AABANY Board Director Margaret Ling Moderates ABA CBLA Opening Program on June 29

On June 29, Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) Board Director and Real Estate Committee Co-Chair Margaret Ling moderated the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy (CBLA) Opening Program titled: “Effective Marketing, Advocacy and Public Relations Strategy.” The panelists for the event were Edgar Chen, Esq., National Policy Director for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA); Elia Diaz-Yaeger, Esq., President of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA); Tricia “CK” Hoffler, Esq., President of the National Bar Association (NBA); and Dinesh Kumar, Esq., Vice President of Public Relations for the South Asian Bar Association (SABA) of North America. The panelists discussed the role of minority bar associations in facing widespread social and political issues as well as the unique voice of advocacy that minority bar associations can utilize. The discussion also explored different ways of reaching membership through websites, newsletters, and other methods.

AABANY thanks Karl Riley, the Chair of the CBLA, for organizing the panel event as well as ABA for hosting the discussion at such a critical moment for the Asian-American community.

AABANY AAVTF Holds a Briefing on Anti-Asian Violence on May 25

On May 25, the Asian American Bar Association of New York’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force (AAVTF) hosted an information briefing about the AAVTF’s activities and about the rise in anti-Asian violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. The speakers for the event were AABANY President Terry Shen; Board Director, Issues Committee Co-Chair and Asia Practice Committee Co-Chair Chris Kwok; Board Director and past Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee Co-Chair Karen Yau; PBCS Committee Co-Chair Karen King; Prosecutors’ Committee Co-Chair Joseb Gim; and Executive Director Yang Chen.

Chris and President Shen gave the opening remarks, introducing the event, and thanking all the attendees for coming.

After these remarks, Chris began the presentation, explaining how the publicity about anti-Asian violence generated in mainstream media has suddenly catapulted Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) into the public consciousness. Unlike before, Asians are now viewed as a group that experiences discrimination and violence, just like any other minority. Chris explained that these realizations politically empower AAPIs to make change in the political system as Asians become more aware about race and the ways in which it affects them. The AAPI identity has also been recreated through artwork, publications, and other initiatives. Asian non-profits have also begun receiving a large influx of donations that have great potential to aid the AAPI community. Chris also discussed the history of AABANY’s report and how Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric about the virus incited a wave of anti-Asian hate and violence during early 2020. These events culminated in the report’s publication in February 2021. Karen then discussed the report’s publication process which involved the feedback and support of bar associations, law firms and other organizations. The subsequent publicity generated by the report was cemented by the anti-Asian shootings in Atlanta. Ever since, Karen explained, AABANY has frequently been requested to speak at numerous events and on many media outlets. Many initiatives proposed by the report have also since been implemented.

Yang then went on to discuss the genesis of the AAVTF, made up of members of the Academic Committee, Issues Committee, Legal Referral and Information Services (LRIS) Committee, PBCS Committee, Prosecutors Committee, and Student Outreach Committee as well as Immediate Past President Sapna Palla, President Shen, and President-Elect Will Ng. Yang also explained how the AAVTF was founded to realize the goals outlined in the report, focusing on three prongs of action: education/communication, research, and advocacy. Ever since, the AAVTF has pressed for hate crime prosecutions in DA Offices, published Know Your Rights Brochures for community members on what to do if they face an anti-Asian bias incident or hate crime, organized speaking engagements, begun data tracking for incidents, formed the Hate Eradication Active Response Team (HEART), and much more to raise awareness and combat anti-Asian violence.

Joe Gim, prosecutor and the Chief of the new Hate Crimes Bureau at the Nassau County DA Office next discussed the role of the Prosecutors’ Committee in the AAVTF, which was primarily to shed light on criminal statutes and on the gaps between law enforcement’s understanding and implementation of these statutes. This information, Joe explained, is used to strengthen AABANY’s initiatives and advocacy efforts.

Chris affirmed this statement, reiterating his thanks to the AAVTF and the indispensable support it provides in leading the conversation about anti-Asian violence. Chris also pointed out that any movements that fight back against hate, regardless of which group is targeted, are fighting against a common enemy of structural racism.

Yang and Karen Yau went on to promote the Turning the Tide (T3) Project, which is hosted at the Asian American Law Fund of New York (AALFNY) to raise money for the AAVTF’s initiatives, research, and advocacy combating anti-Asian hate and violence. Karen King also gave a special shoutout to the HEART initiative, encouraging the attendees to volunteer their time to help connect victims of anti-Asian violence with legal aid and other resources. She also encouraged attendees to involve their law firms as sponsors for projects and events.

Chris then closed the presentation by pointing out how the police’s lackluster response to hate crimes is in part due to the historical invisibility of the AAPI community. He also explained how this invisibility has its roots in the 1853 People v. Hall case where George Hall, a white man, was convicted but then released after murdering a Chinese miner. Chris explained how Hall appealed his release on the basis of a California statute which prevented people of color from testifying against whites. Chris also emphasized that supporting the Black Lives Matter movement does not detract from support for the AAPI cause. To illustrate the importance of building a multi-racial coalition, Chris recounted an interview he had with the celebrated documentary director Spike Lee for his film about New York City and race that will be released in September 2021. Lee explained that he had chosen to interview Chris because “people were asking where the Asians were. And I listened.”

After the presentations, the discussion was opened to the attendees for a question and answer session. 

Karen Lin, PBCS Committee Co-Chair asked whether or not AABANY would advocate for including AAPI history in the public school curriculum. Yang answered by reiterating AABANY’s support of any educational initiatives, pointing to AABANY’s trial reenactments project as an example. 

AABANY member Jennifer Luo then pointed the discussion towards the lack of successful hate crime prosecutions. Joe explained that law enforcement currently lacks sufficient resources and infrastructure to investigate hate crimes. As hate crimes are unique in that the prosecutor must prove that the perpetrator was motivated to commit the crime due to racial bias, this process requires more investigation and information which the police currently lacks. To address this issue, Joe also proposed creating a database of hate crimes and bias incidents that would allow law enforcement to easily access information and also to enable community members to report incidents more efficiently. He also mentioned the newly minted COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which would allocate funding towards combating hate crimes. Chris also added that AABANY is planning a Candidates’ Forum that would give AABANY and its members an opportunity to ask about measures being considered to protect the AAPI community from violence. 

David Ahn then asked about AABANY’s plans to monitor hate crimes going forward. Chris answered by citing AABANY’s involvement in a case in Flushing, Queens where the perpetrator, despite revealing his racist sentiments in a text sent to the New York Times, was not charged with a hate crime. After AABANY’s advocacy in the DA’s Office, the perpetrator was charged with a hate crime. Chris also added that, though not every case would lead to a hate crime enhancement, AABANY is continuing to monitor the news and other outlets for advocacy opportunities. Yang also explained that the HEART initiative would help AABANY keep track of the incidents, connect with the community, and improve AABANY’s advocacy efforts. Karen Yau also pointed out that there are other alternatives to criminal prosecutions that victims would be able to pursue if they wished.

Chris then shared his own experiences with anti-Asian violence growing up, recounting a story where his friends were assaulted by a white supremacist gang while exiting a movie theater in Queens. He also described his efforts to reconnect with them hoping to preserve their stories and voices as a part of the history of anti-Asian violence.

AABANY Treasurer William Hao also discussed his own involvement in the aftermath of the Atlanta shootings while on a call with former U.S. Attorney Byung J. (“BJay”) Pak, the FBI, and local law enforcement. Will shared that even though the media had severely twisted the narrative by promoting the perpetrator’s claim that he had not been motivated by racism, the call served to give Asians a voice in revealing the truth of the events and reshaping the story. Will concluded by emphasizing the importance of AAPI representation in government and law enforcement.

Marilyn Go (USMJ EDNY, ret’d) then asked about AABANY’s ability to speak out during majority political forums. Chris answered by pointing out the difficulty of entering majority forums, but also noted that events recorded on Zoom would allow AABANY to hold candidates accountable for their words. Yang also referenced the City Council District One Candidates’ Forum which did take questions from AABANY regarding the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force. Jennifer then asked about the possibility of keeping a record of candidates’ responses regarding issues of anti-Asian violence. Chris responded that AABANY’s future plans to hold a Manhattan DA Candidates’ forum would allow AABANY to record responses from the candidates on that issue.

AABANY thanks all of the attendees for their time and their commitment to serving the AAPI community. To view the recording of the event, click here.

NAPABA’s Virtual Lobby Day

In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), please join NAPABA on May 24-27 for NAPABA’s first ever virtual Lobby Day.

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 AAPI community.

This year’s Lobby Day has never been as important as it is now. NAPABA is operating at the intersection of anti-Asian hate crimes and hate-based incidents, all set against the backdrop of the COVID-pandemic, a pandemic for which our communities have been falsely scapegoated. This year, NAPABA’s Lobby Day is not only about supporting important legislation, but ensuring that your voices and advocacy for justice, equity, and opportunity for all AAPIs are heard from your home districts to the halls of Congress!

REGISTER NOW

Schedule Coming Soon

Questions? Contact Edgar Chen , Policy Director

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund Fall 2014 Internships For Undergraduate, Graduate, and Law Students

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is the first organization on the East Coast to protect and promote the legal rights of Asian Americans through litigation, legal advocacy, and community education.  For more information about AALDEF, please visit our website at www.aaldef.org.

Fall internships are available for the following program areas (open to all unless otherwise noted):

Immigrant Access to Justice, litigation, legal services, and organizing/outreach with communities impacted by post 9/11 immigration and law enforcement policies. An additional emphasis on Asian communities’ access to representation and education about immigration policies and practices that may impact them, including deferred action policies and administrative relief for youth and other immigrants, unconstitutional DHS stops, and collaboration between state/local law enforcement and federal immigration enforcement, e.g., “Secure Communities” program. **Law students ONLY**

Voting Rights, legal research and fact development under the Voting Rights Act and Equal Protection Clause challenging anti-Asian voter discrimination, advocacy on bilingual ballots, and state and local election reform; produce reports and organize public forums; work with volunteer attorneys and assist in organizing legal trainings. Voting Rights Interns work on the following:

  • Election monitoring to ensure that Asian Americans are treated fairly at the polls and to document violations of the Voting Rights Act and the federal Constitution.  The Voting Rights Act mandates the availability of Chinese, Korean, and Bengali language assistance and forbids anti-Asian voter discrimination.
  • Work with pro bono lawyers at corporate law firms and volunteer law students to inspect poll sites for compliance with the Voting Rights Act and the Help America Vote Act.  
  • Coordinate a survey of Asian American voters to document the use of bilingual ballots and report on Asian American voting patterns.  The survey will be taken at several poll sites across the nation.  Interns will recruit, train, and supervise volunteers, as well as coordinate logistics at three dozen polling locations.
  • Register new voters after citizenship swearing-in ceremonies.
  • Conduct research and advocacy on local, state, and federal election reform proposals.

Administrative Assistant, provide administrative support in preparation for AALDEF’s annual gala, including: researching for prospective dinner sponsors and silent auction donors.  Computer experience with databases, graphics and web programs are helpful. **Undergraduate students ONLY.  Workstudy grants accepted.**

Description of Internships:
Interns are supervised by attorneys and/or AALDEF staff in specific program areas.  These internships are not paid positions, but academic credit may be arranged.  Interns work anywhere between 8 to 25 hours per week.  The internship usually commences with the start of classes and ends in early December.

To Apply:
Any bilingual ability should be stated in the resume.  Bilingual ability is helpful but not required.  Applications should also state the number of hours the intern is able to work per week and which program area(s) you are interested in.  Email applications are accepted.  Applications reviewed on a rolling basis.  Send a resume and cover letter (law students should include a writing sample) to:

AALDEF Fall Intern Search
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
99 Hudson Street, 12th floor, New York, New York 10013-2815
Fax: 212-966-4303 or Email: info@aaldef.org

For more information, contact Jennifer Weng at 212-966-5932, ext. 212 or jweng@aaldef.org.

Meet Lu Jun, Human Rights Lawyer from China

Meet Lu Jun, Human Rights Lawyer from China

Congratulations to Eve Guillergan!

AABANY member Eve Guillergan was among six distinguished women honored Saturday, April 5th, at New York City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer’s Annual Open House Celebrating Women’s History Month. 

She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and currently serves on the board of the Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York. Eve received the award for her outstanding community work with bar associations, advocating for immigration reform and immigrants’ issues, and supporting non-profit social service and community agencies with legal services. 

Please join AABANY in congratulating Eve Guillergan on this well-deserved recognition.

MCGUIREWOODS/NAPABA LAW FOUNDATION SUMMER INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

The NAPABA Law Foundation (NLF) is accepting applications for the McGuireWoods/NLF Internship Program. The Program will support students interested in the legal profession and will help students develop a commitment to advocacy on behalf of the APA community. The Program seeks to achieve these goals by providing undergraduate and law school students with meaningful internship experiences at the Washington DC offices of NAPABA and NLF.

About the Program

Each law clerk and undergraduate intern shall be assigned projects that will further the missions of NAPABA and NLF, including:

  • Promoting justice, equity and opportunity for APAs;
  • Fostering professional development, legal scholarship, advocacy and community involvement; and
  • Developing and supporting programs to educate the legal profession and APAs about legal issues affecting those communities.

Please note the deadline to apply has been extended to March 21, 2014. Click here for more information.

2014 KALCA Summer College Internship Program

The KALCA Summer College Internship Program, now entering its 14th year, is a unique opportunity for college students and recent graduates of Asian descent with demonstrated leadership potential to gain practical, hands-on exposure to government, politics and non-profit advocacy. Interns will earn a stipend of $3,000 by participating and successfully completing the program. Applications are due by March 21, 2014.
 
Interns are placed in leading government offices, nonprofit organizations, and political campaigns in New York City. In addition to full-time assignments, interns take individualized leadership development courses, meet government and civic leaders, explore community and cultural issues, and seek career advice from professionals in a wide range of public service vocations. Mentorship activities and cultural outings round out the program. 
 
The program will run from the beginning of June, 2014 to the beginning of August, 2014. To be eligible, the applicant must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident and a rising sophomore, junior or senior at an accredited university or will have received their Bachelors in Spring 2014. Finalists must be able to attend in-person interviews in New York City.
 
Please visit www.kalca.org to access the program overview and the application checklist. For further information, please contact Jeong Bae, Executive Director, at internship@kalca.org or 212.633.2000.
 
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About Korean American League for Civic Action
Korean American League for Civic Action is dedicated to promoting the civic participation of Korean Americans and Asian Pacific Americans. KALCA furthers its mission by investing in leaders with talent and passion to serve the public; educating community members about their rights, duties and responsibilities as American citizens; and providing information about current events of interest to the community.