversity, equity, and inclusion in CLEs benefit the entire legal profession,” said Kristy Gonowon, President of AABA Chicago. “We stand with our sister affiliates in Florida who are fighting to ensure that all perspectives are seen and heard on CLEs.”

Today’s submission is also supported by the following NAPABA affiliate organizations from around the country: the Arizona Asian American Bar Association, the Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago, the Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts, the Asian American Bar Association of New York, the Asian American Bar Association of Ohio, the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Colorado, the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles, the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania, the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey, the Chinese American Bar Association of Greater Chicago, the Connecticut Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the Dallas Asian American Bar Association, the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago, the Filipino-American Lawyers Association of New York, the Filipino-American Lawyers of Orange County, the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the Korean American Bar Association of Chicago, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association-Hawaii, the National Filipino American Lawyers Association, the Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the Sacramento Filipino American Lawyers Association, the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association, the Thai American Bar Association, and the Vietnamese American Lawyers of Illinois.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the largest Asian Pacific American membership organization representing the interests of approximately 60,000 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 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 color in the legal profession.

NAPABA Statement On House Passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act

For Immediate Release:
Date: May 18, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – Today, the House of Representatives, in an overwhelmingly 364-62 bipartisan vote, passed the Senate-approved version of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act introduced by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) in the House. This legislation requires that the U.S. Department of Justice designate a point person whose sole responsibility is to facilitate the expedited review of hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic and incorporates the Jabara-Heyer No HATE ACT Act which increases resources for hate crimes reporting and assistance for victims of hate crimes.

“NAPABA applauds the House for swiftly passing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which is now headed to the President’s desk for signature,” said NAPABA President A.B. Cruz III.  “Importantly, this law will require the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to issue guidance aimed at raising awareness of hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Asian American communities have, unfortunately, been suffering at the intersection of these twin outbreaks for far too long now.”

The legislation also requires the Department of Justice to issue guidance on establishing online hate crimes and hate incident reporting in multiple languages, authorizes grants for states to create state-run hate crimes reporting hotlines and crime reduction programs to prevent, address, or respond to hate crimes. Finally, for individuals convicted of federal hate crime offenses and placed on supervised release, the bill allows a court to order that the individual participate in educational classes or community service directly related to the community harmed by the defendant’s offense, as a condition of supervised release.

In response to the surge in attacks against Asian Americans in the wake of the pandemic, NAPABA in partnership with the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) have produced a hate crimes reporting toolkit – translated into 25 languages and English – the single largest collection of such different AAPI-language materials assembled, that provides basic and critical information for victims, community based organizations, and community leaders.

The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Bill was introduced by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) in the Senate, and Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) in the House.  The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act was introduced by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) and U.S. Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), Fred Upton (R-MI), Judy Chu (D-CA), and Vern Buchanan (R-FL).  NAPABA thanks them for their leadership.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) in the largest Asian Pacific American membership organization representing 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 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 color in the legal profession.

NAPABA | 1612 K St. NW, Suite 510 | Washington, DC 20006 | www.napaba.org