NAPABA Honors the Legacy of Vincent Chin 40 Years after His Death

NAPABA Community Service Corps works to preserve the memory of Chin

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association commemorates the 40th anniversary of the murder of Vincent Chin. On June 19, 1982, Vincent Chin, a Chinese American industrial draftsman, was brutally beaten in a racially motivated attack during a wave of anti-Japanese sentiment and died as a result of his injuries a few days later. Vincent Chin’s death and his killers’ lenient sentences marked a turning point in Asian Pacific American civil rights advocacy in the United States.

“With the dramatic spike in hate violence perpetrated against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, honoring Vincent Chin serves as a poignant reminder that more still needs to be done to rid our society of xenophobic hate and ensure our community’s voice is heard,” said A.B. Cruz III, acting president of NAPABA. “Mr. Chin’s senseless death and subsequent trial underscored the importance of the Asian Pacific American community standing together in the fight against racism and advocating in the courts. We must continue to build on this legacy by continuing to oppose hate and violence in all forms.”

Chin’s murder and the sentences of his killers highlighted the lack of a strong national voice for Asian Pacific Americans within this country’s legal system. Recognizing the need to establish such representation, NAPABA was founded in 1988 to give voice to values of justice, equity, and opportunity for Asian Pacific Americans. Since that time, NAPABA has been strongly committed to civil rights advocacy.

With the current rise in hate crimes targeting diverse communities, the NAPABA Community Service Corps works to provide opportunities for its members to take action for impact locally and nationally. NAPABA is a co-sponsor of the first-ever Unity March on June 25, 2022, an Asian American multicultural event to advance socioeconomic and cultural equity, racial justice, and solidarity. NAPABA Community Service Corps opportunities to engage in the Unity March and other projects to protect and advocate for civil rights honors the memory of Vincent Chin.

###

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA 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 all backgrounds in the legal profession.

2022-23 NAPABA Elections Call for Nominations

Deadline June 30
The Nominations and Elections Subcommittee is accepting nominations for Officer and Director candidates and applications for At-Large Board Member candidates for the 2022-23 NAPABA Board of Governors.

As the nation’s largest Asian Pacific American membership organization, NAPABA continues to grow exponentially—maturity, stature, and staff. The NAPABA Board of Governors is an oversight and governing body committed to the mission and purpose of NAPABA. The governing Board of 23 and national staff of nine complement and support each other—together focused on NAPABA’s mission through different perspectives and actions.

NAPABA is committed to having a governing board that reflects the diverse Asian Pacific American legal community and has the right blend of skill, expertise, community connections, and diverse perspectives as a whole. We seek outstanding individuals of high character and integrity with proven leadership and board governance skills and who have demonstrated a strong commitment to NAPABA. The deadline for Officer and Director nominations and At-Large Board Member applications is June 30, 2022 at 8:00 pm ET.

To be considered for a NAPABA Officer, Director, or At-Large position, candidates must be a current individual member in good standing as of the date that the nominations or applications are submitted.

Button - Submit a Nomination

In order to vote in the 2022-23 NAPABA Elections, you must be licensed to practice law in the United States or Canada (or have previously been licensed and now retired) and you must have activated your membership with NAPABA on or before July 1, 2022 at 11:59 PM ET. To check your status, please email membership@napaba.org.

NAPABA COVID-19 Rapid Needs Assessment

Survey participation needed to better understand community needs during the pandemic

NAPABA has partnered with the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) and the NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health (CSAAH) to conduct a survey to learn more about the ongoing experiences and needs of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders living in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic. Input from this survey will help develop resources and programs to support these communities. You can take the survey here and it will remain open until 1,000 responses are collected. 

Purpose of the survey: We are trying to learn more about the current and ongoing experiences and needs of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligibility: (a) aged 18 or above; (b) self-identify as a(n) Asian American, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander; and (c) be a person living in the United States.

Survey languages available: Currently the survey is available in English. Languages coming soon: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Chuukese, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Marshallese, Native Hawaiian, Nepali, Punjabi, Samoan, Tagalog, Tongan, Urdu, Vietnamese.

You will receive an Amazon gift card as a token of thanks for your participation after the survey has been completed. If you are interested in receiving the gift card, you will be asked to complete a short form at the end of the survey link. No survey information will be linked with your personal information.

If you have questions or concerns about the study, please reach out to Navdeep Singh, Interim Policy Director, at policy@napaba.org. Feel free to share this link with your family and friends, but we ask that you refrain from posting on your social media.

###

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA 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 all backgrounds in the legal profession.

AABANY Congratulates Former Board Member Kevin Kim on His Appointments to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and as the New Commissioner of New York City Small Businesses

On December 31st, 2021 former AABANY Board Member Kevin Kim was selected as the first Korean American  to hold the position of Commissioner of New York City Small Businesses where he will be responsible for running a dynamic City agency focused on connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building a thriving economy. Kevin also was selected on December 20th, 2021 to be a Commissioner to President Biden’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders which has been tasked with advancing equity, justice, and opportunity for AANHPI communities.

Kevin is a graduate of Stanford University and Columbia Law School where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a Senior Editor of the Columbia Law Review. After graduating law school Kevin began his legal career as a law clerk for then United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York, Hon. Denny Chin. He then worked as an Associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell where he practiced corporate law. 

Kevin has devoted his career to public service and specifically promoting greater Asian representation in positions of power. He serves on the Board of Trustees for the City University of New York and was elected to the national Board of Directors for the Stanford Asian Pacific American Alumni Club. His past board service includes the American Red Cross in Queens, Friends of Thirteen (public media provider featuring PBS series), Korean American Association of Greater New York, and the Korean American Community Foundation. From 2014-2016, Kevin was the Commissioner of the New York State Liquor Authority, becoming the first Asian American appointed to this position. Former Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Kevin as a Trustee of the City University of New York, making him only the third Asian American and the first Korean American to serve on the CUNY Board of Trustees. In that position, he chaired the Audit Committee and is a member of the Subcommittee on Investments. 

Kevin has received countless awards including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor; Columbia Law School APALSA Hong Yen Chang Award for inspiring civic engagement; KAAGNY, Man of the Year; and City Hall News (“40 Under 40”).

Please join AABANY in congratulating Kevin on his appointments to these important positions.

In The News: AABANY’S Karen King Co-Authors New York Law Journal Article in DOJ’s China Initiative

On November 8, 2021, the New York Law Journal published an article co-authored by Pro Bono & Community Service Committee Co-Chair Karen King, together with fellow Morvillo Abramowitz Partner Telemachus Kasulis. The article is entitled “DOJ’s China Initiative’s Three-Year Anniversary: Growing Pains and Uncertainty.” 

The article discussess how the Department of Justice’s “China Initiative” encourages discrimination and racial profiling against Asian Americans. The China initiative was started three years ago to combat economic and national security threats from the Chinese government. The article reveals how in reality only a small portion of cases involved actual charges of economic espionage or conspiracy. In one instance, a Chinese Canadian engineering professor, Anming Hu, was wrongly prosecuted for being a Chinese spy and was acquitted of all charges this past September. 

The authors note a parallel of the China Initiative to other discriminatory acts: “Critics continue to liken the China Initiative to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, McCarthyism, and racial profiling against Muslims in the wake of the September 11th attacks.” 

The article relates that the Biden administration has only made five new cases public. The authors note that the Biden administration appears to be stepping away from non-disclosure cases in which ties to the Chinese government appear weak. 

To read the full article, click on the following link: 

https://files.constantcontact.com/d6baf1e7801/f2add8b0-8343-4378-956c-6826d2ca9289.pdf

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.

AABANY Co-Sponsors a CLE Program about Anti-Asian Violence and Steps Lawyers Can Take to Combat the Issue on May 26

On May 26, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY), along with the New York City Bar Association (NYCBA) and the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), hosted a CLE program about the rise in anti-Asian violence during the past year. Karen King, AABANY Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee Co-Chair welcomed the attendees. Bret Parker, the Executive Director of the New York City Bar Association introduced the program and gave his thanks to the organizers of the event as well. Karen Kithan Yau, AABANY Board Director and the moderator for the event, introduced the program’s panelists: PBCS Committee Co-Chair and Morvillo Abramowitz Partner Karen King; AABANY Board Director, Issues Committee Co-Chair, Asia Practice Committee Co-Chair and JAMS Mediator Chris Kwok; Girls Rule the Law founder Mirna Santiago; Kings County DA Office Bureau Chief Kin Ng; and Legal Aid Society Cop Accountability Project attorney Jennvine Wong.

Karen King and Chris began the presentation for the event. Karen first discussed the origins of anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic, explaining that anti-Asian bias incidents began very early on in the pandemic. The number of incidents only tapered off due to the stay-at-home orders, before increasing once again after President Trump’s inflammatory statements blaming Asians for the outbreak. Chris also pointed out that the New York Police Department (NYPD) often neglected to fully investigate the earliest occurrences of anti-Asian hate, regarding them as minor incidents. He also presented a brief history of anti-Asian violence, beginning with the Chinese massacre of 1871 which immunized violence against Asians and ending with the Vincent Chin case. Karen then discussed the causes of the violence against Asians. She explained that societal stress, inaccurate information, underreporting, lack of cultural awareness of the discrimination that Asians face, and prosecution’s tendency to not pursue hate crime enhancements all contributed to the increase in anti-Asian incidents. Chris also noted that the NYPD Asian Hate Crimes Task Force not only lacks funding, but that its members are already assigned to other departments in the NYPD and serve on the Task Force on a volunteer basis. The Black Lives Matter and the Defund the Police movements also eclipsed the issue of anti-Asian violence through the end of 2020. Karen explained that AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence was written to document this issue and keep it in the public eye.

After the presentation, Karen Yau opened the conversation to the rest of the panelists. She began by addressing Mirna, asking her what it meant to be an ally. Mirna explained that the feeling of “otherness” is something that all minority groups face. She also emphasized the need to break away from tit-for-tat allyship and to build a trans-racial coalition united to fight against racism and hate.

Karen then turned to Kin and asked about the reasons why any hate crimes had yet to be successfully prosecuted. Kin explained that unlike other crimes, law enforcement must not only prove that the perpetrator committed the crime, but also must prove that the perpetrator was motivated by racist sentiments. This process is often lengthy and requires a great deal of investigation. Kin also pointed out that acquiring evidence of hate speech can be prevented by the victim’s inability to understand English. He acknowledged how frustrating the process was, but also encouraged the attendees to report any incidents, as establishing a pattern aids the prosecution of hate crimes.

Karen then followed up by asking how prosecutors dealt with the difficulties of investigating hate crimes. Kin explained that establishing trust between the District Attorney’s Office and people in the community is instrumental in acquiring evidence. He also pointed out that more funding and employing more bilingual individuals to act as a liaison between the DA’s Office and the community would aid prosecution immensely.

Karen then turned to the issue of over-incarceration. Addressing Jennvine, Karen asked her thoughts about combating anti-Asian incidents without turning to incarceration. Jennvine acknowledged the issue, emphasizing how hate crime enhancements disproportionately affect other minorities who are already overrepresented in the prison system. She also asserted that criminalization would obscure the root cause of the violence, white supremacy. Rather than buy into the media’s false narrative of blacks versus Asians, Jennvine explained that many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are subjected to violence because they are trapped in poverty and living in unsafe neighborhoods. Jennvine concluded by contending that turning to the NYPD would not offer a viable long-term solution.

Karen then returned to Kin, asking if the new discovery laws had any effect on the prosecution of hate crimes. Kin explained that the new laws would allow the alleged perpetrator’s defense attorney to call witnesses in their homes because the defense is entitled to interview witnesses. This change has resulted in some individuals being less willing to testify, making underreporting more severe.

Karen then moved the conversation to bail reform. She described one incident where, due to the pandemic, the alleged perpetrator of a bias incident was not put on trial and walked free without an order of protection for the alleged victim for several months before going to court. Jennvine responded by emphasizing the importance of bail reform and how previous bail laws only gave victims a false sense of security. She also pointed out that orders of protection are typically granted and also tend to only give protection in name. Kin also noted that the large gap between the report of the incident and the court date was due to the extraordinary circumstances caused by the pandemic. The absence of an order of protection was due to the lack of a court hearing until the later date.

Karen then addressed Chris, asking about his experiences in speaking with the media. Chris explained that when the report was published in February of 2021, mass media was not aware of the basic facts about anti-Asian violence. When the media coverage began to recede in March, the Atlanta shootings gave new gravity to the situation, though much of the nuance about the issue was lost in the popular narrative which pits blacks against Asians. Nonetheless, Chris also noted that the attention Asians have received in the media is unprecedented.

Karen then turned back to Mirna, asking to what degree the conflict between Asians and blacks is real. Mirna emphasized the need to educate others and to reconsider our own bias when being an ally. She also highlighted Grace Lee Boggs, an Asian woman who was extremely active in the fight for black civil rights in the 1960s. She closed by reiterating the need for listening and empathy across communities.

Karen then inquired about the importance of symbols, such as swastikas, in prosecuting hate crimes. Kin responded that since Asian cultures are extremely diverse, finding a single symbol that could be employed as a hate symbol against Asians would be difficult. Kin also reiterated that the police’s ability to prove a connection between race and the crime depends largely on the amount of effort the police are willing to put into the investigation.

Karen’s final question was about the possibility of a program where alleged perpetrators could receive counseling from victims. Karen King disagreed, questioning its practicality, but supported counseling perpetrators. Mirna concurred, stating that it should never be the burden of the victims to help their perpetrators. Chris also emphasized the importance of education and cultural competency in combating racism and building solidarity.

Kin and Chris then closed the panel discussion by reemphasizing the need for reporting incidents, as the issue of anti-Asian violence would remain invisible unless victims and witnesses stepped forward to bring the issue into the spotlight.

The President of the NYSBA, Scott Karson, concluded the event by thanking the organizers, panelists, and attendees for participating in the event, and reiterated NYSBA’s solidarity with the Asian community. Karen Yau also encouraged attendees to volunteer for AABANY’s Hate Eradication Active Response Team (HEART), an initiative which would allow volunteers to connect community members who had experienced a bias incident with legal and mental health resources.

To learn more about the HEART initiative click here. To view the full video of the program, click here.

FACT SHEET: President Biden Establishes the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders

On May 28, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, and delivering on the President’s commitment to reinstate and reinvigorate this historic Initiative.

The new Initiative is charged with driving an ambitious, whole-of-government agenda to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for AA and NHPI communities by:

  • Helping to coordinate a comprehensive Federal response to the rise in acts of anti-Asian bias and violence
  • Addressing the systemic lack of disaggregated data on AA and NHPI communities in Federal statistical systems
  • Expanding language access and language assistance programs for AA and NHPI individuals across Federal programs
  • Strengthening economic security and opportunity for AA and NHPI communities by empowering AA and NHPI entrepreneurs, building new workforce training opportunities, and promoting workplaces that are free from harassment against AA and NHPI workers
  • Addressing the concentration of poverty experienced in many AA and NHPI communities
  • Addressing disparities in educational outcomes for AA and NHPI students of all ages, and addressing bullying, harassment, and discrimination in our Nation’s schools
  • Advancing climate and environmental justice for AA and NHPI communities who are particularly impacted by the climate crisis and are overburdened by environmental degradation
  • Promoting inclusion and belonging for all AA and NHPI communities by strengthening public awareness and education about AA and NHPI communities, cultures, and traditions
  • Empowering AA and NHPI communities to be civically engaged, including through electoral participation
  • Building a Federal workforce where AA and NHPI public servants are leaders at the most senior levels of our government
  • Ensuring that AA and NHPI communities are empowered and equitably served by Federal funding, grants, and contracts

To read The White House’s full fact sheet, click here.

NAPABA Congratulates Krystal Ka’ai, who was Appointed to Become Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders

For Immediate Release:
Date: May 28, 2021

Contact: Edgar Chen, Policy Director

WASHINGTON – NAPABA congratulates Krystal Ka’ai, who today was appointed by President Biden to become Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. NAPABA has worked with Ms. Ka’ai for nearly a decade in her role as Executive Director of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

“Krystal has been a steadfast advocate for the AA and NHPI communities,” said NAPABA Executive Director Priya Purandare.  “Her experience working on nearly every important legislative and policy priority affecting the AA and NHPI populations makes her uniquely situated to lead the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders during the most critical times for these communities. NAPABA is proud to have supported her candidacy, and we look forward to working with her in her new role and strengthening our relationship with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.”

The White House today also announced that the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders will be housed in the Department of Health and Human Services, to ensure that the Federal government is mitigating COVID-19 related anti-Asian bias, advancing health equity for all AA and NHPI communities, and ensuring AA and NHPI communities can equitably recover from these crises.

Ms. Ka’ai’s prior experience includes working with late Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, a Legislative and Research Fellow in the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and Program Associate of the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation.  A graduate of the Kamehameha Schools, Ms. Ka’ai will be the first native Hawaiian to serve in this position. For more on this announcement by the White House, click here.

###

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) in the largest Asian Pacific American membership organization representing the interests of approximately 60,000 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.

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