In the News: Executive Director Yang Chen and Board Director Chris Kwok Featured in The Spectator

AABANY Executive Director Yang Chen and Board Director Chris Kwok were recently mentioned in the April 28, 2021 edition of The Spectator, the Stuyvesant High School newspaper, in an article titled “Alumni Association Hosts Community Discussion on Anti-Asian Violence.” Both alumni of the school, Chris (’92) served as the moderator and Yang (’83) was one of the speakers in the April 15 community discussion. Other panelists included Joanne Kwong (’93), President of Pearl River Mart; Soo Kim (’93), President of the Stuyvesant High School Alumni Association; U.S. Representative Grace Meng (’93); Seung Yu, Principal of Stuyvesant High School; and current Stuyvesant juniors Christopher Liu, Xiaoshen Ma, Laura Xia, and Alice Zhu. During the discussion, panelists shared with over 200 attendees their personal experiences with race and their opinions on the recent increase of hate crimes and racism against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

Yang presented the findings and solutions outlined in AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence and spoke about how AABANY is supporting the AAPI community. He stated: “One thing we’re pushing hard on is to make sure the NYPD Asian Hate Crimes task force is being fully funded. We’re very much supportive of any effort by law enforcement to bring attention to this issue and we’re trying to put as much word out as possible especially to the Mayor’s office. Mayor de Blasio denounced Asian-American violence a year ago but we’re still waiting for someone who is arrested for the crime to actually face criminal sanctions for it.”

To read the full coverage of the program on The Spectator, 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

In the News: AABANY Board Director Chris Kwok Interviewed (Again) on the Rise in Anti-Asian Hate Crimes

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On April 26, Chris Kwok, AABANY Board Director, AABANY Issues Committee Chair, and Co-Executive Editor of AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence, was featured on PBS’s Metrofocus program. Host Jenna Flanagan interviewed Chris and The City reporter Christine Chung on the surge in hate crimes against Asians in the United States as well as steps to take to prevent these crimes. In the interview, Chris explained that, oftentimes, the circumstances of the incident make it very difficult to prosecute a perpetrator for a hate crime. As a result, Chris stated, hate crimes against Asians are severely underreported and that the incidents are often classified only as assault or harassment. Chris also emphasized the universality of the issue of hate crimes, while noting that perpetrators were not of a single race. Chris also explained the importance of the wider community’s role in combating hate crimes. Towards the end of the interview, Chris noted that “I think we need to get to a point where we care for each other as New Yorkers, have each others’ back. You know, get back to a sense of the city where we take care of each other a little more.” Watch the full segment here.

On May 1, Chris was quoted in FOX 5, which echoed his sentiments regarding the importance of reporting hate crimes and incidents of racially-motivated harassment. As Chris said, “[h]aving an official record of these things is useful for tracking the sentiment of anti-Asian hate and harassment.” Read the full news story here.

Please also take a look at previous blog posts from February 19, March 1, March 8, and March 15, and March 29, highlighting news stories about our report. If you have come across a news report or article about our report that is not listed above, please let us know at main@aabany.org.

More public awareness about our report and the rise in anti-Asian violence is needed. Please share our report widely. If you have ideas or thoughts about how we can combat anti-Asian violence, please share them with us at main@aabany.org.

NAPABA Partners With Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum to Address COVID-19 Through CDC Grant Funding Opportunity

For Immediate Release:        

Date: April 27, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – NAPABA is proud to announce that the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) has awarded it grant funding under the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Engaging AANHPI Communities in Adult Vaccination (EVAC) program. Under this award, the first received in its history, NAPABA will leverage its nationwide network of nearly 90 affiliate organizations and its expertise at the intersection of language access and anti-Asian hate violence to enhance vaccine confidence and uptake of COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations.

“The nearly 4,000 reported incidents of anti-Asian hate, and the countless acts of hate that go unrecorded, has had an impact on our communities to live safely, including getting vaccinated for COVID-19. Community members are scared to leave their homes and are not making appointments for the vaccinations for fear of being targeted,” said Priya Purandare, Executive Director of NAPABA. “In this environment, we especially want to ensure that the most vulnerable AANHPI persons are able to receive the vaccine: the elderly, those with limited English proficiency, recent arrivals, undocumented persons, those on the unconnected side of the digital divide, and others who lack access to COVID-19 information and vaccinations. We are honored to collaborate with APIAHF and over 20 partners nationwide to ensure vaccine confidence, access, and equity.”

In recognition that vaccine messaging will be conducted in the same communities experiencing increased threats and attacks based on the falsehood that AANHPIs are responsible for the pandemic, NAPABA and APIAHF have developed a ground-breaking collection of Combat Hate Crimes Toolkits translated into 25 different AANHPI languages – the largest compilation of its kind. These toolkits provide critical information for victims, community-based organizations, and community leaders on how to report attacks to law enforcement and how to help AANHPI communities deter future threats. NAPABA supports vaccination efforts by deploying these legal and advocacy educational resources in tandem with COVID-19 vaccine information so that AANHPI community members feel safe to leave the house, obtain their vaccines, and return to normalcy without suffering the additional threat of bias motivated attacks.

“NAPABA and its membership has THE largest nationwide boots on the ground reach of any AANHPI organization in the country, including in discrete and hard to reach areas where little infrastructure exists for the community,” said Juliet K. Choi, President and Executive Director of the APIAHF. “This historical and innovative strategic partnership with NAPABA will increase COVID-19 vaccination education by leveraging their members who are trusted civic leaders in their local communities that work to address community needs across a wide spectrum of issues.”

NAPABA plans to mobilize its nationwide network of nearly 90 affiliates and our members’ substantive legal expertise across a range of areas, drawing especially on its innovative work in linguistic access, and will be hiring an Education Coordinator for COVID-19 Vaccination Equity to help fulfill this mission.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents 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

In the News: Chris Kwok Quoted in The City about Anti-Asian Harassment Incidents against Older Asian New Yorkers

On April 20, 2021, Board Director Chris Kwok was quoted in an article published by The City titled “Older Asians Face ‘A Whole Wave’ of Hate Hidden in Official NYPD Stats.” The article reviewed the NYPD’s statistics on harassment reports and highlighted the 11% increase of second-degree harassment incidents against Asian New Yorkers older than 65 in 2020 compared to 2019. Further, the article describes how reports of harassment are rarely investigated due to how hate crimes and harassment are classified under New York penal law and criminal procedural law. “For crimes against Asian Americans, it seems like there’s a default like we begin with ‘It’s not a hate crime’ and we’re going to have to look for things that prove it is,” stated Chris. He believes that district attorneys should elevate the charges to more serious offenses, even if they cannot be designated as hate crimes.  

The article notes that the NYPD has tried to prevent the increase of harassment incidents in New York by deploying undercover Asian police officers in the community: “In three incidents this month, undercover Asian police officers were targeted in Manhattan, according to the NYPD. All three suspects were arrested and charged with hate crimes. In the most recent incident, on Saturday, police allege a man attempted to shove the officer into subway tracks, saying: ‘That’s why you people are getting beat up. I got nothing to lose.'” Despite this, harassment cases are often dismissed by judges and anti-Asian violence incidents are still underreported.

Chris Kwok was also quoted in an April 15th World Journal article “仇恨亞裔案件列「反新冠」欄目 批評人士:警低估危機” about the underreporting of anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020.

Please also take a look at previous blog posts from February 19March 1March 8March 15March 29, and April 12 quoting Chris Kwok or mentioning AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence. If you have come across a news report or article about our report that is not listed above, please let us know at main@aabany.org.

More public awareness about our report and the rise in anti-Asian violence is needed. Please share our report widely. If you have ideas or thoughts about how we can combat anti-Asian violence, please share them with us at main@aabany.org.

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.

Former AABANY Member Daniel M. Chung Writes Op-Ed Emphasizing Need for New Santa Clara County District Attorney

On April 19, 2021, San Jose Inside published an op-ed titled “Santa Clara County Deserves a New District Attorney” by Daniel M. Chung, formerly with the Bronx DA’s office and was an AABANY member. Daniel currently works as a Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney and in the op-ed, he voices the need for a new District Attorney in Santa Clara County who will celebrate the diversity of the community and speak out against injustice.

As an Asian-American prosecutor in Santa Clara County, Daniel felt that he needed to speak out against anti-Asian violence at a time when many local community leaders stayed silent. He published an op-ed in the Mercury News on February 14, 2021, about the recent surge of anti-Asian violence and the need for balanced criminal justice reforms to protect victims and communities. In response to the publication, Daniel’s boss, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen, had Daniel appear at a hearing to answer allegations that he had used his official title without authorization, and reassigned him twice in two days with no customary notice or explanation. Daniel attributes DA Rosen’s actions to his boss’ political aspirations and explains that rather than demonstrating commitment to racial justice and the Asian community in Santa Clara County, DA Rosen chose to stay silent. Daniel stresses the importance of a new District Attorney in Santa Clara County:

Santa Clara County deserves a DA who will be a leader—not a bandwagoner—in speaking out against injustice to Asian Americans and others. A DA who will demand unwavering loyalty to the law and justice and not to himself. A DA who will prioritize public safety and not promote a culture of fear and retaliation. A DA who will respect free speech, say what he means, and mean what he says. Santa Clara County deserves a DA who will celebrate the rich diversity of our community and protect us—not for personal or political gain, but because it is the right thing to do.

To read the full op-ed, click here.

NAPABA Partners with New Initiative to Combat Anti-Asian Violence

For Immediate Release: Date: April 15, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

NAPABA is proud to join the newly established Alliance for Asian American Justice (“The Alliance”) as part of a coalition of leading AAPI advocacy organizations, Fortune 1000 General Counsel, and over 40 law firms in a national initiative designed to ensure that victims of anti-Asian crime, hatred, and bigotry are able to access pro bono legal services. The work of The Alliance leverages NAPABA’s existing intake efforts on hate crimes and hate incident reporting, and bolsters NAPABA’s leadership in providing victims, community based organizations, and community leaders with the information they need, in the language they understand, through its groundbreaking collection of hate crimes reporting toolkits, which were developed in partnership with the APIA Health Forum and translated into 24 different AAPI languages, the largest collection of its kind. For more on The Alliance, please click here.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents 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.

PRESS RELEASE: THE ASIAN AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK AND THE CHINESE CONSOLIDATED BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION LAUNCH VIRTUAL COMMUNITY PRESENTATIONS & MONTHLY CLINIC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 31, 2021

Contact: Yang Chen, Executive Director

NEW YORK – March 31, 2021 – AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Services Committee (“PBCS”) and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (“CCBA”) will launch monthly virtual community presentations and clinic sessions beginning April 2021. This is a joint project to serve members of the Asian Pacific American community who have limited English proficiency by providing free “Know Your Rights” presentations about various common legal issues in housing law, elder law, family law, immigration law, and employment law. Each month will focus on one specific area of law that affects the community, along with a Know Your Rights session on anti-Asian hate and harassment at every virtual presentation. We hope to raise awareness of anti-Asian violence, to inform our audience how to report a hate incident, and to provide helpful resources to victims of hate crime.

Click here to read the full press release.

AABANY Board Director Chris Kwok Continues to be Widely Cited on Anti-Asian Violence

On March 16, Chris Kwok, AABANY Board Director, AABANY Issues Committee Chair, and Co-Executive Editor of AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence, was featured on WGN Radio’s Legal Face-Off podcast. Hosts Tina Martini and Rich Lenkov interviewed Chris and SmithAmundsen Partner Gary Zhao on the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes across the United States. In the podcast, Chris explained that Asian Americans have become the scapegoat of the pandemic due to the increased stress that society has faced during COVID-19, the geo-strategic competition between Asia and America, and the discovery of the first COVID-19 cases in Wuhan, China. From the police to the public at large, Chris stated that we must hold perpetrators of anti-Asian violence accountable for both the harm and fear it engenders. Americans, especially district attorneys, must educate themselves on how Asian Americans experience race. At the end of the interview, Chris noted that “sometimes revolutionary change is hard and we need to push towards it.” To listen to the full interview segment on the podcast, click here and go to timestamp 14:16-25:42.

On March 17, The Asian American/Asian Research Institute (AAARI) at The City University of New York (CUNY) quoted Chris in its statement against anti-Asian hate. AAARI echoed Chris’s assertion that charging pandemic-related violence against Asian Americans as hate crimes “would have sent a signal that this was unacceptable and that if you were going to target Asian Americans, there would be consequences.” To read AAARI’s full statement, click here.

On March 18, MetroFocus interviewed Chris following the Atlanta spa shootings that claimed the lives of eight people, six of whom were Asian women. Chris criticized the way in which law enforcement and the media have deracialized this tragedy by framing it as a product of sexual addiction rather than the historic fetishization of Asian women. That the shootings have not been charged as hate crimes also reinforces Chris’s belief that Asians, as “honorary whites,” face the burden of proving that they have experienced discrimination. Chris hopes that the Atlanta shootings will continue to serve as a “moment of reckoning” for Asian Americans nationwide to share their experiences with race, challenge the divisive model minority myth, and build a more harmonious multiracial society. To listen to the full interview on PBS, click here.

On March 19, Medill Reports Chicago published an audio clip in which Chris described how recent acts of anti-Asian violence have led him to fear for his own safety and the safety of his family. Speaking of his wife, Chris said, “I’d like for her to go about daily life without fear of harrassment and discrimination and that she be a full citizen without having to prove herself in any way.” To read the article and listen to the full audio clip, click here.

Also on March 19, the Daily Mail invoked the AABANY report’s finding that the ongoing surge in anti-Asian attacks has not elicited a corresponding increase in prosecutions. The article quoted Chris’s assertion that “we don’t know a single prosecution, either on the criminal side or civil resolution. It’s difficult to tell people that you exist. We’ll continue to do that until that’s no longer needed.” To read the full article, click here

On March 26, Chris was interviewed by Yuntong Man from The Pulse on Radio Television Hong Kong in a segment on anti-Asian violence and racism in the United States. Chris stated that Asian Americans are not usually seen as subjects of racism and hate crimes, and because of this, there needs to be a “whole degree of education that the district attorneys in America at any level need to have.” Prosecutors and local government need to be accountable and demonstrate that it is not okay to commit acts of anti-Asian violence. To view the full interview segment, click here.

Here are some news stories that have quoted Chris Kwok from other interviews:

“Son of Atlanta Shooting Victim Calls Accused Shooter’s ‘Sex Addiction’ Claim ‘Bull****’” By Inside Edition Staff, March 19, 2021, Inside Edition, https://www.insideedition.com/son-of-atlanta-shooting-victim-calls-accused-shooters-sex-addiction-claim-bull-65606 

“Will Asian Americans ever be accepted as Americans?” By Kara Schroeder, March 19, 2021, China Daily, http://epaper.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202103/19/WS6053f0a0a31099a234354c6d.html 

“Meghan McCain retracts defense of Donald Trump calling COVID ‘the China Virus’” By Brian Niemietz, March 22, 2021, New York Daily News, https://www.nydailynews.com/snyde/ny-maghan-mccain-donald-trump-john-oliver-sorry-china-virus-20210322-nrxuq6afhbemnbigg7j2rd2dt4-story.html 

“Anti-Asian Hate Crime Crosses Racial and Ethnic Lines” By Masood Farivar, March 24, 2021, Voice of America, https://www.voanews.com/usa/anti-asian-hate-crime-crosses-racial-and-ethnic-lines 

“Lawmakers Want To Reform Hate Crime Laws. Will That Actually Ease Attacks On Asian Community?” By Anna Lucente Sterling, March 29, 2021, Spectrum News NY 1, https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2021/03/29/lawmakers-want-to-reform-hate-crime-laws–will-that-actually-ease-attacks-on-asian-community- 

Here are some news stories that have mentioned AABANY’s report:

“Arrested suspect in US spa killing spree ‘said he wanted to eliminate his sex addiction’” By An Wentzel, March 18, 2021, Daily Maverick, https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2021-03-18-arrested-suspect-in-us-spa-killing-spree-said-he-wanted-to-eliminate-his-sex-addiction/ 

“Resources to Support Asian Communities in New York City and Beyond” By ALL ARTS STAFF, March 18, 2021, ALL ARTS, https://allarts.org/2021/03/resources-to-support-asian-artists-communities-new-york-city-and-beyond/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20210322 

“A Tipping Point for Asian American Lawyers?” By Vivia Chen, March 19, 2021, Bloomberg Law, https://news.bloomberglaw.com/business-and-practice/a-tipping-point-for-asian-american-lawyers 

“Queens College President Confronts Violence Against Asian Americans” March 19, 2021, The Brian Lehrer Show, https://www.wnyc.org/story/queens-college-president-confronts-violence-against-asian-americans/ 

“急増するアジア系米国住民への差別や犯罪。在米日本人に聞く「今」” March 24, 2021, Yahoo Japan, https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/2a8e18a07b2b766f143f4559860073e9dc3e1fbd 

“Anti-Asia Marak di Amerika, Kecemburuan Ekonomi Penyebabnya?” By Bogordaily.net, March 24, 2021, Bogordaily.net, https://bogordaily.net/2021/03/anti-asia-marak-di-amerika-kecemburuan-ekonomi-penyebabnya/ 

“Second thoughts about being an Asian American” By Nikkie Salgado, March 25, 2021, MercatorNet, https://mercatornet.com/second-thoughts-about-being-an-asian-american/71082/ 

Please also take a look at previous blog posts from February 19March 1March 8, and March 15 highlighting news stories about our report. If you have come across a news report or article about our report that is not listed above, please let us know at main@aabany.org.

More public awareness about our report and the rise in anti-Asian violence is needed. Please share our report widely. If you have ideas or thoughts about how we can combat anti-Asian violence, please share them with us at main@aabany.org.