League of United Latin American Citizens of New York Honors AABANY for Work in Fighting Anti-Asian Violence

On June 23, 2022, at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the League of United Latin American Citizens of New York (LULAC NY) honored AABANY for its work in fighting Anti-Asian violence.

For 93 years, LULAC has been fighting for the civil rights of the Latin American community. The Director of LULAC NY, Aureo Ivan Cardona, spoke on the importance of teaming up with other organizations to fight injustice and hate, because any group could be the next victim or scapegoat.

LULAC presented President William Ng with a beautiful wood-carved plaque that says “Stop the Hate… Tolerate.” Joining Will at the reception were Beatrice Leong, Co-VP of Programs and Operations, Shirley Bi, Secretary, and Will Hao, Board Director.

AABANY thanks LULAC NY for bestowing this honor and recognizing AABANY’s anti-Asian violence work.

To learn more about LULAC’s work, see https://lulac.org/about/

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.

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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.

Manhattan DA-Elect Alvin Bragg Announces Transition Team

Following the historic election of Alvin Bragg as the first African American District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office on Nov. 2, his campaign announced the formation of DA-Elect Bragg’s transition team. Here is an excerpt:

Manhattan District Attorney-elect Alvin Bragg today announced the formation of a transition committee comprised of legal experts, service providers, faith based and community leaders, law enforcement, and those directly impacted by the office, that will help reimagine the office to deliver safety and justice for all.

“I am grateful to this group of talented and committed leaders who are volunteering their time and wisdom to ensure we are ready on Day 1 to transform the office to make it the progressive leader it should be,” said Alvin Bragg, a civil rights lawyer and former Chief Deputy Attorney General of New York. “The Transition Committee will be focused on doing the work necessary to identify the plans and people to implement my agenda to address both the need for fundamental reforms in the criminal legal system and the need for community safety. The two goals of justice and safety are not opposed to each other.  They are inextricably linked.  We deserve and demand both, and that has been the focus of my career, my life, and will be the focus of this office.”

“Together, we will make this office a leader on reform. One that ends racial disparities and mass incarcerations; makes us safer by getting justice for survivors of sexual assault and stopping the flow of guns onto our streets; one that invests in reentry programs and expands treatment for mental health and substance abuse; one that addresses the humanitarian crisis at Rikers; and one that holds police accountable, frees the wrongly convicted and delivers justice for all.”

The Transition Committee will be co-chaired by Lauren-Brooke Eisen, Director of the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Leroy Frazer, former Chief of Staff and Executive ADA, in Brooklyn and Manhattan District Attorney Offices respectively, and Insha Rahman, Vice President of Advocacy & Partnerships at the Vera Institute of Justice.

For the full announcement, go to https://www.alvinbragg.com/transition-announcement

The Transition Committee includes several members who are associated with AABANY, including Board Director Chris Kwok, former AABANY Development Director Kevin Kim, and AABANY members Asim Rehman and Chanterelle Sung. For the full list of Transition Committee members, see https://www.alvinbragg.com/transition-committee

Congratulations to DA-Elect Bragg and to all the members of the Transition Committee.

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.

NAPABA Announces 2018 President’s Awards Recipients

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is proud to present the 2018 NAPABA President’s Award to Karen Korematsu (Founder & Executive Director, The Fred T. Korematsu Institute) and Dale Minami and Don Tamaki (Partners, Minami Tamaki LLP; members of the Korematsu Coram Nobis legal team) for their work on StopRepeatingHistory.Org, a campaign to educate the public about Japanese American incarceration during WWII and the present-day dangers of similar policies targeting individuals based on race, national origin, or religion. The NAPABA President’s Award is given to NAPABA members who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to NAPABA, the legal community, and the broader Asian Pacific American community.

Karen Korematsu, founder of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute and daughter of the late Fred T. Korematsu, is a leading voice in advocating for civil liberties for all communities, and in 2015, she became NAPABA’s first non-lawyer member. Dale Minami and Dom Tamaki have been involved in significant litigation involving the civil rights of Asian Pacific Americans and other underrepresented groups and served on the pro bono team that reopened the landmark Korematsu v. United States Supreme Court Case, overturning Fred Korematsu’s conviction.

“This year, it is my honor to present the NAPABA President’s Award to Karen Korematsu, Dale Minami, and Don Tamaki for their tireless commitment to the StopRepeatingHistory.Org campaign,” said NAPABA President Pankit J. Doshi. “I applaud their efforts to relate the experiences of Japanese American internment during World War II to the infringement on civil rights and civil liberties that many religious and ethnic minorities face today. Their voices have been critical to ensuring that we as a nation never repeat that dark chapter of our history, including as a result of the travel ban impacting Muslim and immigrant communities,  which NAPABA vehemently opposed. While their work in civil rights for decades has already blazed a trail, their continued efforts to advocate for our community without rest is particularly inspirational in today’s world.”

The 2018 NAPABA President’s Award will be presented at the 2018 NAPABA Convention in Chicago, IL, on Nov. 10, 2018. NAPABA congratulates Karen Korematsu, Dale Minami, and Don Tamaki as the 2018 NAPABA President’s Award recipients.

NAPABA and AAABA Respond to the Pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio

For Immediate Release
Aug. 28, 2017

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

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Arizona Asian American Bar Association (AAABA) are disappointed by the pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

“The Constitution affords the President wide latitude in the ability to issue a presidential pardon. While we respect this authority, we are concerned about the message the expedited pardon of former sheriff Joe Arpaio sends to the public in a political way that undermines the rule of law and the judicial system,” said NAPABA President Cyndie M. Chang. “As attorneys, we find it troubling that a law enforcement officer would be pardoned and absolved of responsibility for ignoring a federal court order in a civil rights case. Various organizations, leaders from both parties, and communities of color have expressed shock and concern over the effect of the pardon on the public’s trust in the judiciary and the ability to seek recourse for those whose rights are violated.”

The AAABA board of directors made the following statement: “The Arizona Asian American Bar Association condemns President Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. AAABA’s mission is to ‘promote and advocate for justice, equity, equality, inclusion, and opportunity through the Arizona legal profession.’ Accordingly, AAABA is, and has been, against Arpaio’s policies of racial profiling and discrimination, which terrorized the Hispanic and minority communities for many years. Arpaio’s conviction after a five-day trial represented a just result of the systematic violation of civil rights and racial discrimination of the Hispanic and minority communities over many years committed under Arpaio’s guidance and supervision. Arpaio’s conviction finally brought some closure and justice to his victims. The rule of law was upheld, and his conviction clearly demonstrated that no one was above the rule of law. President Trump’s pardon of Arpaio sends the wrong message to minority communities and the rest of the country. By pardoning Arpaio, President Trump has validated and endorsed injustice, discrimination, intolerance, racism, and disregard for the rule of law. This pardon only further divides this country, and is nothing more than a transparent decision to choose politics over justice and the rule of law. AAABA unequivocally condemns the pardon.”

Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt by Judge Susan Bolton of the U.S. District Court of Arizona in July. He was found guilty of violating a court order by continuing to engage in illegal racial profiling and targeting of immigrants, stemming from a federal civil rights suit.

NAPABA and AAABA join their fellow national and local bar associations, including the American Bar Association and other diverse bar associations, in expressing disappointment over the pardon. In the current political climate where racial tensions are high in this country, it is important for NAPABA and its members continue to stand for justice, equity, and inclusion to preserve civil rights and to combat anti-immigrant backlash.

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 approximately 75 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.

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

AABANY Joins 2nd Circuit Amicus Brief on Sexual Discrimination

AABANY is pleased to announce that it is a co-signatory to the amicus brief in Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc. 

In that case, Donald Zarda filed suit against his former employer, Altitude Express,
alleging that he had been terminated due to his sexual orientation, in
violation of the New York State Human Rights Law and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The amicus brief asks the 2nd Circuit to overturn existing precedent and expand the definition of

“sex” in Title VII of the Act to include sexual orientation in employment discrimination.

The following bar associations and organizations have also signed on:

  • The LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York
  • Anti-Defamation League
  • The Association of the Bar of the City of New York
  • Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom
  • Hispanic National Bar Association
  • Legal Aid at Work
  • The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
  • New York County Lawyers Association
  • Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York 

Please click here to read the amicus brief.

NAPABA Honors the Legacy of Vincent Chin 35 Years after His Death


News Release

For Immediate Release
June 19, 2017

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

NAPABA Honors the Legacy of Vincent Chin 35 Years after His Death

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) commemorates the 35th anniversary of the murder of Vincent Chin. On June 19, 1982, Vincent Chin was beaten in a xenophobic attack during a wave of anti-Japanese sentiment and died 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.

“Vincent Chin’s murder inspired a generation of Asian Pacific American community leaders and lawyers to join an inclusive movement for civil rights,” said NAPABA President Cyndie M. Chang. “His 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 xenophobia in all forms.”

Chin’s murder and the sentences of his killers highlighted the lack of a strong national voice for Asian Pacific Americans in the legal sector. 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, NAPABA hopes that the historic weight of Chin’s case serves as a persistent reminder of the importance of protecting and advocating for civil rights.

NAPABA honors Vincent Chin’s memory and the continued legacy of advocacy that emerged in the wake of his death.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, at202-775-9555 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.

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

From AALDEF: Support Civil Rights and Root for the Mets or Yankees!

Did you know that there’s a way that you can attend Mets and Yankees games and­ support the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund? AALDEF participates in a special program that helps to raise funds for public interest organizations. By purchasing tickets to select baseball games through this program, your cost will include the value of the ticket plus an additional donation to support AALDEF. All donations go directly toward AALDEF’s legal and education programs. Please take advantage of this opportunity to root for your team while making a contribution for a good cause!

METS
Mets
vs. Atlanta Braves at Citi Field
Tuesday, August 26, 7:10 pm
Section 512 (above home)
$25 per ticket, plus $5 donation or more

YANKEES
Yankees
vs. Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium
Thursday, September 4, 7:05 pm
Section 426 (above third base)
$29 per ticket, plus $11 donation or more

Tickets are limited, so act fast! Please contact Eva Lew at elew@aaldef.org or (212) 966-5932, ext. 208 to reserve your tickets. After your reservation is confirmed, we will accept check and credit card payments. Tickets can either be mailed or held for pick-up at the AALDEF office at 99 Hudson Street in Manhattan. Thank you for supporting AALDEF!