In the News: Jennifer Wu and Lawrence Wee Featured by Bloomberg Law for Anti-Asian Violence Work

On June 10, 2022 AABANY Women’s Committee Co-Chair and AABANY Anti-Asian Violence Task Force member Jennifer Wu and AABANY Board Director Lawrence (“Larry”) Wee were recognized by Bloomberg Law in an article entitled “Why Paul Weiss Is the Pro Bono Go-To for Victims of Asian Hate.” Jennifer and Larry, both partners at Paul, Weiss, have represented some of the most high profile cases, including the families of GuiYing Ma, a grandmother who died after being bashed with a rock; Yao Pan Ma, an elderly man who was struck and kicked to death while collecting cans; and Zhiwen Yan, a deliveryman who was shot to death. 

Jennifer and Larry spearhead their firm’s pro bono work fighting anti-Asian hate. They cite their close ties to New York’s Asian community as a reason for their work. Larry is a preacher at a church in Chinatown and Jennifer’s husband, Andy Woo, is a community organizer in Chinatown. Jennifer and Larry feel an urgent sense of responsibility to fight hate against the Asian community. Their urgency is well supported by AABANY’s second anti-Asian violence report, Endless Tide: The Continuing Struggle to Overcome Anti-Asian Hate in New York, which shows an increase in incidents despite media attention and calls by elected officials for change on the issue. (Paul, Weiss attorneys assisted in editing and drafting the Endless Tide report.)

Gaining the trust of victims and their families is not easy and requires great cultural sensitivity. “Often, they don’t trust people with money, and they’re worried that you’re in cahoots with authorities,” Jennifer said. She meets her clients in noodle shops in Queens rather than Paul, Weiss’ Manhattan office. Jennifer and Larry, both Chinese speakers, are the most visible members of Paul, Weiss’ fight against anti-Asian hate. They are grateful for the many additional partners, including Loretta Lynch, Jeannie Rhee, and Alan Halperin, who have been essential to the effort. 

AABANY congratulates Jennifer and Larry on their well-deserved recognition. To read the full article, please click here

AABANY Co-Sponsors Historic Reenactment: “Kung Flu”: A History of Violence and Hostility Against Asian Americans

On March 24, 2022 AABANY co-sponsored a reenactment on the history of anti-Asian violence and hostility at the New York City Bar Association in midtown Manhattan. The script was written by Kathy Hirata Chin and her husband, the Hon. Denny Chin, longtime leaders and supporters of AABANY, who spearheaded the AABANY Trial Reenactment project. “Kung Flu” marks the Trial Reenactment Team’s 14th production. “Kung Flu” was first performed to a standing room only audience at the NAPABA National Convention in Washington, DC, in December 2021.

The program examined the history of anti-Asian violence and hostility through narration, reenactment of court proceedings, and historic photos.  Asian Americans did not hesitate to fight for their rights in the courts, and these cases raised issues that were — and still are — important to all Americans.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been more than 10,000 incidents of violence and hostility against Asian Americans nationwide.  But this is nothing new, for there is a long and little-known history of anti-Asian violence in this country — from the lynching of 15 Chinese in Los Angeles in 1871 to the expulsion of all the South Asian residents of Bellingham, Washington in 1907 to five days of rioting and attacks against Filipino men in Watsonville, California in 1930.  

​​Likewise, the recent rhetoric about the “China virus” and “Kung Flu” is not the first time Asian Americans have been targeted over purported health concerns.  In 1870, San Francisco passed two health ordinances that were enforced only against the “Chinese and Asiatics.”  In 1900, amidst fears of the bubonic plague, San Francisco required “the inoculation of all Chinese residents” and quarantined Chinatown. The ordinances were not applied to members of any other groups.

The reenactment acknowledges the challenges Asian Americans have faced in the past and  reminds us that much is still to be done. 

We thank Judge Denny Chin and Kathy Hirata Chin for leading the AABANY Trial Reenactment Team and all the participants for giving their time to raise awareness on anti-Asian violence and hostility. We thank the New York City Bar Association for co-sponsoring and allowing us to perform “Kung Flu” in the Great Hall. President Sheila Boston presented opening remarks at the start of the program and performed as Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald. To learn more about AABANY’s reenactments project, please visit https://reenactments.aabany.org/.

AABANY Attends Asian Justice Rally in Manhattan on January 30

Photo by Han Wen Zhang.

On Sunday, January 30th, a group of AABANY members from the Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) and Government Service & Public Interest (GSPI) Committees joined a nationwide rally for Asian justice. The AABANY group, led by May Wong, vice-chair of PBCS, and Kevin Hsi, co-chair of GSPI, held vibrant posters to raise awareness on anti-Asian hate and violence. 

The Asian Justice Rally was held on the anniversary of the death of 84-year old Thai grandfather Vicha Ratanapakdee, commemorating him and the many victims of Asian hate. The rally drew attendees in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, and worldwide on livestream. In Manhattan, speakers included Senator John Liu,  Senator Chuck Schumer, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation Jo-Ann Yoo, NYC Public Advocate Jumanne Williams, the daughter of victim Vilma Kari, the aunt of the late Christian Hall, and Assistant District Attorney and AABANY member Grace Vee. 

A group of AABANY members, including co-chair of GSPI Kevin Hsi (far left), holding colorful printouts brought by AABANY member and event speaker Grace Vee. Photo by Han Wen Zhang.

“Silence is violence, we are not a virus.”

“Get it right the first time, that was a hate crime.” 

The crowd chanted in Foley Square, surrounded by the New York Supreme Court, the Federal Courthouse and the Manhattan Municipal Building. Hundreds of attendees held signs demanding justice and awareness. Around 2:45 pm, a minute of silence was observed in remembrance of the victims of anti-Asian hate. The rally ended with a march through the streets of Lower Manhattan.

Thank you to everyone who attended this event to denounce the hatred and violence faced by the AAPI community. To learn more about the Pro Bono & Community Service Committee, please visit https://www.aabany.org/page/117. To learn more about the Government Service & Public Interest (GSPI) Committee, please visit https://www.aabany.org/page/113. To view more pictures of the event taken by AABANY leaders Kevin Hsi and May Wong, please visit https://photos.app.goo.gl/nnxQ33UugR21NrNh6

Photo by Han Wen Zhang.

In the News: Board Director Chris Kwok Interviewed on The Debrief

On June 11, AABANY Board Director Chris Kwok was interviewed by Erica Byfield on News 4 The Debrief podcast for an episode titled “Anti-Asian Attacks and Relations With the Black Community.” In the episode, they talked about the ongoing hate and violence against Asian Americans across the United States and the longstanding history of society’s treatment of non-whites in America. Chris spoke about how fighting anti-Asian violence is connected to the Black Lives Matter and Me Too Movements because people are fighting for the same things—an equal, just society and an equal chance to be human. However, at the same time, people need to understand how race operates differently between Asian Americans, African Americans, and Latino Americans. Chris states, “Having these conversations in public, honestly, with people who know what they’re talking about, and who are sensitive to these topics, empathetic to people’s experiences, knowledgeable about our histories, about how they are intertwined, how they can be used against us, how we can then turn it around and use it for good. If we‘re able to sort of look at it square in the face is, I think, the way forward. There’s no other way.” In addition, Chris discussed the importance of following up with District Attorney’s Offices in New York City to ensure that hate crimes are addressed and perpetrators are held accountable. To listen to the full podcast, click here.

AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence was also recently cited in a June 15 Indonesian article on alinea.id about the naming of viruses and diseases including Covid-19. The article discusses the increase of discrimination against Asian Americans in the U.S. after the widespread labeling of Covid-19 as the “Wuhan virus” and “Chinese virus” by former U.S. President Trump.

Please also take a look at previous blog posts from February 19, March 1, March 8, March 15, March 29, May 10, and May 17 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.

T3 Project: Stand Together with AABANY and AALFNY in Turning the Tide Against Anti-Asian Hate and Violence

AABANY, in partnership with the Asian American Law Fund of New York (AALFNY), is pleased to announce the Turning the Tide (T3) Project. Following the February 10, 2021 publication 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, AABANY established an Anti-Asian Violence Task Force to advance the proposals outlined in the report and consider other solutions to address the surge of anti-Asian hate and violence in the community. The Task Force advances the T3 project, which aims to incorporate a three-pronged approach encompassing education and communication, advocacy, and research, to address anti-Asian hate and violence. 

Please stand together with AABANY and AALFNY in turning the tide against anti-Asian hate and violence. We are now accepting donations to support the T3 Project. Donations can be made to AALFNY and will be tax deductible to the extent permitted by applicable law.

For more details about the T3 Project, please click here

Board Member Margaret Ling Featured in Asian Columbia Alumni Association’s May 2021 Newsletter

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the Asian Columbia Alumni Association (ACAA) is featuring prominent Asian alums and honoring their contributions to Asian and Pacific Islander communities in North America. In the May 2021 Newsletter, ACAA featured AABANY Board Member and Real Estate Committee Co-Chair Margaret Ling (Barnard College ’78) for her actions in speaking up against anti-Asian hate crimes and educating others to respect the AAPI community. In the feature, Margaret is quoted:

“Since 2020, Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) have been intensely affected by the COVID 19 pandemic, the killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, and recently the Atlanta, Georgia killings. Throughout this time, the AAPI community has been faced with racism, xenophobia and anti-Asian hate crimes and violence. As an AAPI attorney and Fourth Generation American Born Chinese, I have been active in speaking up and speaking out with other Asian and ally organizations to educate others to respect the AAPI community and afford all of us equity, fairness and just treatment under the law. We are all Americans and are rooted in our immigrant and cultural heritages which make us stronger together.”

Please join AABANY in congratulating Margaret on her recognition by the Asian Columbia Alumni Association for her work in supporting the AAPI community!

AABANY Publishes Know Your Rights Brochure to Assist AAPI Community Members Experiencing Bias Incidents

To assist the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in New York City amid the surge of anti-Asian hate and violence, AABANY has created a Know Your Rights brochure to inform and educate AAPIs on their legal rights if they experience a bias incident or potential hate crime.

The brochure provides a background of the U.S. legal system, defining a hate crime according to the New York State hate crime statute and differentiates between a hate crime and a bias incident. It encourages individuals who have experienced an incident to focus on the facts and ask themselves: “Do I have evidence that an attack was motivated by a belief or perception about an individual’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, or gender?” The brochure also provides tips on what to do when individuals are experiencing a bias incident. This includes turning on sound or video recording; taking note of the attacker’s physical appearance and clothes; and collecting bystander witness contact information. The brochure then outlines the steps of what to do after experiencing a bias incident, such as pursuing action through the criminal justice system, a civil lawsuit, or non-legal option.

AABANY is available as a resource to the AAPI community. The bar association offers interpretation and translation services, provides information or referral services for individuals interested in pursuing a civil lawsuit, and can serve as a guide for individuals interested in exploring the criminal justice process and other forms of assistance.

To view the Know Your Rights Brochure, please see the links below:

English: https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.aabany.org/resource/resmgr/2021aav/KnowYourRights_Online_0513.pdf

Chinese (simplified): https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.aabany.org/resource/resmgr/2021aav/KnowYourRights_Online_Simpli.pdf

Chinese (traditional): https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.aabany.org/resource/resmgr/2021aav/KnowYourRights_Online_TradCh.pdf

Translations into other Asian languages are currently in process and will be uploaded soon. Please be on the lookout for that announcement.

If you have any questions about these Know Your Rights brochures, please feel free to contact AABANY at main@aabany.org 

Please feel free to share this post and the links to the PDF brochures widely. Please also print out and distribute hard copies to anyone who you think might benefit from receiving this information.

Pro Bono & Community Service Committee Hosts Elder Law Clinic and Presentation

On May 4, AABANY’s Pro Bono & Community Service Committee (PBCS) hosted a virtual law clinic and presentation on elder law as a part of the Virtual Community Presentation Series. The event was co-sponsored by AABANY, the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA), and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of New York.

In light of the instability brought about by the pandemic, the new changes to the Medicaid laws, and the surge in anti-Asian violence, Committee Vice-Chair May Wong moderated the event to address the questions and concerns of the Chinese community, as well as to provide free legal consultations on these topics. May was joined by Karen Eng, specializing in estate planning, administration, elder law, Article 81 guardianship, and residential real estate at Thomas J. Manzi, P.C., and Pauline Yeung-Ha, Partner at Grimaldi & Yeung, LLP specializing in trusts, wills and estates, elder law, and special needs planning. Also present were Co-Chairs Judy Lee, Karen Lin, and Kwok Ng.

Karen Eng presented information on advance directives, wills, and trusts, while Pauline spoke on the new Medicaid changes and the effects the changes would have on individual healthcare. Both Karen Eng and Pauline emphasized the importance of advance preparation in matters of healthcare and estate planning. Kwok translated the speakers consecutively into Cantonese and Mandarin and also presented information on hate crimes and resources for reporting incidents. 31 individuals attended the event. At the presentation’s end, PBCS, along with Karen Eng and Pauline, opened the virtual free services clinic for two client consultations. The CCBA provided their physical headquarters for the two clients to meet remotely with the attorneys.

The PCBS Committee thanks Karen Eng and Pauline Yeung-Ha for offering their expertise in elder law to give back to the Chinese community. PBCS would also like to thank Annalee Patel, Bei Yang, Chao-Yung Chiu, Jian Cui, Julie Choe, Kelly Tang, and Xinyi Shen for their help and support in organizing the event. AABANY would also like to thank the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association and the New York Chinese Chamber of Commerce for co-sponsoring this event. To watch the presentation, click here. To learn more about the Pro Bono & Community Service Committee and its work, click here and click here.

In the News: Board Director Chris Kwok Quoted in the Gothamist on the NYPD’s Misclassification of Anti-Asian Hate Crimes in 2020

AABANY Board Director Chris Kwok was quoted in an April 12th article in the Gothamist titled “The NYPD’s Method of Counting Anti-Asian Attacks Underestimates Severity of Crisis, Critics Say.” The article summarizes the findings of a Gothamist/WNYC investigation on the New York Police Department’s response to the rise of incidents against Asian Americans in 2020. Back in March 2020, the NYPD classified incidents against Asian American New Yorkers as “anti-COVID” due to the victim’s disability status instead of labeling it as “anti-Asian hate crime” when there was clear racial invective present. The article states that in 2020, the NYPD recorded four anti-Asian hate crimes while they recorded 25 anti-COVID crimes during the same period. Out of the 25 anti-COVID crimes, 24 consisted of Asian victims. In the article, Chris stated: “That’s a poor choice — especially in light of what’s happened afterwards. If it was an African American [victim] and COVID-19, I don’t think people would readily say ‘Oh, it’s about the disability’… They’re kind of erasing that [Asian] part.” Chris also mentioned that had the NYPD seen the early 2020 crimes for their underlying racial animus, the NYPD could have addressed the rising attacks sooner.

Here are other recent news stories that have quoted Chris Kwok or mentioned AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence:

“Brutal Attack on Filipino Woman Sparks Outrage: ‘Everybody Is on Edge’” By Nicole Hong, Juliana Kim, Ali Watkins and Ashley Southall, March 30, 2021, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/30/nyregion/asian-attack-nyc.html

“Asian hate: Couple threatened by suspected Black man at Home Depot — ‘I’ll cut you, you f****ng Asian’” By Srivats Lakshman, March 30, 2021, MEAWW, https://meaww.com/hate-crime-new-york-city-home-depot-30-march-2021-couple-attacked 

“We need to recognize and fight against anti-Asian hatred” By Yeji Chung, April 5, 2021, The GW Hatchet, https://www.gwhatchet.com/2021/04/05/we-need-to-recognize-and-fight-against-anti-asian-hatred/ 

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

PRESS RELEASE: MENG AND HIRONO TO INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO COMBAT SURGE OF ANTI-ASIAN HATE CRIMES

This press release has been issued by the Offices of Congresswoman Grace Meng and Senator Mazie Hirono.

For Immediate Release: March 11, 2021

Contacts: 

  • MENG: Mark Olson, 202-819-5580
  • HIRONO: Martha Spieker, 202-365-7943

Legislation comes as Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders experience wave of physical, verbal, and online attacks

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (NY-06), First Vice Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), and U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Executive Board Member of CAPAC, announced their plan to reintroduce the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which seeks to address the ongoing hate and violence targeted toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) by providing greater assistance with law enforcement response to COVID-19 hate crimes and creating a position at the Department of Justice to facilitate expedited review of such cases.

Specifically, the bill would:

  1. Designate an officer or employee of the Justice Department to facilitate expedited review of COVID-19 hate crimes reported to federal, state, and/or local law enforcement;
  2.  Issue guidance for state and local law enforcement agencies to:
    1. establish online reporting of hate crimes or incidents, and to have online reporting available in multiple languages;
    2.   expand culturally competent and linguistically appropriate public education campaigns, and collection of data and public reporting of hate crimes; and
  3.  Issue guidance describing best practices to mitigate racially discriminatory language in describing the COVID–19 pandemic, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the COVID–19 Health Equity Task Force and community-based organizations.

“The ongoing anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents, especially against our elderly Asian Americans, is absolutely horrific. I am honored to introduce the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act with Senator Hirono to address this disgusting pattern of hate,” said Congresswoman Meng. “Before this pandemic started, I urged everyone—including elected officials—to not blame Asian Americans for the virus. My words were not heeded. The former president and his Congressional Republican enablers trafficked racist, bigoted terms to describe COVID-19. In doing so, their language stoked people’s fears and created an atmosphere of intolerance and violence, which persists even today. Since the beginning of the pandemic there has been nearly 3,000 reported incidents of physical, verbal, and online attacks against Asian Americans. Even in my own district in Queens, New York, Asian Americans have been attacked. To combat those acts, we need DOJ to prioritize addressing these heinous acts by designating a point person for these COVID-19 related hate crimes; make it easier for victims to report crimes committed against them; and expand public education campaigns to address COVID-19 hate crimes and incidents. This must end and it is why we are working to ensure our justice system has the people and resources to effectively account for and mitigate anti-Asian hate crimes. I look forward to this bill becoming law.”

“We’ve seen the horrifying consequences of racist language as AAPI communities across our country experience hate crimes and violence related to the pandemic,” said Senator Hirono. “The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act addresses the surge in violence against AAPI communities by dedicating an official at the Department of Justice to expeditiously review hate crimes reported to law enforcement. The bill also provides resources for communities to come together and fight intolerance and hate. This is no less than victims deserve.”

“We are grateful for Senator Hirono and Representative Meng’s leadership in responding to the increased attacks on Asian Americans during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said John C. Yang, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC. “We need improvements in the reporting and handling of COVID-19-related hate crimes by law enforcement at the local, state, and federal levels, as well as making systems more accessible for people with limited proficiency in English. We appreciate the emphasis on linguistically appropriate and culturally competent engagement on data collection and reporting. Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC is committed to countering hate in all its forms, and we will to continue to push for a comprehensive approach to documenting and addressing hate crimes and prioritizing health and safety for all.”

“NAPABA applauds Senator Hirono and Congresswoman Meng for their decisive action to introduce legislation responding to the rise in anti-Asian hate incidents during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said. A.B. Cruz, III, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “NAPABA is committed to ensuring that hate crimes against the Asian American community are properly investigated and prosecuted. The expedited review of hate crimes reported to federal, state, and local law enforcement by the Department of Justice will increase accountability in addressing hate against our community, and establishing a platform for online reporting of hate crimes and incidents in multiple languages will allow more victims to come forward.”

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