Franklin H. Williams Presents: “Empowered Asian American Leadership” AAPI Heritage Month Program at 60 Centre Street

On May 18, 2023, the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission presented “Empowered Asian American Leadership” at the New York County Supreme Court at 60 Centre Street, in celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The program was co-sponsored by AABANY, the New York State Unified Court Systems Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Asian American Judges Association of New York, and the Asian Jade Society of the New York State Courts. 

AABANY member Hon. Jeffrey Oing, Associate Justice, Appellate Division, First Department; Commissioner, Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission, introduced the Keynote Address, “The Model Minority Victim,” delivered by AABANY member and former Chair of the AABANY: Anti-Asian Violence Task Force, Professor Elaine M. Chiu of St. John’s University School of Law.

Pre-recorded remarks by Chief Judge Rowan D. Wilson commenced the program. 

Welcome Remarks were provided by:

Hon. Shahabuddeen A. Ally, Supervising Judge, New York County Civil Court and Acting Justice of the New York Supreme Court; President of AAJANY; Commissioner, Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission, and AABANY member

Hon. Troy K. Webber, Associate Justice, Appellate Division, First Department; Co-Chair, Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission

Hon. Richard Rivera, Acting Supreme Court Justice and Supervising Judge of the Family Courts, Third Judicial District; Co-Chair, Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission

Karen Kim, Senior Counsel at QBE North America; President, AABANY

The program also included CLE presentations, introduced by AABANY member Rina Gurung, Judge, Housing Part, New York City Civil Court; Commissioner, Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission.

“The Path to Success and Overcoming Obstacles” was moderated by the Hon. Austin D’Souza, Judge, Civil Court of the City of New York Kings County and AABANY member. Panelists were:

Hon. Zainab A. Chaudhry – Judge, New York State Court of Claims, and AABANY member

Lieutenant Henry Chen– New York County Civil Court, Co-Founder and President, NYSC

Asian Jade Society; Commissioner, Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission

Hon. Raja Rajeswari – Chair, NYC Criminal Court Equal Justice Committee; Chair,

NYS Unified Court System Advisory Committee on Language Access

Hon. Toko Serita– Statewide Coordinating Judge for Problem-Solving Courts, NYS Unified

Court System, and AABANY member

“Positive Action to Combat the Perpetual Foreigner Syndrome and Empowering the Community” was moderated by the AABANY member Hon. Doris Ling-Cohan, former Associate Justice, Appellate Division, First Department; Commissioner, Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission. Panelists were:

Joseb “Joe” Gim, Esq. – Chief, Criminal Court Unit, Kings County District Attorney’s Office

Christina Seid – Community Activist, Entrepreneur, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, and AABANY member

President Frank H. Wu – President, Queens College, The City University of New York (CUNY)

Tony Walters, Director, New York State Unified Court System’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion provided Closing Remarks.

AABANY was privileged and honored to co-sponsor this event and thanks the Franklin H. Williams Commission for organizing it. AABANY thanks the speakers for sharing their knowledge and insights on important issues affecting the AAPI community. For more information about the Williams Commission visit their website at https://ww2.nycourts.gov/ip/ethnic-fairness/index.shtml

NAPABA Announcement: NAPABA 2023-24 Elections Call for Nominations

Deadline June 30 at 8 pm ET

The Nominations and Elections Subcommittee is accepting nominations for Officer and Director candidates and applications for At-Large Board Member candidates for the 2023-24 NAPABA Board of Governors through June 30 at 8 pm ET. Officers and Directors are elected positions and At-Large Board Members are appointed to serve. 

As the nation’s largest Asian American and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) membership organization, NAPABA continues to grow exponentially—maturity, stature, and staff. The NAPABA Board of Governors cultivates the strategic direction of the organization, provides resources to achieve goals and strategy, and exercises oversight ensuring the advancement of NAPABA’s strategic plan. The governing Board of 23 and national staff of eight complement and collaborate with each other—together united with a shared focus on advancing NAPABA’s mission through different perspectives and actions.

NAPABA is committed to having a governing board that reflects the diverse AA and NHPI legal community and has the right blend of skill, expertise, community connections, and diverse perspectives. We value an inclusive culture that embraces our diversity and empowers leaders to engage with each other and the community in a meaningful way by building trust, increasing transparency, and maximizing impact. We seek outstanding individuals of high character and integrity with proven leadership and board governance skills and who have demonstrated a strong commitment to NAPABA. The deadline for Officer and Director nominations and applications for At-Large Board Member candidates is June 30, 2023 at 8:00 pm ET. 

To be considered for a NAPABA Officer, Director, or At-Large position, candidates must be a current individual member in good standing as of the date that the nominations or applications are submitted. 

NAPABA Endorses the Preemption of Real Property Discrimination Act

For Immediate Release: 
Date: May 25, 2023
Contact:  Rahat N. Babar, Deputy Executive Director for Policy

WASHINGTON – In response to the troubling rise in state legislative activity attacking an individual’s right to purchase real property based on the purchaser’s citizenship, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) endorses the Preemption of Real Property Discrimination Act. Introduced today in the United States House of Representatives by Rep. Judy Chu of California, who chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and Rep. Al Green of Texas, the bill would nullify any state law that prohibits or otherwise restricts an individual’s right to purchase real property based merely on that individual’s citizenship.

“NAPABA will not stand idly by when our community, especially those who trace their ancestry to China, becomes the target of ill-advised efforts by state policymakers to strip them of their fundamental rights to pursue a livelihood,” said Sandra Leung, the President of NAPABA.

“These efforts eerily recall ancient alien land laws, which were enacted over a hundred years ago, that barred Asian immigrants from owning land. Such laws belong in the dustbin of history, and they have no place in our nation today. While policymakers are free to address the legitimate national security concerns of the United States, they may not enact discriminatory laws on the backs of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community.”

NAPABA’s support today for the Preemption of Real Property Discrimination Act coincides with the leadership of NAPABA affiliates across the nation to combat state legislation targeting our community. This past week, the Louisiana Asian Pacific American Bar Association (LAPABA), with NAPABA’s support, opposed legislation that, if enacted, would have barred innocent parties from purchasing or leasing real estate. Similarly, the Alabama Asian Bar Association (AABA), also with NAPABA’s support, led the opposition to a bill in Alabama that would prevent “any individual who is a citizen of China” from purchasing any real estate.

The actions of LAPABA and AABA build on NAPABA’s collaboration with our Florida affiliates – 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 Jacksonville Asian American Bar Association (JAABA) – and our Texas affiliates – the Asian American Bar Association of Houston (AABA Houston), the Austin Asian American Bar Association (Austin AABA), and the Dallas Asian American Bar Association (DAABA) – in combatting similar efforts in Florida and Texas. NAPABA is grateful for their leadership.

NAPABA extends its thanks and appreciation to Chairperson Chu and Rep. Green for introducing the bill.

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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.

NAPABA Applauds the Confirmation of Judge Wesley L. Hsu to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

For Immediate Release: 
Date: May 4, 2023 
ContactPriya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – On May 4, the Senate confirmed Judge Wesley L. Hsu to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California by a vote of 53 to 43.

“NAPABA congratulates Judge Hsu on his confirmation to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California,” said Sandra Leung, president of NAPABA. “Judge Hsu, a 2005 NAPABA Best Lawyers Under 40 awardee, has shown strong leadership in his professional career and volunteer work with the AAPI community. We are proud to have supported Judge Hsu’s nomination and are delighted he was confirmed.”

Judge Hsu has an extensive legal career spanning nearly three decades. He previously served in the Los Angeles County Superior Court in 2017. Before he was appointed a judge, Hsu served for 17 years as the Executive United States Attorney and Deputy United States Attorney in the Office of the United States Attorney in the Central District of California. He has clerked for the Hon. Mariana R. Pfaelzer of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, and he has experience in the private sector from his time at a private law firm.

“President Biden has appointed 19 out of the 52 AAPI active Article III judges,” said Priya Purandare, executive director of NAPABA. “Today, as we head into the 31st Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we celebrate a judiciary more reflective of the people it serves.”

In addition to his professional work, Judge Hsu is active in his community as a member of the Board of Governors for the Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance, a Founding Member of NAPABA’s Government Enforcement and Compliance Committee, and NAPABA’s Data Security and Privacy Committee, and a Co-Chair of the California Asian Pacific American Judges Association. His service to the AAPI community has been recognized by NAPABA with its Best Lawyers Under 40. Judge Hsu has served as an adjunct professor at Loyola Marymount Law School and a writing instructor at the University of Southern California Law School and is a graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School.

NAPABA thanks President Biden for nominating Judge Hsu and Senators Feinstein and Padilla for supporting and recommending his nomination.

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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.

Register for NAPABA’s APAHM Congressional Reception

You are cordially invited to NAPABA’s APAHM Congressional Reception

May 22 6 – 8 pm ET

In conjunction with NAPABA’s 12th annual Lobby Day and in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), you are invited to join us on May 22 in Washington, DC for our Congressional Reception. 

The reception will bring together NAPABA members, Lobby Day participants, members of Congress and their staff, and leaders in the AAPI community from across the country. 

What: NAPABA Asian Pacific American Heritage Congressional Reception
Where: Kennedy Caucus Room (SR-325), Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC
When: Monday, May 22, 6-8pm ET

This is a widely attended event and open to the public. An RSVP is required. The last day to send your RSVP is Friday, May 12!

RSVP to this event here.

Learn more about Lobby Day and bookmark the page for the latest information.

Save the Date for the In-House Counsel Summit & Partners Summit  

August 10-11 | New York, NY

Mark your calendars and save the date for NAPABA’s 2023 In-House Counsel (IHC) Summit, August 10-11, taking place in New York. We are proud to announce that hosted in conjunction with the IHC Summit is the inaugural Partners Summit. These two distinct gatherings will bring together senior Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) attorneys who seek to advance and influence the profession. Space is limited for each program; applications will open mid-April. 

In-House Counsel Summit 
The IHC Summit is a career and skills development program designed to help current and former public company senior and experienced in-house attorneys make the jump into the C-Suite, with a focus on diversifying the legal leadership of Fortune 1000 companies. Drawing on the collective experience of senior leaders in the AAPI community, participants will receive tailored guidance and training necessary to successfully climb up, and thrive on top of, the corporate ladder.

The focus during the 2023 IHC Summit is to bolster efforts to reach the 50×25 Initiative (of at least 50 General Counsels in Fortune 1000 companies by 2025). Participants will be exposed to experienced and established faculty, including current and former General Counsels, C-Suite Executives, and senior professionals from search firms. Through a series of panels and support that offer practical learnings including soft skills, participants will learn how to get a seat at the Fortune 1000 table and thrive as a legal leader once they get there. For eligibility requirements, learn more here.

Partners Summit 
The Partners Summit is an interactive program designed to deepen relationships and bolster the collective impact of AAPI law firm partners. Participants will collaborate on issues facing AAPI partners, strategies to successfully lead and progress within law firms, and how to forge meaningful connections with the next generation of AAPI partners. While hosted in conjunction with the In-House Summit, this program provides law firm partners an opportunity to expand their network and demonstrate support for current and former public company senior and experienced in-house AAPI attorneys who seek to elevate into general counsel positions at Fortune 1000 companies. 

During the 2023 Partners Summit, NAPABA and law firm leaders will facilitate collaborative conversations providing participants key insights and strategies on business development, origination credit, and advancement and mentorship. For eligibility requirements, learn more here.

AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force Organizes Court Watching Event for Sentencing of Jarrod Powell, Yao Pan Ma’s Killer

On March 31, AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force, under the leadership of Chair Elaine Chiu, who is also a Professor at St. John’s University School of Law, organized and led a court watching event at New York State Supreme Court to observe the sentencing of Jarrod Powell, who pled guilty to manslaughter in the 2021 killing of Yao Pan Ma. Powell admitted that his act was motivated by racial hatred against Yao Pan Ma, and Powell was convicted of manslaughter as a hate crime. He will serve 22 years in jail plus five years of post-release supervision.

Prof. Chiu wrote on LinkedIn:

More than 50 Asian New Yorkers came out today to #rememberyaopanma at the sentencing of his killer, Jarrod Powell. Together we helped our communities be seen and heard and not forgotten. Congrats to the team at Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for their commitment to these cases. Asian American Bar Association of New York thanks @donblee and @waiyeechan of Homecrest Community Services and Ansen Tang of United Chinese Association of Brooklyn. A big shout out to @maywong of the Pro Bono Committee!

Jeffrey Gu, a member of AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force, wrote on LinkedIn:

The raw necessity of just showing up has never been more evident. Over 50 Asian American community members showed up this morning to #rememberYaoPanMa at the sentencing of his killer.

It is not easy hearing victim impact statements and wondering whether, under different circumstances, it could have been your colleague, or friend, or family member viciously attacked on account of their race. The killer admitted in his plea that he targeted Mr. Ma because he was Asian American. There is no amount of justice that can restore what was taken from Mr. Ma’s family: the loss of a father taken from his children, a husband from his wife, a son from his elderly mother.

Thank you to the Asian American Bar Association of New York for organizing the gathering of support. Thank you to Elaine Chiu for inviting me onto AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Taskforce and for your diligent work in this space on behalf of victims. Thank you to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for working on these cases.

As a community, what we can do is at least show up and refuse to let the stories of the victims of anti-Asian American hate fade away. Follow Asian American Bar Association of New York for future court watching and community gatherings.

Jeffrey is Co-Founder of Make Us Visible, a group advocating for AAPI history to be taught in school from K-12 across the country.

Hannah Yu, Chief of the Hate Crimes Unit in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, wrote on LinkedIn:

While this sentencing is the end of this sad chapter, the work of our Hate Crimes Unit continues. We are dedicated to serving every community in Manhattan and ensuring that everyone feels safe to be who they are. It is my sincere hope that the Ma family will continue to heal and find peace.

Her post included the Manhattan District Attorney’s Press Release on the sentencing that included the following quote from D.A. Bragg:

“Mr. Ma’s death was the result of a despicable racially motivated attack. His family endured an agonizing eight months in the hospital while the devoted husband and father of two remained in a vegetative state, before succumbing to his injuries on December 31, 2021,” said District Attorney Bragg.  “New York is one of the most diverse cities in the world, and no one should have to fear that they may be in danger because of their background. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that New Yorkers of all origins feel safe.”

AABANY thanks everyone who came out for this court watching event which epitomized the importance of the AAPI community showing up and standing up to speak out against AAPI hate. We thank Prof. Chiu for her leadership and Jeffrey Gu for his support and dedication. We thank Chief ADA Hannah Yu and the Manhattan DA’s office for their continuing fight to seek justice in hate crimes against the AAPI community and all targeted communities.

Support AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force through our Turn the Tide (T3) Project. To learn more about the Task Force and its work, contact [email protected].

NAPABA Applauds the Confirmation of Arun Subramanian to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

For Immediate Release: 
Date: March 10, 2023
Contact:  Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – March 10 – On Wednesday, Arun Subramanian was confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Subramanian is the first South Asian American to serve on the Southern District of New York.

“NAPABA congratulates Arun Subramanian on his historic confirmation,” said Sandra Leung, president of NAPABA. “A child of immigrants, Mr. Subramanian is the first lawyer in his family, and this week, he became the first South Asian American judge to serve on the Southern District of New York. Like his family, we are proud to see him represent us.”

“The Southern District of New York is one of the most influential and active federal trial courts in the U.S.,” said Priya Purandare, executive director of NAPABA. “In addition to overseeing America’s largest financial institutions, it is also the location of one of the largest populations of AAPIs in the nation. We urge the Senate to continue confirming candidates that are representative of our nation.”

Subramanian was a partner at Susman Godfrey LLP where he chaired the firm’s pro bono practice and focused on consumer protection, antitrust, commercial class actions, and contract and tort litigation. In 2021, Subramanian was appointed by Chief Justice John Roberts to serve on the Advisory Committee for the Federal Rules of Evidence. Subramanian clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit for Judge Dennis Jacobs, and on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for Judge Gerald E. Lynch. He is a graduate of Columbia Law School and Case Western Reserve University.

NAPABA thanks President Biden for nominating Arun Subramanian and Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Gillibrand for recommending and supporting his nomination.

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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.

NAPABA Opposes H.R. 734 and Discrimination Against Transgender Persons

For Immediate Release: 
Date: March 9, 2023
Contact:  Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – March 9. The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) opposes H.R. 734, recently introduced in the House of Representatives as the “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023,” which would effectively ban transgender and intersex girls and women from participating in school sporting activities that align with their gender identities.

NAPABA is proud that last month, its Board of Directors ratified a policy resolution sponsored by its LGBTQ+ Network, that affirms the civil, constitutional, and human rights of transgender and non-binary youths, including those within the AAPI community, and recognizes their rights to participate in school sports and to receive the social, educational, developmental, and physical and mental health benefits of athletic participation. NAPABA’s policy resolution also expressly opposes discriminatory legislation that prohibits transgender students from participating in school sports as violative of their rights under Title IX.

Transgender youth experience disproportionately higher instances of bullying, harassment, isolation, family rejection and suicide, and exclusion from the benefits of athletic participation should not be yet another risk they face. H.R. 734 is inconsistent with NAPABA’s values of equality, community, advocacy, relationships, diversity, equity, inclusion, open-mindedness, and the health and wellbeing of our members and the Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities, and the organization’s commitment to all underserved and underrepresented communities.

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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.

Lobby Day Registration Now Open
Deadline to Register is April 20

NAPABA invites you to join us on May 22-23 in Washington, DC for NAPABA’s 12th annual Lobby Day, taking place in-person for the first time in three years!

The NAPABA Annual Lobby Day is an opportunity for NAPABA members from across the country to educate members of Congress and Congressional staffers on issues of importance to the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Lobby Day also gives members an active role in promoting NAPABA’s mission of advocating for justice, equity, and opportunity for AAPIs.

Lobby Day activities and events include:

  • 3-Part Training Event
  • Hill Visits
  • Happy Hour Debrief
  • Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Congressional Reception (Open to the public. Pre-registration is required.)

Register Now

The deadline to register is April 20. Learn more about Lobby Day and bookmark the page for the latest information.