The Historical Society of the New York Courts was founded in 2002 by then New York State Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye. Its mission is to preserve, protect and promote the legal history of New York, including the proud heritage of its courts and the development of the Rule of Law.
A first generation immigrant herself, Lin attempts to define what it means to be “Asian American,” noting that the term often groups a diverse collection of people into a single phrase. In actuality, she explains, there are a plethora of cultures, languages, religions, histories, and patterns of immigration within the umbrella term; perhaps what most strongly links Asian Americans to one another are the hardships they face.
“Asian Americans are often grouped together as an undifferentiated mass and many share the experience of being treated as perpetual foreigners who do not fully belong in America,” Lin writes. From the Bubonic Plague of the 1900s – when San Francisco’s Chinatown was quarantined – to the present day, when COVID-19 has propelled a new wave of anti-Asian xenophobia and racism, Asian Americans have historically faced people challenging their place in this country, Lin says.
The designation of May as Asian Pacific Islander American Heritage Month, then, is an homage to Asian Americans who often feel invisible. Lin explains that May was chosen to celebrate Asian American history to mark the anniversary of Japanese immigrants arriving in the US, and to acknowledge the contributions of Chinese workers in building the transcontinental railroad.
Lin embeds a powerful lesson in her article: Asian Americans will no longer accept being silenced, blamed, or overlooked. This month is only the first step on the journey ahead.
Thanks to Karen Lin for sharing these important thoughts on APA Heritage Month. To read the full blog post, click here.
Despite the restrictions against public gatherings during COVID-19, AABANY has remained active and busy for APA Heritage Month, hosting multiple community presentations about anti-Asian harassment and violence on May 13, 16, and 17, in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Korean.
We will continue to celebrate APA Heritage Month during the remainder of May, and we hope you will join us at the following events. Please follow the links for further details and to register.
On May 23, 2019 AABANY co-sponsored a reenactment of the Supreme Court cases Takao Ozawa v. United States (1922) and United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923) in the Ceremonial Courtroom at 225 Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn. The two historical cases describe the exclusionary immigration policies that prevented Asian immigrants from becoming naturalized citizens. The reenactment scripts were written by longtime AABANY members Kathy Hirata Chin and her husband, the Hon. Denny Chin. The event was jointly sponsored by the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY) and was held in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, during the month of May. The event was covered by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported on the history of these reenactments, “The Chins began writing and performing these reenactments 12 years ago, and every year they create a new performance based on a different case. Judge Chin explained that they look for cases of importance historically and that still resonate today.”
Congratulations to Judge Pamela Chen, U.S. District Court Judge at the Eastern District of New York, on being honored by the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association and the Asian American Judges Association of New York during an Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Celebration held at the Brooklyn Bar Association building at 123 Remsen Street in downtown Brooklyn on Monday, May 13. We were joined by many State and Federal Court judges who came out to celebrate with Judge Chen. We even had a lion dance, which may have been the first time this Chinese tradition was observed at the Brooklyn Bar Association.
In 2012, President Obama nominated Judge Chen to serve as a Federal District Court Judge in the Eastern District of New York. The United States Senate confirmed her nomination on March 4, 2013, and she became the first Chinese-American female Article III judge outside of California and the second-ever Chinese-American female federal judge in U.S. history, continuing to add to the rich legacy of the Second Circuit and New York State.
As AABANY Executive Director Yang Chen Stated: “During May, we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and it is a most fitting tribute that we recognize and honor a distinguished jurist like Judge Chen, who has been a champion of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. Judge Chen has been an active AABANY member for many years, and we proudly followed Judge Chen’s path to the bench and her rise over the years, and congratulate her on this well-deserved honor.”
Please join AABANY in congratulating Judge Pamela Chen.
From Everett Lo, Project Manager, Social Security Administration:
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), recognizing the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the United States. May is also Mental Health Awareness Month, when we shine a light on mental health. No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, Social Security is there for you and your family, providing financial protection and vital services for all Americans, including AAPIs.
The 2019 APAHM theme, Unite Our Mission by Engaging Each Other, affords a unique opportunity to work together to ensure access to Social Security’s programs and benefits for AAPIs experiencing mental illness. Please join us for an informative call as we discuss Mental Illness in the AAPI Community, and How Social Security Can Help, on Thursday, May 23, 2019, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EDT. You must register by Monday, May 20, 2019 by 5:00 p.m. EDT to participate in this call. Registrants will receive conference call dial-in information in a separate email on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.
Leading advocates in AAPI mental health will share personal insights, and representatives from Social Security will explain how we evaluate mental illness for Social Security Disability benefits, including resources available to help you.
Congratulations to Hon. Randall T. Eng, retired Presiding Justice of the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, on receiving the Charles W. Froessel Award from Queens County Bar Association at its Annual Dinner held on May 2 at Terrace on the Park in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. This award celebrates Justice Eng’s achievements as a legal professional and honors his contributions to the Queens County Bar Association.
Justice Eng was born in Guangzhou, China, and was raised in New York City. He received a Juris Doctor degree from St. John’s University School of Law in 1972. Upon graduating from law school, Justice Eng served as an assistant district attorney in Queens. In 1983, Justice Eng was appointed to the Criminal Court of the City of New York by Mayor Edward I. Koch. In 1988, Justice Eng was appointed to serve as an Acting Justice of New York State Supreme Court. In 1990, Justice Eng was elected to stay in the position and was re-elected in 2004. Between 2007 and 2008, Justice Eng was appointed to serve a short term as Administrative Judge of the Criminal Term of Queens County Supreme Court, and he served in this role until he was elevated to the Appellate Division in 2008. In 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Justice Eng to lead the Second Department as the presiding justice, where he oversaw one of the busiest judicial departments in the country. This appointment made Justice Eng the first Asian American to serve as a presiding justice in New York State. Justice Eng retired from the bench and joined Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. as Of Counsel in January 2018.
Over his long and prolific legal career, Justice Eng has received numerous honors, including AABANY’s Norman Lau Kee Trailblazer Award in 2017, OCA-NY Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018, and the Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award in 2016, the highest honor bestowed by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, of which AABANY is an affiliate.
As AABANY President Brian Song stated: “AABANY congratulates Justice Eng on receiving the Charles W. Froessel Award from the Queens County Bar Association,” states AABANY President Brian Song, “It is yet another well-deserved recognition of Justice Eng’s achievements as a prominent jurist who has led the way for generations of attorneys and judges to follow his example. During May, when we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, it is a most fitting tribute that we recognize and honor the milestones and achievements of role models like Justice Randall Eng. None of us would be here today were it not for Justice Eng and other APA judges and lawyers who led the way.”
Please join AABANY in congratulating Hon. Randall T. Eng .
AABANY is a proud co-sponsor of the following events in celebration of APA Heritage Month, and we invite you to join us at one or more of them in May. If you have any questions, contact us at [email protected]
AABANY Co-Sponsors: Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association APAHM Celebration
AABANY Co-Sponsors: The Fight for Justice: 75th Anniversary of Korematsu v. US
Location: Robert H. Jackson Center 305 E. 4th Street Jamestown, New York
AABANY’s classic trial reenactment is making a return in celebration of APA Heritage Month as well as the 75th anniversary of the Korematsu decision. We are honored to have invited Karen Korematsu, daughter of Fred Korematsu; John Q. Barrett, Professor at St. John’s University School of Law; Hon. Denny Chin, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Thomas Loftus, Justice Jackson’s Grandson. For more information, go to https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1231073
AABANY Co-Sponsors: Alice in Chinatown: Chol Soo Lee and His Fight for Freedom
Location: Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP 200 Liberty Street New York, New York 10281
Led by the Honorable Denny Chin, AABANY’s trial reenactment team will celebrate APA Heritage Month by retelling the story of Chol Soo Lee, a young Korean American who was wrongly accused and imprisoned for a gangland murder in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The effort to free him represented the beginning of Asian American activism in the 1970s. For more information, go to https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1229620
AABANY Co-Sponsors “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”
Four Gateway Center 100 Mulberry Street Newark, New Jersey 07102
AABANY will join APALA-NJ, McCarter & English and KALAGNY for a networking reception and a screening of the documentary Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, which tells the story of the Chinese immigrant Sung family’s resilience against injustice when their bank was the only one pursued by prosecutors in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse. For more information, go to https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1229311
“Murder of Vincent Chin” Trial Reenactment
White & Case LLP 1221 6th Ave New York, New York 10020
White & Case presentes a reenactment of “Building Our Legacy: The Murder of Vincent Chin,” one of AABANY’s best known and most performed reenactments. From AABANY’s Trial Reenactments website: “Vincent Chin was beaten to death in 1982 in Detroit. When the assailants didn’t even receive jail time, the injustice galvanized the Asian American community.” For more information, go to https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1214265
AABANY Co-Sponsors: Breaking Through: A Look Beyond the Bamboo Ceiling
1251 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York
Please join the Diversity and Leadership Network and AABANY in celebrating Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month! The DLN will host an informative conversation with guest speakers, including the Honorable Justice Jeffrey K. Oing, Lawson Huynh, Associate at Lowenstein Sandler, Blossom Kan, Assistant General Counsel for MetLife, and Sonia Low, General Counsel of Jacob J. Javits Center, about the challenges and successes of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the legal profession. For more information, go to