AABANY Hosts “The Surge in Anti-Asian Violence: Corporate Social Responsibility and Action” on April 9

On April 9, 2021, AABANY and a coalition of bar associations from across the country presented a CLE program titled, “The Surge in Anti-Asian Violence: Corporate Social Responsibility and Action.” About 500 attendees from all across the United States joined an esteemed panel of corporate in-house leaders in a discussion on how corporate employers can address the surge in anti-Asian violence and support their Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) employees. The panel included:

  • Sara Yang Bosco, Senior Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel, Emerson
  • Sam Khichi, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Public Policy & Regulatory Affairs, Becton, Dickinson and Company
  • Sandra Leung, Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Bristol Myers Squibb
  • Allen Lo, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Products, IP, and Legal Operations, Facebook
  • Susan Moon, Principal Counsel, The Walt Disney Company
  • Caroline Tsai, Chief Legal Officer & Corporate Secretary, Western Union
  • Michael C. Wu (Moderator), GAPABA Board Member

Moderator Michael Wu began the panel discussion by describing how the coronavirus pandemic has become a virus of hate, with the increase of violence and hate crimes against Asian Americans. To add to this, Sara Bosco emphasized the importance of reporting and providing visibility to these incidents and stated, “You cannot manage what you cannot measure.” Asian Americans comprise 6% of the United States population, yet have been historically overlooked despite being part of U.S. history since the 1800s. Due to Asian Americans being viewed as perpetual foreigners and the model minority, coupled with the inaccurate information disseminated about the origins of the pandemic in 2020, Asian Americans have been perceived as an easier target to perpetrators of anti-Asian violence.

When asked how Corporate America should address anti-Asian violence, many of the panelists shared initiatives their workplaces started and gave suggestions on what companies can do. A main focus of the panelists was discussing how Asian employees can be supported in the workplace. To create a supportive environment, companies should reach out to AAPI employees and create an AAPI employee resource group in the workplace if there is not one already. Even if the organization does not have many AAPI employees, it is important for AAPI employees to meet others to increase their circle and build a larger voice. In addition, mental health resources and allyship training should be offered to employees within the workplace’s HR department. Panelists also agreed that not only should the diversity officers in the company address anti-Asian violence, but even CEOs need to speak up and make statements to show support for the AAPI community.

As individuals in the AAPI legal community, Sandra Leung said, “We are in a crisis situation right now with the rise of anti-AAPI hate, but it’s also an opportunity for us to band together to do our part individually or collectively in groups. We have to turn the emotion and anger that we have into action.” She further emphasized that we need to take leadership roles, speak loud, and educate people on anti-AAPI hate. In discussing leadership roles, Sandra Leung remarked, “I feel so compelled right now and so moved by everything we are facing in our community that I would love to run for President-Elect of NAPABA…” AABANY applauds Sandra Leung’s intent to run during these critical times and agrees that we have to continue working collectively to address anti-Asian violence.

Thank you to Sara Yang Bosco, Sam Khichi, Sandra Leung, Allen Lo, Susan Moon, Caroline Tsai, and Michael Wu for this important discussion on anti-Asian violence and corporate social responsibility. Non-transitional New York attorneys were eligible to receive a maximum of 1.5 CLE credit hours applied toward the Diversity, Inclusion, and Elimination of Bias requirement. CLE credits were also approved in California and Colorado, and CPE credits were approved in British Columbia and Ontario. CLE credits have been applied for in Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas, and are pending approval. To view a recording of the program, click here or on the image above.

Fall Conference 2020: Allyship and Black Lives Matter—Racism, Bias, and Xenophobia in Our Communities

On September 26, 2020, as part of AABANY’s 11th Annual Fall Conference, the AABANY Real Estate Committee and Issues Committee hosted a plenary session on the ongoing racial reckoning following the death of George Floyd and the rise in xenophobia against Asian Americans since the beginning of the pandemic. The panel included:  

  • Margaret T. Ling, Development Director and Real Estate Committee Co-Chair at AABANY and Senior Counsel at Big Apple Abstract Corp. (Moderator)
  • Letitia James, 67th Attorney General for the State of New York
  • Rahul Agarwal, Executive Assistant United States Attorney at the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey
  • Paula T. Edgar, Attorney, CEO of PGE LLC, and Partner of Inclusion Strategy Solutions LLC
  • Chris Kwok, Co-Chair of the Issues Committee and Asia Practice Committee at AABANY and a mediator and arbitrator with JAMS
  • Carmelyn P. Malalis, Chair and Commissioner of the New York City Commission on Human Rights

The esteemed panel discussed their experience addressing the issues of racism, bias, and xenophobia in their different capacities as government officials, bar association leaders, and diversity and inclusion specialists, especially in the context of the ongoing pandemic. As the opening speaker, Paula Edgar provided an informative presentation on systemic racism, the varying responses of Corporate America, and the importance for companies and law firms to invest in resources for diversity training as part of an urgent call to incorporate actionable plans into their missions for equity and inclusion. More importantly, allyship transcends performative activism, or surface-level activism, on social media and demands a sustained and active approach to listen to the experiences of marginalized communities, educate oneself on race-related history and issues, and speak out against any injustice. 

In highlighting the importance of using our vote at this historical moment, New York State Attorney General Letitia James suggested that the participation of more people of color in law-enforcement can be one of the ways to sustain the BLM movement and push for substantive, lasting changes. Some of the projects at the Attorney General’s Office include a lawsuit against the US Postal Service for their attempt to delay the vote-by-mail ballots and an effort to advocate for immigrants to ensure that they are counted in the 2020 US Census. Attorney General James emphasized the need to stay hopeful and utilize our vote as citizens to protect our democracy. 

Rahul Agarwal focused on the recent rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans and stressed the importance of active reporting on the part of community members to help law enforcement personnel investigate these crimes and open cases. Rahul explained that the law enforcement community takes reports on hate crimes very seriously because the perpetrators’ hatred often affects many individuals, and since the targeted population can become fearful, it is crucial for law enforcement to act quickly. 

Noting from a survey the significant increase in people’s perception and experience with racial inequality since 2016, Carmelyn Malalis described the active outreach by the New York City Commission on Human Rights to marginalized communities and its employment of staffers who speak a total of over 30 different languages at the Commission to increase community engagement. Echoing Attorney General James’ comment on the value of allyship, Commissioner Malalis added that allyship also means recognizing that the constructed narratives about marginalized groups are often inconsistent with the lived experiences of people in those communities. She emphasized the need to actively work on dismantling one’s biased preconceptions. 

Referring to the Stop AAPI Hate’s recent record of about 2,600 hate crimes and incidents against Asian Americans in the past six months, Chris Kwok suggested that the actual number is most likely a lot higher since there has been insufficient attention directed towards AAPI hate crimes and a general lack of active reporting in the AAPI community. Chris highlighted the importance for Asian Americans to support the BLM movement since we are all fighting to challenge white supremacy and ensure justice in the United States. He concludes by emphasizing the need to say “BLM”— since black lives had been defined as property for decades, we, as allies in the BLM movement, should acknowledge the hashtag’s reflection of that history and recognition of the equal rights that every person deserves.

Thank you to Margaret, Attorney General James, Commissioner Malalis, Rahul, Paula, and Chris, for this insightful panel discussion. Thanks also to the AABANY Real Estate Committee and Issues Committee for organizing this event. To view a recording of the plenary session, click here or on the image above.

AABANY Co-Sponsors: Asian Americans at a Crossroads: A Conversation with Frank Wu, President of Queens College

On September 8th, Seton Hall Law School hosted a webinar entitled “Asian Americans at a Crossroads: COVID-19, #BLM, Discrimination, and Allyship,” which AABANY co-sponsored. The event, moderated by Professor Marina Lao, was a virtual conversation with Professor Frank H. Wu, President at Queens College, CUNY, who discussed the problems facing the Asian and Asian-American communities, the importance of allyship and building bridges across communities of color, and the history that surrounds both.

Professor Wu began the discussion by talking about how he got interested in studying Asian American history in college, when he wanted to write a paper on Asian American issues and civil rights and found not a single book written on the subject. He then realized that United States racial history was taught in a black and white paradigm: it treated everyone as falling into these two supposedly “opposite” categories. In doing so, history has taught Asian Americans that they have three options: they must aspire to be “honorary white people,” fall into the supposedly “lesser” category as people of color, or accept that they will never fit into the body politic.

He then recounted his upbringing in Detroit, where people assumed that he belonged halfway around the world and bullied him with racist slurs. They ingrained in him a perpetual foreigner syndrome, which has recently become more common and intensified with the association of all Asians with COVID-19. Only after the murder of Vincent Chin did Professor Wu realize that these weren’t just harmless jokes. In 1982 Detroit, Chin, a working class Chinese citizen, was harassed with racial slurs and bludgeoned to death by two automobile workers; they saw Chin as a foreigner, as someone who stole their jobs and thus must be punished. The killers got a fine and probation for three years, which Professor Wu revisited in 2012 when he co-wrote the AABANY Trial Reenactment of the Murder of Vincent Chin. 

During this horrific incident in 1982, Professor Wu first learned the importance of bridge building and forming coalitions. He realized that in America, all Asians have to come together to form one Asian-American culture in order to emphasize that they are Americans. He then realized he needed to better understand the Black struggle. He followed the path of W.E.B. DuBois, who situated the fight for Black liberation in the importance of cooperation and coalition.

He concluded by discussing the importance of Asian Americans supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. He discussed the dangers of the model minority myth, and how it was designed to enforce anti-Black/Latinx racism. He explained how in this moment, Asian Americans have to try to understand other people’s sufferings, which can be more severe than ours. Asian Americans are at a crossroads: do we aspire to the silent norms and enforce them? Or do we proudly affirm our status as people of color and stand in solidarity and fight for the liberation of other races? The lives of Asian Americans can only be truly secure and protected when people who look different also feel that their place is secure too.

Professor Wu’s conversation highlights some of the many unique changes and challenges that Asian Americans are experiencing this year. Now more than ever, it is incredibly important to not only understand Asian American history and its ties to Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and other racial and ethnic histories, but also — and more importantly — learn from those triumphs and mistakes of the past. In order to create a history we are proud of, we must look behind us and strive forward, together.

Thank you to the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) at Seton Hall Law School for hosting and organizing the event. To view the full recording of the conversation on YouTube, click the link above.

In The News: Ryan D. Budhu’s Op-Ed on Police Brutality And George Floyd Published in USA Today

On June 19, 2020, USA Today published an Op-Ed written by Ryan D. Budhu, a member of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) and past president of the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY).

In the article, Budhu recounts his personal experience with police brutality, when his brother died in the custody of the NYPD. He also reflects on this tragedy in relation to the death of George Floyd, and the need for allyship between South Asian and Black communities. He writes: “I have a duty to listen to and help address inequities, especially those that affect Black lives within the circles that I occupy.”

To read the full article, click here.

Coming Together: A LGBTQ Allyship Panel Workshop

Please join Project by Project (PbP), and their 2016 partner, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) as they present “Coming Together: A LGBTQ Allyship Panel Workshop.” This workshop is aimed for the general public to generate awareness of the underlying issues of the AAPI LGBTQ community and how we can be better allies. Our panelists will provide a wide range of perspectives, situations and environments and ways allies can support the AAPI LGBTQ community. Topics include: a corporate perspective, a Family Acceptance Campaign called Family is Still Family, struggles of coming out and the need for allies, and other LGBTQ AAPI issues like immigration and racial justice after-Orlando.

Panelists:
Shamina Singh, President at MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth
Andy Marra, Communications Manager at the Arcus Foundation
Glenn Magpantay, Executive Director of National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)
Clara Yoon, Founder of API Rainbow Parent of PFLAG-NYC

Schedule:

6:30pm-7pm | Welcome and Registration

7pm-8:15pm | Panel workshop discussion

8:15pm-8:30pm | Audience Q&A

8:30pm-9pm | Refreshments and Networking

This year, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) and Project By Project (PbP) are partnering to develop both organizations by leveraging their combined experiences, knowledge and skills. NQAPIA is dedicated toward building a world where all Asian Americans, South Asians, Southeast Asians, Pacific Islanders are fully accepted in their homes, families, places of work, places of worship and community regardless of their sexual orientation or gender-identity. PbP is an organization of professionals from a range of industries that uses its members to develop innovative solutions and apply them to serve non-profits in our local communities. Furthermore, training its members to be leaders within the AAPI community.

Light refreshments will be provided.

RSVP on EventBrite is required. Seats are limited.

This workshop is free to the public but a suggested donation of $5 or more is appreciated. Please make your donation at: http://projectbyproject.org/donation-2/

Thank you for your support!

WHEN: Tuesday, July 19, 2016 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM (EDT) –

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WHERE: Asian American / Asian Research Institute (AAARI) – 25 West 43rd Street, #1000, New York, NY 10036 –

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Special Shout-out from AABANY to its LGBT Committee Chair Glenn Magpantay. He is one of the panelists at the event.