AABANY’s ADR and Litigation Committees Present an International Arbitration CLE with JAMS

On August 16th, 2022, AABANY’s Litigation and ADR Committees, along with JAMS, co-sponsored a CLE panel about international arbitration. AABANY ADR Committee Chair and JAMS Neutral Chris M. Kwok gave opening remarks, and AABANY Litigation Committee Co-Chair Aakruti G. Vakharia of Haug Partners moderated the panel. The panelists were Hiro Aragaki, JAMS Neutral and Professor of Law; Margaret Ives, in-house counsel at Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Limited; and Dr. Kabir Duggal of Arnold & Porter. The panel discussed the differences between litigation and arbitration, the benefits of international arbitration over cross-border litigation, the challenges of arbitrating internationally, the mechanics of international arbitration, and best practices for what to include and what to avoid when drafting a dispute resolution clause. The panel encompassed neutral, outside counsel, in-house counsel, and academic perspectives

Thank you to everyone who worked on and attended this CLE. We greatly appreciate Niki Borofsky, Christine Smith, Alison M., Margaret Poppe, Todd Drucker, Jazmine Smith, Corey Taylor, and Matthew P. York of JAMS collaborating with AABANY’s Litigation Committee, co-chaired by Aakruti G. Vakharia, Jennifer Wu, Lois Ahn, and ADR committee, led by Chris M. Kwok (Chair) and May Li (Vice Chair), all of whom  put together this interesting and informative program.

To learn more about the Litigation Committee go to https://www.aabany.org/page/116. To learn more about the ADR Committee go to https://www.aabany.org/page/1083.

CUNY AAARI Presents Talk on AABANY’s Endless Tide Report, Featuring Chris Kwok, Megan Gao, and David Kim

On June 10, 2022, CUNY’s Asian American/Asian Research Institute (AAARI) hosted a discussion to address the Endless Tide report published by AABANY on May 31. The discussion was co-led by AABANY’s Board Director and Issues Committee Chair, Chris Kwok, and Megan Gao, Vice Chair of the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee. Chris is also a Co-Executive Editor of the report and Megan is an Associate Editor. As the report continues to gain media attention and publicity, various AAPI community groups have referred to Endless Tide and AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force (AAVTF) to bring their issues and concerns to government officials in New York City. 

In publishing the Endless Tide report, Megan mentioned that lawyers can make a unique contribution by using the criminal justice system as a way to analyze how anti-Asian hate crimes have been prosecuted in New York City. By tracking the number of complaints and arrests that the New York Police Department made, the authors of Endless Tide were able to offer a legal analysis that details how the system has affected and impacted our AAPI neighborhoods and communities. In their research, they found that publicly available data does not track a hate incident from initial report to final resolution. In fact, the AAVTF learned about the disposition of outstanding cases by meeting directly with various District Attorney’s offices. 

At the event, they invited David Kim, a survivor of an anti-Asian attack featured in the report. David’s case was an example of the indifference he encountered in getting a District Attorney’s Office to pursue a hate crimes prosecution. David and his friends were harassed and physically threatened after a vehicle collision at the intersection of 149th Street and 34th Avenue on June 4, 2020. They were taunted by the alleged perpetrators and called racist epithets, forcing them to stay in their car until a 911 call was made – to which the police took time to respond to. With the incident happening at the peak of the pandemic, the victims were also yelled at and blamed for causing COVID-19. After the incident, Kim wanted to file a report to the precinct and pursue a case against his perpetrators. However, after meeting with the District Attorney’s office, with the assistance of counsel, they were told that the District Attorney’s office decided that no charges, including hate crime charges, would be brought. To date, no explanation has been given for this decision.

Hearing David’s story, Chris and Megan highlighted how the title Endless Tide reflects the ongoing racial discrimination towards Asians and Asian Americans. In an effort to address and assist the members of the community that have experienced bias incidents or hate crimes, AABANY created the Hate Eradication Active Response Team (HEART). David and his attorneys came to HEART after their requests to the District Attorney’s Office to pursue hate crimes prosecutions proved futile. Ultimately, the Endless Tide report and the AAVTF seek to encourage discussion with government officials and other organizations to take a closer look at how we can address the hate, violence, and discrimination faced by the AAPI community in New York City. 

To watch the recording of the event, please click here or on the image above. To contact AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force, send an email to aavtf@aabany.org.

Academic Committee Hosts Annual Holiday Lunch

It was unseasonably warm on Thursday, December 16, when the Academic Committee hosted their Annual Holiday Lunch in the outdoor dining structure at Wu’s Wonton King in Manhattan Chinatown. Although Academic Committee Co-Chair Tom Lee (Fordham) wasn’t able to make it, Co-Chairs Elaine Chiu (St. John’s), Catherine Kim (Brooklyn), and Donna Lee (CUNY) happily hosted a select gathering, including Board Liaison Suzanne Kim, for a delicious holiday lunch that included shrimp & pork wonton (naturally), as well as a whole fried fish, crispy chicken, and a variety of dim sum dishes. All were grateful to AABANY member Chris Kwok for curating the menu, and to members Francis Chin and Shirley Lin for gracing the gathering with their presence. Lunch conversation ranged far and wide, and included discussion of emojis, and particularly the yellow colored “hands” on Zoom, e.g., the thumb’s up and thank you/high five/prayer emojis. Luncheon participants discussed the importance of distinguishing between “YBD” and “YBC.” Ask yourselves and your colleagues – are you “yellow by default” or “yellow by choice”?  Happy Holidays to All! To learn more about the Academic Committee go to https://www.aabany.org/page/352.

AABANY Board Director Chris Kwok Interviews Randall T. Eng, the First Asian American Judge in New York State

AABANY Board Director Chris Kwok had the pleasure of interviewing Hon. Randall T. Eng (ret.) on May 7, for the Historical Society of the New York Courts’s podcast. Justice Eng was a pioneer in many respects for Asian Americans pursuing leadership roles in the legal profession. He became the first Asian American judge in New York State, one of many firsts for this trailblazer. Chris Kwok and Justice Eng discuss his life from his earliest days in Queens and China, the transition to becoming a lawyer, and the many obstacles Judge Eng faced as an Asian American in the legal profession, during a time when there was far less diversity in the profession. Today’s surge in anti-Asian hate and violence around the country renders Judge Eng’s life story more salient than ever.

To watch or listen to the recording of the interview, click here.

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 Hosts Fundraising Event on May 21 to Support Welcome to Chinatown’s Longevity Fund

On May 21, in observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, AABANY’s Legal Referral and Information Service (LRIS) hosted an event titled “A Brief History of Anti-Asian Racism in America and Call to Action” to raise funds for Welcome to Chinatown’s Longevity Fund. Welcome to Chinatown is a grassroots initiative working to preserve New York City’s Chinatown by supporting small businesses and amplifying community voices. In 2020, they launched The Longevity Fund, a small business relief program, to support small businesses where cultural and socioeconomic barriers have prevented them from applying for assistance programs.

The first part of the fundraising event consisted of a presentation from Chris Kwok, AABANY Board Director, Asia Practice Committee Co-Chair, and Issues Committee Chair, on the history of anti-Asian racism in America. He provided an overview of the history of sinophobia and anti-Asian violence in the United States, highlighting the passage of laws including the Naturalization Act of 1790, the Page Act of 1875, and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Chris also shared the common themes of how Asian Americans have been perceived throughout history and are still seen today as “forever foreign.”

The presentation was followed by an informal Q&A session between Moderator Tiffany Miao, and William Ng, AABANY President-Elect and LRIS Panel Member, on the importance of AAPI representation in the legal profession and how AAPI lawyers can play a role in preserving Asian cultures and communities for future generations. After listening to Chris’ presentation, William spoke about how the history of sinophobia in the U.S. was never taught in school and how it is important to push towards adding it to school curriculums. Chris added that it’s critical for individuals to understand how race works with Asian Americans—although there’s similarity with how African Americans and Jews experience race, there are still differences and nuances. As for how AAPI lawyers can support AAPI communities, William stated, “While it’s a good career opportunity to do meaningful work, this time in particular, Asian Americans have an opportunity to do more, push certain initiatives.” In addition to representing Asian American clients at work, AAPI lawyers can donate to organizations such as Welcome to Chinatown, and join AABANY’s LRIS to provide legal assistance to the Asian American community.

To join AABANY’s LRIS, please email joinlris@aabany.org for an application. To learn more about Welcome to Chinatown, please visit welcometochinatown.com and check out their Instagram account @welcome.to.chinatown

At the conclusion of the fundraiser, AABANY was able to raise $2000 for The Longevity Fund. Thank you to everyone who joined us for the event, and thanks especially to all the donors for their support.

In the News: Board Director Chris Kwok Interviewed by ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence was recently mentioned in a May 6, 2021 ABC News article titled “Asian Americans take a stand as the US faces a new racial reckoning.” The article highlighted the report’s finding of the eight-fold increase in the number of anti-Asian hate incidents that were reported to the NYPD in 2020 compared to the previous year. Co-Executive Editor of the report and AABANY Board Director Chris Kwok was interviewed on the underreporting of anti-Asian hate incidents and the increase of anti-Asian hate and violence during the pandemic. Chris discussed the long-standing anti-Asian sentiments in America which date back to laws in the 19th and early 20th centuries controlling the rights of Chinese workers. He stated: “The pandemic unleashed, I think, a growing fear of China going back to [Barack] Obama’s second term…Then if you take the thread back longer in the West, in America, there’s always been a fear of Chinese in America.” Chris also mentioned how former President Donald Trump’s reference to COVID-19 as the “China virus” and “Kung Flu” fueled anti-Asian sentiment during the pandemic, providing perpetrators “the ultimate authorisation to behave to the worst impulses that you had.” 

To read the full article, click here.

Please also take a look at previous blog posts from February 19March 1March 8March 15March 29, and May 10 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.

In the News: Executive Director Yang Chen and Board Director Chris Kwok Featured in The Spectator

AABANY Executive Director Yang Chen and Board Director Chris Kwok were recently mentioned in the April 28, 2021 edition of The Spectator, the Stuyvesant High School newspaper, in an article titled “Alumni Association Hosts Community Discussion on Anti-Asian Violence.” Both alumni of the school, Chris (’92) served as the moderator and Yang (’83) was one of the speakers in the April 15 community discussion. Other panelists included Joanne Kwong (’93), President of Pearl River Mart; Soo Kim (’93), President of the Stuyvesant High School Alumni Association; U.S. Representative Grace Meng (’93); Seung Yu, Principal of Stuyvesant High School; and current Stuyvesant juniors Christopher Liu, Xiaoshen Ma, Laura Xia, and Alice Zhu. During the discussion, panelists shared with over 200 attendees their personal experiences with race and their opinions on the recent increase of hate crimes and racism against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

Yang presented the findings and solutions outlined in AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence and spoke about how AABANY is supporting the AAPI community. He stated: “One thing we’re pushing hard on is to make sure the NYPD Asian Hate Crimes task force is being fully funded. We’re very much supportive of any effort by law enforcement to bring attention to this issue and we’re trying to put as much word out as possible especially to the Mayor’s office. Mayor de Blasio denounced Asian-American violence a year ago but we’re still waiting for someone who is arrested for the crime to actually face criminal sanctions for it.”

To read the full coverage of the program on The Spectator, click here.

In the News: AABANY Board Director Chris Kwok Interviewed (Again) on the Rise in Anti-Asian Hate Crimes

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On April 26, Chris Kwok, AABANY Board Director, AABANY Issues Committee Chair, and Co-Executive Editor of AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence, was featured on PBS’s Metrofocus program. Host Jenna Flanagan interviewed Chris and The City reporter Christine Chung on the surge in hate crimes against Asians in the United States as well as steps to take to prevent these crimes. In the interview, Chris explained that, oftentimes, the circumstances of the incident make it very difficult to prosecute a perpetrator for a hate crime. As a result, Chris stated, hate crimes against Asians are severely underreported and that the incidents are often classified only as assault or harassment. Chris also emphasized the universality of the issue of hate crimes, while noting that perpetrators were not of a single race. Chris also explained the importance of the wider community’s role in combating hate crimes. Towards the end of the interview, Chris noted that “I think we need to get to a point where we care for each other as New Yorkers, have each others’ back. You know, get back to a sense of the city where we take care of each other a little more.” Watch the full segment here.

On May 1, Chris was quoted in FOX 5, which echoed his sentiments regarding the importance of reporting hate crimes and incidents of racially-motivated harassment. As Chris said, “[h]aving an official record of these things is useful for tracking the sentiment of anti-Asian hate and harassment.” Read the full news story here.

Please also take a look at previous blog posts from February 19, March 1, March 8, and March 15, and March 29, 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.

In the News: Chris Kwok Quoted in The City about Anti-Asian Harassment Incidents against Older Asian New Yorkers

On April 20, 2021, Board Director Chris Kwok was quoted in an article published by The City titled “Older Asians Face ‘A Whole Wave’ of Hate Hidden in Official NYPD Stats.” The article reviewed the NYPD’s statistics on harassment reports and highlighted the 11% increase of second-degree harassment incidents against Asian New Yorkers older than 65 in 2020 compared to 2019. Further, the article describes how reports of harassment are rarely investigated due to how hate crimes and harassment are classified under New York penal law and criminal procedural law. “For crimes against Asian Americans, it seems like there’s a default like we begin with ‘It’s not a hate crime’ and we’re going to have to look for things that prove it is,” stated Chris. He believes that district attorneys should elevate the charges to more serious offenses, even if they cannot be designated as hate crimes.  

The article notes that the NYPD has tried to prevent the increase of harassment incidents in New York by deploying undercover Asian police officers in the community: “In three incidents this month, undercover Asian police officers were targeted in Manhattan, according to the NYPD. All three suspects were arrested and charged with hate crimes. In the most recent incident, on Saturday, police allege a man attempted to shove the officer into subway tracks, saying: ‘That’s why you people are getting beat up. I got nothing to lose.'” Despite this, harassment cases are often dismissed by judges and anti-Asian violence incidents are still underreported.

Chris Kwok was also quoted in an April 15th World Journal article “仇恨亞裔案件列「反新冠」欄目 批評人士:警低估危機” about the underreporting of anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020.

Please also take a look at previous blog posts from February 19March 1March 8March 15March 29, and April 12 quoting Chris Kwok or mentioning AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence. 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.