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.

AAJANY Statement on Anti-Asian Violence

We are heartened by the expressions of solidarity against anti-Asian bigotry and violence from our brothers and sisters across the many bar and judicial associations. We too express our condolences to the families of all victims in Atlanta and to all Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have experienced violence of any kind based on their ethnicity.  To quote the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: 

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.  We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.  Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”   

– Asian American Judges Association of New York State 

Chris Kwok Testifies Before the City Council Committee on Public Safety

On March 16, Chris Kwok testified on behalf of AABANY before the City Council Committee on Public Safety in support of two changes to the NYPD Asian Hate Crimes Task Force: to fully fund the Task Force and to replace its volunteer staff with paid personnel. An AABANY Board Director and Chair of the Issues Committee, Chris shared that AABANY was the first to publicly voice these recommendations in its report on anti-Asian violence. The report recounts numerous instances of assault and harassment against Asian Americans in New York over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Chris highlighted the persistence of such racially fueled attacks to this day. Chris also noted that media outlets, community leaders, and politicians have since backed AABANY’s proposals to fully fund and formally staff the Task Force. Among these supporters, Chris identified the inspector of the Task Force itself, New York mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, and all of the District 1 City Council candidates. District 1 covers Manhattan’s Chinatown among other neighborhoods and sites. In the face of unrelenting anti-Asian violence throughout the state, the statement concluded with Chris’s call for a fully funded and full-time task force to foster trust within the Asian American community and to encourage the continued reporting of anti-Asian hate crimes. To read Chris’s written statement, submitted with his testimony, click here. AABANY gratefully acknowledges Student Leader Taiyee Chien for his assistance in drafting the statement.

NAPABA Calls on Law Enforcement to Fully Investigate Georgia Shootings

For Immediate Release: Date: March 17, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON—Last night, a gunman entered multiple businesses in Atlanta and opened fire on their predominantly Asian American workforces. This horrifying act of violence left eight dead, including six Asian American women. There have now been nearly 3,800 documented attacks against Asian Americans since the start of the pandemic just over a year ago, with this incident, sadly, being the most brazen and violent.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)’s president A.B. Cruz III issued the following statement:

“NAPABA extends its heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and coworkers of the eight victims. Last night’s murders are only the latest in a distressing trend that specifically targets and physically attacks Asian Americans—particularly the elderly and women. This is totally unacceptable.

While further details of this violent act are still forthcoming, it is clear, from this latest tragedy and the many before it, that the Asian American community has good reason to be acutely concerned. Therefore, we specifically call on federal and local state law enforcement to aggressively investigate and prosecute these unconscionable killings to the fullest extent, including unearthing and evaluating all evidence supporting that these murders were racially motivated.

NAPABA is working closely with its Affiliate, the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association on this matter. We are fully committed to providing the necessary resources to the victims and their families to ensure justice ultimately prevails, and our community and our allies may heal and transcend this atrocity.”

NAPABA’s hate crimes resources, including providing pro bono legal assistance, can be found here. NAPABA’s Stand Against Hate campaign, denouncing racism can be found here. NAPABA and its affiliates’ past statements on anti-Asian hate can be found here.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of over 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.

AABANY Issues Statement on Atlanta Shootings

The Asian American Bar Association of New York expresses its pain and sorrow at this latest act of violence in Atlanta involving shootings of members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. We extend condolences to the families of the victims in these shootings. In this time of increased violence and harassment against the AAPI community, we commend the quick apprehension of the suspect. We urge law enforcement officials to conduct a full investigation, working with community organizations Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association (GAPABA) that will be able to offer culturally and historically guided assistance in how hate crimes impact and affect AAPI communities.

In the News: AABANY and Paul, Weiss’ Report on Anti-Asian Violence Cited in The Guardian and Madison.com

AABANY and Paul, Weiss’ report on anti-Asian violence was recently mentioned in a March 1, 2021 article on The Guardian about TurboVax, a bot created by Huge Ma to help New Yorkers across the state locate available COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Over the February 27 weekend, Huge Ma temporarily suspended TurboVax to protest the hate crimes against Asian Americans. In the article, The Guardian cited AABANY’s report on the surge of incidents of anti-Asian hate and violence. To read the full article, click here.

Chris Kwok, AABANY Board Director and Co-Executive Editor of the report, was interviewed in a madison.com segment titled “Anti-Asian attacks on the rise” on February 23, 2021. He encouraged Asian Americans who have experienced anti-Asian discrimination or harassment to report and discuss what happened, rather than let it go unreported.

Please also take a look at previous blog posts from February 19, March 1, and March 8 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.

Spike Lee Interviews AABANY Board Director Chris Kwok

On March 3rd, 2021, AABANY Board Director, Asia Practice Committee Co-Chair, and Issues Committee Chair Chris Kwok was invited to visit Spike Lee at his production site in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Known for his movie Do The Right Thing (1989), Director Spike Lee is in the process of filming an eight hour documentary to capture New York’s resiliency from 9/11 to Covid-19. For the upcoming documentary, Spike Lee interviewed over 200 people and wanted to interview Chris to speak about the Asian American community in New York.

For Chris, Spike Lee has been a part of his life since high school. Do The Right Thing was Spike Lee’s magnum opus—the movie illustrated race relations between Italians, Blacks, and Asians in New York. In one iconic scene, a riot breaks out and as the Blacks move on to destroy the Korean bakery after burning down the Italian pizzeria, the owner of the bakery tells them, “You, me, same.” The Koreans and Blacks are on the same side and as an assertive African American filmmaker about racial justice, Spike Lee understood that at the time. Through his many projects, Spike Lee has recognized the Asian American community and sees Asian Americans as part of the fabric of New York. That stood out to Chris and his friends in high school. 

Spike Lee is iconic but also very personal. “He is including us and we should know more about African Americans and their culture. They have always been inclusive to us, and we should know their path in history,” said Chris. “BLM and fighting anti-Asian violence is the same fight. You don’t have to choose one over the other because it’s the manifestation of structural racism and the effort to dismantle it.” Chris’ comments reflect the message of Do The Right Thing. Asian Americans and African Americans need to be united and Spike Lee highlights that by writing “BLM + AABANY Brothers and Sista’s” in an autographed Do The Right Thing sign he presented to Chris at the interview (see image above).

Spike Lee’s new documentary “NYC Epicenters 9/11→ 2021½” is scheduled to be released later this year on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.

In the News: Press Coverage on AABANY and Paul, Weiss’ Report on Anti-Asian Violence Continues

Since the release of AABANY and Paul, Weiss’ Report, A Rising Tide of Hate and Violence against Asian Americans in New York During COVID-19: Impact, Causes, Solutions on February 11, there has been ongoing widespread press attention in print and on air. Chris Kwok, Co-Executive Editor of the report and AABANY Board Director, has been interviewed by various news outlets on the reports’ findings including a segment on CNN Tonight, on Spectrum News NY1, and a City & State New York Ask the Experts article along with Taiyee Chien, one of AABANY’s Student Leaders. The report was also recently cited on the March 1st broadcast of the Brian Lehrer show.

Here is the current list of news stories about recent incidents of anti-Asian violence, where they mention AABANY’s report or quote Chris Kwok:

“紐約反亞裔暴力上升 提7點建議扭轉趨勢” February 11, 2021, Sing Tao Daily, https://www.singtaousa.com/ny/436-%E7%B4%90%E7%B4%84/3270435-%E7%B4%90%E7%B4%84%E5%8F%8D%E4%BA%9E%E8%A3%94%E6%9A%B4%E5%8A%9B%E4%B8%8A%E5%8D%87++%E6%8F%907%E9%BB%9E%E5%BB%BA%E8%AD%B0%E6%89%AD%E8%BD%89%E8%B6%A8%E5%8B%A2/

“武漢肺炎|紐約巿針對亞裔仇恨罪案激增7倍 分析指受害人不願報案問題被低估” February 13, 2021, AppleDaily (HK), https://hk.appledaily.com/international/20210213/W3QTOPQJBJCSTAA623TY6OWMDE/

“美國亞裔遭攻擊事件激增 拜登總統譴責暴力並採取行動” February 15, 2021, Voice of America, https://www.voacantonese.com/a/asian-american-rights-groups-call-for-actions-to-protect-communities/5777947.html 

“「黃皮膚」帶來病毒?美國亞裔遭攻擊2800起” By 李慧蘋, February 17, 2021, TVBS News (TW), https://news.tvbs.com.tw/life/1464804 

“Anti-Asian Hate Crimes are on the Rise—and the Community is Fighting Back” By Sarah Chung, February 28, 2021, New York City Lens, https://nycitylens.com/anti-asian-hate-crimes-rise-community-fighting-back/ 

“Hate Crimes Targeting Asian Americans Spiked by 150% in Major US Cities” By Masood Farivar, March 2, 2021, Voice of America, https://www.voanews.com/usa/race-america/hate-crimes-targeting-asian-americans-spiked-150-major-us-cities 

“Comment guérir les maux du « racisme américain » ?” March 3, 2021, Radio Chine Internationale, http://french.cri.cn/commentaire/2495/20210303/628538.html 

“What can be done to stem hatred against Asian Americans?” By Kay Dervishi, March 3, 2021, City & State New York, https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/ask-experts/what-can-be-done-stem-hatred-against-asian-americans.html 

“Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Spiked in L.A. Last Year” By Gwynedd Stuart, March 3, 2021, Los Angeles Magazine, https://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/anti-asian-hate-crimes-los-angeles-2020/ 

“Hate Crimes Targeting Asian-Americans Spiked by 150% in 2020” By BR Web Desk, March 4, 2021, Business Recorder, https://www.brecorder.com/news/40070193 

“Hate Crimes Against Asian-Americans Are Up as Overall Crime Goes Down” By Shannan Ferry, March 5, 2021, Spectrum News NY 1, https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2021/03/05/hate-crimes-against-asian-americans-up# 

“Police Data Shows 150% Increase in Hate Attacks on Asians Across Major Cities in 2020” By Ryan General, March 5, 2021, NextShark, https://news.yahoo.com/police-data-shows-150-increase-195216687.html 

“Anti-Asian violence has surged in the US since COVID-19. But it didn’t start there” By Maura Hohman, March 6, 2021, Today, https://www.today.com/news/anti-asian-violence-history-anti-asian-racism-us-t210645 

“Anti-Asian violence has spiked since the pandemic began” CNN Tonight, https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2021/03/03/asian-hate-crime-coronavirus-covid-19-ctn-walker-pkg-hnk-vpx.cnn 

Please also take a look at previous blog posts from February 19 and March 1 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.