Chicago and National Bar Associations Support Local Victims of Alleged Hate Crime

For Immediate Release

June 22, 2017

For More Information, Contact: 

Brett Schuster, Communications
 Manager
bschuster@napaba.org,
 202-775-9555                                      

Press Release

CHICAGO — A coalition of
Chicago-area and national Asian Pacific American bar associations expressed
their support for Sufyan Sohel, deputy director of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations Chicago (CAIR-Chicago), and CAIR-Chicago, victims of
a series of threating
calls
recently charged as a hate crime.

On May 16, 2017, Sohel received a
threatening voicemail on his office phone from Marvin Meyer stating, “Hey.
Guess what? This is America calling. You are not welcome here… We will kill
you.” His message insulted Allah and Democrats, and Meyer also asked, “Do I
seem afraid of you?” This was one of four calls left at CAIR-Chicago that
morning, all with a similar message.

Meyer admitted to calling Sohel and
he has been charged with a felony count of a hate crime and a misdemeanor count
of a telephone threat.

The Chicago-area bar associations
(the Asian American Bar Association of Chicago, the Chinese American Bar
Association of Chicago, the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago,
the Korean American Bar Association of Chicago, the South Asian Bar Association
of Chicago) and the national bar associations (the National Asian Pacific
America Bar Association and the South Asian Bar Association North America)
condemn the threatening calls and the rising level of hate witnessed around the
globe against Muslim, South Asian and other minority communities. The bar
associations praise the Cook County State’s Attorney Office and the Chicago
Police Department for investigating the specific allegations raised by the
voicemails and taking action to ensure that all residents, regardless of
gender, race and national origin, feel welcome and safe in the City of Chicago.

Sohel, past president of the South
Asian Bar Association of Chicago, is an American-born attorney whose parents
came to this country from India. As deputy director at CAIR-Chicago, Sohel
oversees the organization’s legal strategy and is a frequent speaker on social
justice and civil rights issues. CAIR-Chicago is a non-profit organization
that defends the civil rights or Muslim Americans through outreach, advocacy
and litigation.

The bar associations urge attorneys,
other legal associations and community members to help stem the rise of hate
crimes by reporting incidents and seeking assistance immediately. Please visit
the respective bar associations’ websites for additional information. 

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster,
NAPABA communications manager, at 202-775-9555 or bschuster@napaba.org.


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
more than 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.

NAPABA continues to be a leader in
addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities.
Through its national network of committees and affiliates, 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.

From NAPABA: ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN LEGAL GROUPS URGE CHICAGO OFFICIALS TO INVESTIGATE ANTI-ASIAN AND ANTI-IMMIGRANT VIDEO INCIDENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2014

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and its Chicago-based affiliates — the Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago (AABA), Chinese American Bar Association of Greater Chicago (CABA), and Korean American Bar Association of Chicago (KABA) — along with the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago (FALA) and the Indian-American Bar Association of Chicago (IABA) express concern over the actions of certain Chicago police officers captured by recently-released video surveillance, which depicts officers using racist and anti-immigrant language during an arrest last summer.

“The actions shown in the video raise questions about how people of color and immigrants, particularly those who are limited English proficient, are treated by Chicago police officers,” said Bill Simonitsch, president of NAPABA. “We urge Mayor Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to fully investigate this incident and work with the local Asian Pacific American community to ensure that immigrants and all people of color feel protected by local law enforcement officials.”

According to a lawsuit filed in federal court on May 14, 2014, Chicago police officers verbally harassed and physically abused a Chinese American spa manager during a raid on a local business in July 2013. The security video shows officers entering the spa, apprehending the woman and striking her while she was kneeling and handcuffed. Police officers can be heard on the video making racist and anti-immigrant remarks during the arrest. One officer refused to believe that the woman was an American citizen and told her “You’re not f—— American! I’ll put you in a UPS box and send you back to wherever the f— you came from.“

NAPABA, AABA, CABA, KABA, FALA, and IABA urge the City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department to fully investigate the specific allegations raised by the video, determine whether any systemic problems of official misconduct exist, and take appropriate action to ensure that all visitors and residents, regardless of gender, race, national origin, immigration status, or English proficiency, feel welcome and safe in the City of Chicago.

###

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 over 40,000 attorneys and 68 state and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, 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.

PRESS RELEASE: NAPABA Applauds Confirmation of Manish Shah to the Federal Bench

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2014

Contact: Emily Chatterjee
(202) 775-9555

NAPABA APPLAUDS CONFIRMATION OF MANISH SHAH TO FEDERAL BENCH

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Manish Suresh Shah to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by a vote of 95-0. He is the first person of South Asian descent to serve as an Article III judge in the state of Illinois and in the Seventh Circuit.

“NAPABA proudly supported the nomination of Manish Shah to the bench, and we congratulate him on his confirmation today,” said William J. Simonitsch, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). President Obama, Senator Kirk, and Senator Durbin should be commended for their support of Judge Shah, and for their steadfast commitment to nominating well-qualified, diverse candidates to the bench.“

Judge Shah is a long-time member of the Chicagoland community, and has devoted his career there to public service. Before joining the bench, Shah worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois since 2001. There he served as the chief of the Criminal Division since July 2012, and previously served as the chief of Criminal Appeals. Judge Shah also attended the University of Chicago Law School and clerked for Judge James B. Zagel of the Northern District of Illinois, the court which he now joins.

NAPABA applauds President Obama for this historic nomination, and thanks Senator Kirk for recommending Judge Shah. His confirmation today increases the number of active Asian Pacific American Article III judges to 23 nationwide: 4 federal appellate court judges and 19 federal district court judges. He is the third Asian Pacific American to be nominated and confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

###

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 over 40,000 attorneys and 68 state and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, 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.