Join Social Security For a Call on Mental Illness in the AAPI Community – Thursday, May 23, 2019

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.

We hope you can participate in this important call.  You may learn more about how Social Security is with AAPIs through life’s journey on our Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders page. For more information, contact Everett Lo, Project Manager, Social Security Administration, Everett.Lo@ssa.gov

AABANY Co-Sponsors: Asian Americans and Higher Education: An End to Affirmative Action?

On Tuesday April 30, 2019, Asia Society and the Asian American Bar Association of New York co-hosted a lively discussion on the lawsuit Students for Fair Admission vs. Harvard University.  Currently winding its way through the Federal courts, Asian Americans and affirmative action have become a point of focus in contemporary political debate.

Within the Asian American community itself, a grassroots Asian American conservative movement has emerged in the last decade, in an attempt to end affirmative action.  This conservative movement alleges that admissions discrimination in the name of diversity is wrong. That view was represented by Jack Ouyang, from the Asian American Coalition for Education.  

Asian American liberals believe that conservative Asian Americans are being used as cover to abolish affirmative action, and fear a defeat of affirmative action means a loss for diversity in all of higher education.  Nicole Gon Ochi from Asian American Advancing Justice -LA represented the view.

Dr. Van Tran, Columbia University sociologist, presented new research on what Asian Americans thought of affirmative action.

Audience members were treated to a deep dive into the issue, with views from both sides represented on the podium.  A reception followed, at which attendees got to continue their conversations around this important topic.

Thanks to everyone who came out for this event. Thanks especially to all the speakers for their insights and views. See below for short bios of all the speakers. (Thanks to Elsa Ruiz for the event photos.)

Chris M. Kwok, Esq. (moderator) serves as the Co-Chair of the Issues Committee and Asia Practice Committee for the Asian American Bar Association of New York. He received his B.A from Cornell University with a major in Government and minor in Asian American studies, and his J.D from UCLA Law School, where he served on the staff of the Asian American Pacific Islander Law Journal.  Formerly, he was the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Coordinator at the U.S. Equal Employment Commission in the New York District office. He is a mediator with JAMS.

Dr. Van C. Tran is a professor of Sociology at Columbia University whose research and writing broadly focuses on the incorporation of Asian immigrants and their children into American culture, politics and society.  He has served in many positions at both the Eastern Sociological Society and the American Sociological Association. He is a frequent commentator in the media and was selected as an NPR Source of the Week in July of 2015.

Nicole Gon Ochi, Esq. is the Supervising Attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice—LA’s Impact Litigation unit. She joined Advancing Justice as a Skadden Fellow in 2010 and has taken a lead role in litigating and providing advocacy on matters involving employment discrimination, education, workers’ rights, affordable housing preservation, language access, and civil rights.

Dr. Jack Ouyang is the Vice President of Operations at the Asian American Coalition for Education. Mr. Ouyang has been an outspoken Chinese American civil rights activist and was a key organizer of the Chinese American for Equality. He was a board chair at the Millburn Short Hills Chinese Association and the Millburn Institute of Talent. He is currently an IT Professional based in New Jersey.

Sept. 25 is National Voter Registration Day!

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While Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing minority group in the US, AAPIs lag behind other communities when it comes to voter registration rates. As a result, AAPIs are increasingly left out of the discussions when elected officials make policy decisions on issues important to us and our communities.

  1. Make Sure You, Your Family, and Friends Are Registered to Vote

    Did you move or change your name? Do you need to register to vote? Have you checked if your registration is up-to-date for this election? Do you know someone who will be 18 on Election Day or became a citizen and is not registered?

    Visit APIAVote to register to vote and get more information today:  http://www.apiavote.org/register

  2. Promote Voter Registration in Your Community

    Get in-language materials and resources from our partners at the NAPABA Voter Protection Program website.

  3. Sign-up to Protect the Right to Vote

    Sign-up as a poll monitor and exit poll assistor with AALDEF as they protect the rights of APA and limited English proficient voters at polling locations across the country. You can get CLE credit for your pro bono work: http://aaldef.net/

    Volunteer with the National AAPI Voter Protection Hotline national voter protection hotline led by APIAVote here.

This program is part of the NAPABA Voter Protection Program.

Asian Americans Rally in Support of DACA and TPS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONTACT:

 Jo-Ann Yoo, (212) 344-5878, x217joann.yoo@aafederation.org

New York City – October 6, 2017:  Yesterday, the Asian American Federation held a rally at Trump Tower with our member agencies and leading immigrant advocacy groups to speak out in support of Asian American Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, who are being impacted by the dissolution of the DACA program under the Trump administration. Twenty-three organizations and nearly 200 New Yorkers, including Congresswoman Grace Meng, Council Member Margaret Chin, Assemblymember Yuh-line Niou, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and Comptroller Scott Stringer, joined hands with the Federation to defend the future of our DREAMers.

On the day that marked the deadline to apply for DACA status renewal, organizers mobilized protestors across the pan-Asian community and other immigrant communities to call on Congress to pass a clean DREAM Act as well as extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible immigrants from designated countries. Currently, over 136,000 Asian Americans in the U.S. – and over 13,000 Asian Americans in New York State alone – will be stripped of any protection from deportation (or lose the opportunity to apply for such protection) come March of next year, when the DACA program is scheduled to expire. This will leave a significant number of our young people at immediate risk of losing everything, including being subject to imminent deportation. Moreover, TPS expirations begin in January 2018, leaving approximately 9,000 Nepalis vulnerable to losing their TPS in June and having to return to an unstable home country.

The strong turnout at the Asian. American. Dreamer. Rally made it clear to the Trump administration and Congress that the Asian community and other immigrant communities will not stand silently by the sidelines while our family members, friends, colleagues, and neighbors are under threat of losing their civil liberties. DACA beneficiaries have made vital social and economic contributions to the only country they call home, and their removal from our systems will not only tear apart families but also lead to a national economic decline of $433.4 billion over the next decade. Similarly, TPS recipients undergird a significant portion of our workforce in domestic and personal care services, whose exodus would leave many of these industries unable to fill the demand for services.

Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation, said, “We have never been a country that punishes children for their parents’ decisions or turns our back on those who most need our help. The President has rescinded on his promise to protect our vulnerable young people by passing the buck to Congress. Now, Congress must make the moral decision of passing a clean DREAM Act to provide the future generation with an opportunity to live out the lives they were promised.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Queens) said, “DACA has allowed approximately 800,000 DREAMers to come out of the shadows and contribute to our country. The President’s decision to end the program is inhumane and openly abandons American values. I will keep up the fight in Congress to pass legislation that would allow DREAMers to remain in the United States, and I continue to stand with all these hard-working young people who know America as their only home.”

“President Trump’s cruel decision to end DACA and threaten the Temporary Protected Status program is an affront to who we are as Americans,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “It doesn’t make us safer, it doesn’t make our economy stronger, and it goes against everything the Statue of Liberty represents. I will continue to fight for our incredible DREAMers and TPS recipients, including the thousands of Asian New Yorkers who will be directly harmed if these protections are taken away from them, and I urge all of my colleagues in the Senate to do the right thing and join me in this fight.”

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) said, “DREAMers bring new talents and skills to our economy, and they are contributing to every facet of American life. Without DACA, these young people are forced to live in the shadows. Congress must do the right thing and immediately pass a clean DREAM Act.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “The 30,000 Dreamers in this city are our friends, family, and neighbors – and New Yorkers through and through. I urge Congress to act quickly and pass the DREAM Act so these cherished members of our community can stay in the only home they have ever known. In the meantime, free, confidential legal help is available to residents by calling 311 and asking for ActionNYC.”

“Much like today’s DACA recipients, I was once a young immigrant who came to this country in the hope of forging a better life,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “We cannot and must not deny this generation of Dreamers the same opportunity. I join our community in calling on Congress today to act to pass a clean Dream Act.”

“Many in our immigrant communities feel threatened by the Trump Administration’s efforts to destroy protections for Dreamers,” said Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick. “We cannot stand by and let the lives of undocumented young people be destroyed in order to appeal to those who believe that our diversity is a liability. We must band together and push back against anti-immigrant measures in order to demonstrate to the Trump Administration that our diversity is in fact our country’s greatest asset.”

Assemblyman Ron Kim said, “We need to stand up for those who were brought here as children and have grown up in this country. They have made lives for themselves here. Their success is our success, and we cannot abandon them now.”

“Our message to Trump and Congress is simple: DACA needs to stay, and New York’s Asian American community stands firmly behind Dreamers,“ said Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou. “Immigrants contribute immensely to our communities, and it is critical that we prevent thousands of young Americans, including Asian American Dreamers, from being pushed into the shadows. I will continue to stand by our Dreamers, and I look forward to working with my colleagues and Asian American advocates to protect immigrant communities across New York State.”

“It is critical that we stand with our communities and join together in speaking out against hate. That is why I strongly support the urgent call to pass the DREAM Act, legislation that will protect Asian American DREAMers and immigrant communities in New York and across the country,” said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D,WF-Fresh Meadows).

“We are a country built by immigrants, a culture made richer by immigrants, and a community held together by immigrants. Congress must find the moral courage to stand up to the bigotry and xenophobia of this administration and reinstate DACA immediately,” said Public Advocate Letitia James.

“The President’s decision to end DACA without permanent legislative relief is as cruel as it gets. As the renewal date sunsets, I am proud to stand with an unprecedented coalition of pan-Asian leaders to urge Congress to do the right thing and pass a clean DREAM Act immediately,” said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer.

“I stand in solidarity with the thousands of Asian American DACA recipients whose lives are being negatively impacted by the Trump administration’s dissolution of DACA,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Elmhurst, Jackson Heights). “DACA is a humane program that has helped thousands of immigrant New Yorkers earn a living and provide for their families. President Trump’s DACA phase-out is heartless and reckless. It flies in the face of all that this country stands for. Congress must immediately pass a comprehensive DREAM Act that will fix our broken immigration system once and for all. As a Council Member representing one of the largest Asian American populations in New York, I will do all that I can to defend DACA’s future and advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.”

Council Member Rory Lancman said, “Donald Trump’s decision to end the DACA program is cruel, callous, and goes against the basic values that make our country great. DACA recipients, thousands of whom live in New York City, contribute greatly to our economy and our communities. These incredible young people should be permitted to continue their pursuit of the American Dream, instead of being forced back to a country they barely know. I am proud to stand with the DREAMers and will work every day to support our immigrant communities.”

“We will not stand by silently while the Trump Administration risks the well-being of immigrant New York, including the one million Asian American immigrants that call New York home,” said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “We are proud to join our partners at the Asian American Federation to defend DACA and TPS, and to protect the people who truly make America great.”

Margaret Fung, executive director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), said “Since the inception of the DACA program in 2012, AALDEF has worked closely with undocumented AAPI youth to screen for DACA eligibility and to provide them with pro bono representation in filing their DACA applications. As a national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans, we are calling on Congress to move forward legislation that will protect DACA recipients and other undocumented young immigrants, as well as a long-term legislative fix for the rest of the approximately 11 million undocumented individuals living in the United States.”

“Tearing apart the lives and families of young people – who are just trying to better themselves in America – will be the only accomplishment of ending DACA,” said Christopher Kui, executive director of Asian Americans for Equality. “We all have an obligation to hold up the ideals of our country and in no way does that include deporting the American Dream.”

“The effort to dissolve DACA is yet another example of this administration’s misguided policies that are destroying our country rather than ‘making it great’! Immigrants are built into the very fabric of America, and without immigrants, America would fall apart – economically, socially and politically,” said Annetta Seecharran, executive director of Chhaya Community Development Corporation.

“Chinese immigrants, regardless of their status, have been making significant contributions to this country since the 1800s. We stand with everyone here today to defend DACA and support a ‘clean’ DREAM Act,” said Mae Lee, executive director of the Chinese Progressive Association.

“The Chinese-American Planning Council stands united with our Dreamers and allies in urging Congress to pass a clean DREAM Act and protections inclusive of all immigrants. As the nation’s largest Asian American social services organization, we are committed to providing a welcoming and supportive environment for individuals of all backgrounds,” said Wayne Ho, executive director of the Chinese-American Planning Council.

Kavita Mehra, executive director of Sakhi for South Asian Women said, “Sakhi for South Asian Women firmly opposes President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program. We stand with our immigrant community, remain committed to serving all survivors that walk through our doors regardless of immigration status, and believe that all people are worthy of living with dignity, respect, and opportunity.”

Robina Niaz, executive director of Turning Point for Women and Families, said, “At Turning Point for Women and Families, we work actively with immigrant and Muslim families on a daily basis. We are deeply concerned that educational and employment opportunities and other protection programs currently available to DACA recipients are being threatened. We stand united in the fight against the elimination of DACA and fully support our immigrant sisters and brothers. We call on Congress to protect immigrants’ right to life without fear of deportation and prevent families from being torn apart.”

Rally Co-Sponsors: Adhikaar, Alliance of South Asian American Labor, Arab American Association of New York, Asian American Arts Alliance, Asian American Bar Association of New York, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Asian Americans for Equality, Chhaya Community Development Corporation, Chinese-American Planning Council, Chinese Progressive Association, Council of People’s Organization, Desis Rising Up and Moving, Japanese American Association of New York, Japanese American Social Services, Inc., Korean American Family Service Center, Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York, MinKwon Center for Community Action, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, New York Immigration Coalition, OCA-NY, Sakhi for South Asian Women, Turning Point for Women and Families, University Settlement

The Asian American Federation works to raise the influence and well-being of the pan-Asian American community through research, policy advocacy, public awareness, and organizational development.  Established in 1989, AAF supports over 40 Asian American community service agencies, which work to meet the critical needs of the fastest-growing population in New York City.  For more information, please visit www.aafederation.org.

NAPABA HIGHLIGHTS: The Portrait Project: A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law

For Immediate Release
July 18, 2017 

                                                   For More Information, Contact:
                                                   Brett Schuster, Communications Manager
                                                   bschuster@napaba.org, 202-775-9555

WASHINGTON —
Asian Americans have been the fastest-growing minority group in the
legal profession for the past three decades, but they have made only
limited progress in reaching the top ranks of the profession, according
to a new report released today by the National Asian Pacific American
Bar Association and Yale Law School.

The report, titled A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law, is the first-ever comprehensive study of Asian Americans in the legal profession.

According
to the study, there are over 50,000 Asian American lawyers today,
compared to 10,000 in 1990. Asian Americans comprise almost 5 percent of
lawyers in America and roughly 7 percent of law school enrollment.
Asian Americans are the largest minority group in big law firms, but
they have the highest attrition rates and the lowest ratio of partners
to associates.

Asian
Americans comprise 3 percent of federal judges and 2 percent of state
judges, compared to nearly 6 percent of the U.S. population. Only three
out of 94 U.S. Attorneys in 2016 were Asian American, and only four out
of 2,437 elected district attorneys nationwide in 2014 were Asian
American.

The
two-year study — authored by California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin
H. Liu, recent Yale law graduates Eric Chung, Xiaonan April Hu and
Christine Kwon, and Yale law postgraduate associate Samuel Dong —
included a dozen focus groups and a national survey of over 600 Asian
American lawyers.

The
survey revealed that Asian Americans identify lack of access to mentors
and contacts as a primary barrier to career advancement. They also
report being perceived as careful and hard-working, but not assertive or
creative. “Whereas Asian Americans are regarded as having the ‘hard
skills’ required for lawyerly competence, they are regarded as lacking
many important ‘soft skills,’” the study found. More than half of the
Asian American lawyers surveyed said they “sometimes” or “often”
experience implicit discrimination in the workplace.

“Our
study shows that Asian Americans have a foot in the door in every
sector the legal profession,” said Justice Liu. “The question now is how
wide the door will swing open. Despite much progress, Asian Americans
still face significant obstacles to reaching the leadership ranks.”

“The
Portrait Project shines a light on the obstacles and challenges faced
by Asian American lawyers every day,” said Cyndie M. Chang, president of
the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. “While incredible
strides have been made over the past 25 years, much work remains to be
done to push past the stigmas and assumptions associated with Asian
Americans. The insights gleaned from this report will unquestionably lay
the groundwork for the road ahead.”

“This
project is timely and important — a must-read for anyone who teaches or
practices law,” said Heather Gerken, dean and Sol & Lillian Goldman
professor of law at Yale Law School. “Justice Liu is a trailblazer, and
it’s a testament to him that he is trying to ensure that other Asian
Americans have a chance to pursue their dreams going forward.”

“This
path-breaking project literally changes the face of Asian American law.
For too many centuries, Asian Americans have been the objects, not the
subjects, of American law: victims and litigants, not activists,
lawyers, or judges,” said Harold Hongju Koh, Sterling professor of
international law at Yale Law School and former legal adviser of the
U.S. Department of State. “This indispensable report finally provides
the facts behind the stereotypes, the deeply felt feelings behind the
faces.”

“The
Portrait Project provides important and necessary data on the advances
and areas for further improvement for Asian Americans in the legal
profession,” said Michelle K. Lee, former undersecretary of commerce and
director of U.S. Patent and Trade Office. “Much progress has been made,
but much work remains ahead. Particularly noteworthy are the
differences highlighted by the data along gender lines, which illustrate
the challenges faced by Asian Americans in the legal profession are
even more pronounced for Asian American women.”

“This
first-ever study of its kind is significant not only for its breadth
and the insights it provides on the so-called ‘bamboo ceiling’ in the
legal profession, but also because it provides a roadmap for how Asian
American attorneys can continue to break through and advance within the
profession,” said Ivan K. Fong, senior vice president and general
counsel of 3M, and former general counsel of the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security.

“This
new empirical study is a significant contribution to our understanding
of the challenges faced by Asian Americans in the legal profession,”
said Ajay K. Mehrotra, director of the American Bar Foundation and
professor of law at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. “It
is only by first identifying the factors that have impeded the long-term
leadership success of Asian Americans that we can find potential
solutions to this vexing problem.”

“The
Portrait Project has confirmed the existence of the bamboo ceiling. It
also shows that the future success of the Asian American legal community
requires more leadership and mentoring,” said Don Liu, executive vice
president and chief legal officer of Target Corp. “The study will be
tremendously helpful in removing the professional obstacles that exist
for Asian American lawyers.”

“The
Portrait Project not only points out the flaws of the hiring and
promotion system of workplaces toward Asian Americans, but also shows
what Asian Americans can do to succeed,” said Bijal Vakil, partner,
White & Case. “Change requires both mentoring Asian American lawyers
on strategies to effectively navigate the status quo of law firms in a
manner as personally authentic as possible and to continue pressuring
law firm leaders for inclusive leadership.”

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, 202-775-9555, bschuster@napaba.org. Questions about the study may be sent to portraitprojectresearch@gmail.com.                                                                              

The
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the
national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law
professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of almost
50,000 attorneys and over 80 national, state, and local Asian Pacific
American 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.

To learn more about NAPABA, visit www.napaba.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@NAPABA).

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association | 1612 K St. NW, Suite 510 | Washington, D.C. 20006 | www.napaba.org

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