NAPABA Congratulates President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on Historic Election

For Immediate Release: November 7, 2020

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

Harris is the first Black, Asian American and Female to be elected to the Executive Office

WASHINGTON — Today, American voters elected Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States and Kamala Harris as 49th Vice President. The Biden|Harris presidential ticket included Harris as the first woman of color to be nominated and elected on a presidential ticket for a major party. Vice President-elect Harris will be the highest ranking Asian and Pacific Islander American (AAPI) ever in line for presidential succession.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is a non-partisan organization comprised of lawyers and leaders in both major political parties. As an organization, NAPABA has worked diligently with presidents, administrations and congressional members of both parties, on behalf of millions of AAPIs nationwide.

Amid a global pandemic and a contentious election, our nation has been tested. As members of the legal profession, we have a special responsibility to ensure the continuity of our best legal traditions, and to defend and uphold our commitments to justice, fairness, equity and the Rule of Law under our Constitution. We must work together to unite our membership and our nation to find common ground for a better path forward. NAPABA embraces the solidarity and strength of our robust and diverse community and is committed to our mission to serve as the voice of the AAPI legal profession.

We congratulate President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on their historic win. NAPABA is committed to working with the Biden administration and the new Congress to advance the representation and interests of the AAPI community. 

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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.

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.

AABANY Presents a Book Talk: Stuck – Why Asian Americans Don’t Reach the Top of the Corporate Ladder

On August 4, 2020, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) hosted a book talk on CUNY Professor Margaret Chin’s new book, Stuck – Why Asian Americans Don’t Reach the Top of the Corporate Ladder. Moderated by Chris Kwok, AABANY Board Director and Chair of AABANY’s Issues Committee, the virtual webinar received over 300 registrations from legal and non-legal professionals. Conversation centered around the book’s subject — invisible challenges Asian Americans face when it comes to upward corporate mobility.

Professor Margaret Chin began the panel by articulating the difficulty that Asian American professionals face in moving from mid-level management to the C-suites. Chin has discovered two critical factors that explain why. The first is that Asian Americans are hidden from the research. Only in the past five years has research been done on the corporate mobility challenges facing the Asian American professionals, demonstrating not only the invisibility of Asian Americans in racial discussions but a lack of awareness of the “bamboo ceiling.” The second is trust. Through her interviews with corporate executives, Chin discerned trust as a leading factor in who is and who isn’t promoted. Trust, however, also opens the door for implicit bias. Oftentimes, those who are seen as part of the “in-group” or white are seen as more trustworthy, leaving racial minorities at a disadvantage. 

A Q&A session followed the talk, during which Chris, as moderator, posed questions sent via chat to Professor Chin. One audience member asked Professor Chin what inspired her to write this book. Her answer recounted a class reunion where she realized that while many Asian Americans are admitted to Ivy League and top tier universities, there was no research on their career paths post-education. This reveals the false assumption that once an Asian American achieves an elite education, their career is set. Another question asked Professor Chin for solutions to the lack of upward mobility faced by Asian professionals. To this, she discussed how through her interviews with Asian executives, she discovered the importance of early career resources such as college career offices, formal corporate programs, and other similar programs. These have proven to be particularly helpful to non-white professionals who often do not have strong networks or resources at their disposal. Nonetheless, these are not the only solutions, leading Professor Chin to reiterate the need for more research on the “bamboo ceiling” in order to drive change.

Thank you to Professor Margaret Chin for her time and insight and Chris Kwok for moderating. Congratulations to Professor Chin on her book, which was released on August 11. We encourage anyone interested in this hot topic to purchase the book, which is available here. For those looking to continue this important discussion, please email Chris Kwok at [email protected] to participate in his book club which will gather together readers of the book for further conversations about the book’s findings and conclusions.

NAPABA Applauds Supreme Court Ruling on Protecting DREAMers

For Immediate Release: 
Date: June 18, 2020

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director
Email: [email protected]

Today, in a 5-4 landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration’s decision in 2017 to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) violated federal law in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California. The DACA program, whose beneficiaries are also known as DREAMers, protects eligible undocumented youth from deportation and provides them with work permits. Approximately 650,000 individuals, including more than 16,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), benefit from this program and about 120,000 AAPIs are eligible for DACA. The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) applauds the Court for its decision, which will protect these individuals, many of whom are the sole providers in their families.

“The Court’s decision ensures the protection of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. These DREAMers now know they are currently safe from being suddenly deported from the country in which they grew up, went to school, and now work,” said Bonnie Lee Wolf, President of NAPABA. “There has been strong bipartisan support in Congress to protect DREAMers, who significantly contribute to their communities in the United States. The Court’s decision is not a permanent fix and Congress needs to act. NAPABA remains committed to protecting DREAMers.”

NAPABA’s policy resolution to support the continuation of DACA recipients can be found here and the original resolution to support DACA recipients can be found here. The Supreme Court decision can be found here

NAPABA and GAPABA Celebrate the Appointment of Judge Carla Wong McMillian to the Supreme Court of Georgia

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association (GAPABA) celebrate the appointment of Judge Carla Wong McMillian to the Supreme Court of Georgia. Appointed by Governor Brian Kemp on March 27, 2020, Judge McMillian will be the first Asian Pacific American to serve on the state’s highest court when sworn in.

“NAPABA extends congratulations to Judge Carla Wong McMillian on her appointment to the Supreme Court of Georgia,” said Bonnie Lee Wolf, NAPABA President. “A leader in her community and past president of the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Judge McMillian will bring her record of legal excellence to the bench. During this challenging time, it is uplifting news to celebrate Judge McMillian blazing the trail as the first AAPI nominated to Georgia’s highest court.”

”GAPABA is thrilled that our own Judge Carla Wong McMillian has been appointed to the Georgia Supreme Court,” said Angela Hsu, GAPABA President. “Currently, there are no other AAPI serving on the highest courts of any state in the South, the Southeast or the Midwest. In addition to the historic nature of this appointment, Judge McMillian is a jurist, a colleague and a friend who has the love and respect of the entire legal community.”

“We are extremely proud to hear that Judge Carla McMillian has been elevated to the Supreme Court of Georgia,” added Judge Benes Aldana (ret.), chair of the NAPABA Judicial Council.

“Justice McMillian is an active member of the NAPABA Judicial Council and has been a trailblazer and an inspiration to our community.  Her elevation to the highest court in Georgia makes her the first and only Asian Pacific American to serve on a state supreme court in the South. This is such welcome news during these difficult times for our nation, as we see a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans.” 

Judge McMillian has served on the Court of Appeals of Georgia since 2013. In 2014, she became the first and only Asian American elected to statewide office in Georgia. Prior to joining the Court of Appeals, she served as a state court judge for Fayette County. Before her appointment to the bench, Judge McMillian was a partner at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP (now known as Eversheds Sutherland). A current board member and past president of GAPABA, she is also a past recipient of NAPABA’s “Best Lawyers Under 40” Award. Judge McMillian is a graduate of Duke University and received her law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law.

Press Release: NAPABA Celebrates the Confirmation of Patrick Bumatay to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

For Immediate Release December 10, 2019

WASHINGTON – Today, Patrick J. Bumatay was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

“NAPABA congratulates Patrick Bumatay on his historic confirmation to serve on the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Ninth Circuits,” said NAPABA President Bonnie Lee Wolf. “Judge Bumatay is the first Filipino American to serve as a federal appellate judge and the first openly gay judge on the Ninth Circuit. We are proud to have supported Judge Bumatay’s nomination.”

Patrick J. Bumatay is an Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California. He currently serves in the Office’s Appellate Section, representing the United States before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Bumatay has held numerous positions in public service throughout the Department of Justice, including the top three leadership offices. He clerked for Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and Judge Sandra L. Townes of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. He is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School. He is an active member of NAPABA, our affiliated bar—the National Filipino American Lawyers Association, and the Tom Homann LGBT Law Association.

NAPABA thanks President Trump for nominating Patrick Bumatay to the bench.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 50,000 attorneys and over 80 national, state, and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA engages in legislative and policy advocacy, promotes APA political leadership and political appointments, and builds coalitions within the legal profession and the community at large. NAPABA also serves as a resource for government agencies, members of Congress, and public service organizations about APAs in the legal profession, civil rights, and diversity in the courts.

NAPABA | 1612 K St. NW, Suite 510 | Washington, DC 20006 | www.napaba.org

AABANY at the CAPA Festival

AABANY was proud to participate in The Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans’ (CAPA’s) Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Festival on May 19, 2019. It is the longest continuously running Pan-Asian American Festival on the East Coast and this year’s celebration was particularly special because 2019 marked the 40th anniversary of the Festival.

This year’s theme was celebrating Asian American heroes, and AABANY was proud to be involved. We gave out over forty 2018 Year End Reports, spreading the word about the amazing work that AABANY does every year.

We thank Chris Kwok, Kwok Ng, Francis Chin and Kevin Hsi for helping to man the table this year.

For more information on the event, visit CAPA’s website at: www.capaonline.org or Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/AAPIFest/

AABANY Congratulates Hon. Dorothy Chin Brandt

Congratulations to the Honorable Dorothy Chin Brandt, former justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Queens County, who was honored at the Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration hosted by the Queens District Attorney’s Office of Immigrant Affairs on May 2, 2019.

Justice Chin Brandt made history as the first Asian American female judge and the first elected Asian American public official in New York. She began her legal career as an Assistant Dean of Graduate Legal Studies at Harvard Law School and then as an associate at Shearman & Sterling. She joined the firm Dilworth & Paxson in Washington, D.C. and worked in private practice until her election to Civil Court in 1987. After 30 years of public service on the bench, Justice Chin Brandt retired in 2016.

As AABANY President Brian Song stated: “AABANY congratulates Justice Chin Brandt on being honored at the Queens County DA’s Office’s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration,” states AABANY President Brian Song. “During the month of May, when we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage, it is most fitting that we recognize and celebrate the achievements of trailblazers like Justice Chin Brandt who has paved the way for generations of lawyers and judges that have entered the profession and achieved success by following her example.”

Please join AABANY in congratulating Hon. Dorothy Chin Brandt.

AABANY Joins NAPABA’s Amicus Brief in the Supreme Court Opposing the Addition of a Proposed Citizenship Question to the 2020 Census.

On April 1, 2019, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), joined by Sixty-four (64) bar associations and AAPI-serving community organizations, submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in Department of Commerce v. New York (18-966) opposing the addition of a proposed citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

In a press release, NAPABA stated:

On April 23, the Supreme Court will hear an appeal in Department of Commerce v. New York (18-966).  In January, the Southern District of New York found that the Administration’s decision to add the question was ‘arbitrary’ and ‘capricious,’ and that it violated the Administrative Procedure Act. In a related challenge, California v. Ross, the Northern District of California found the Administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act and the Enumeration Clause of the Constitution. A decision is pending in a third challenge, involving AAPI and Hispanic plaintiffs, in the District of Maryland.

The AAPI organizations urge the Court to uphold the district court’s ruling to enjoin the addition of the citizenship question: Amici agree with the district court ’s finding that the addition of a citizenship question will likely lead to an undercount of noncitizen households of at least 5.8 percent. . . . This chilling of participation in the 2020 Census will have a disproportionate effect on the AAPI community. . . . These heightened concerns for the AAPI community come at a crucial moment, because Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial group in the country and stand to make substantial gains in political representation based on that population growth.

AABANY is pleased to announce that it is a co-signatory to NAPABA’s amicus brief in the Supreme Court opposing the addition of a proposed citizenship question to the 2020 census. The addition of the citizenship question will negatively impact the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. It will depress response rates from Asian Americans, the fastest growing racial group and the largest segment of new immigrants in the country, and impact our ability to protect our rights and ensure political representation.

To read the full press release and the amicus brief, click here.

Friday Evening Lecture Series: Asian/Asian American Scholars of Education

On Friday, March 8, 2019, AAARI, a CUNY-wide scholarly research and resource center on policies and issues that affect Asians and Asian Americans, is holding a talk, Asian/Asian American Scholars of Education: 21st Century Pedagogies, Perspectives, and Experiences, by Nicholas D. Hartlep & Daisy Ball from 6pm to 8pm, at 25 West 43rd Street, 10th Floor, Room 1000, between 5th & 6th Avenues, Manhattan.

The talk is free and open to the general public. To RSVP for this talk, please visit https://19-03-08hartlep.eventbrite.com. Please be prepared to present proper identification when entering the building lobby. If you are unable to attend the talk, streaming video and audio podcast will be available online the following week.

Nicholas D. Hartlep and Daisy Ball will discuss their book Asian/American Scholars of Education: 21st Century Pedagogies, Perspectives, and Experiences, which shares the knowledge and travails of Asian/American luminaries in the field of education. This unique collection of essays acknowledges the struggle that Asian/American Education scholars have faced when it comes to being regarded as legitimate scholars deserving of endowed or distinguished status.

Books will be available for purchase ($40 each, cash and credit card accepted) and signing after their talk.