The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) submitted a letter on April 24, 2023 to the United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) expressing concern about the ongoing issue of anti-Asian hate and violence in the United States, particularly in New York. In the letter, we highlighted the increase in incidents during the COVID-19 pandemic and outlined the efforts of AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force (AAVTF) in addressing these issues, including hosting webinars, publishing reports, advocating for legislative changes, and providing resources to support victims. While we appreciate the USCCR for drawing attention to anti-Asian crimes, we believe that there is much more work to be done. AABANY presented three recommendations to combat anti-Asian hate crimes: improved hate crime data reporting, recognition of the community as a victim and investigative partner, and appropriate training for prosecutors and law enforcement. We emphasized the importance of collaboration between the government, law enforcement, and community organizations to ensure the safety of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community.
To read AABANY’s public comment in its entirety, please click here. AABANY gratefully acknowledges the efforts of Chris Kwok, Issues Committee Chair, and AABANY Student Leaders Jinny Lim, J.D. candidate, Seton Hall Law School ‘24, and Catherine Tran, J.D. Candidate, Columbia Law School ‘25, in preparing this submission.
On October 21, 2022, Adhikaar, a community organization for New York’s Nepali-speaking community, hosted its sold-out Fall Utsav at the Queens Museum. Rina Gurung, Board Chair of Adhikaar (and one of the co-chairs of AABANY’s Government Services and Public Interest (GSPI) Committee), opened the ceremony by thanking the Adhikaar Board and its staff for spearheading a wonderful organization that empowers the Nepali-speaking community by addressing social rights, workers’ rights, and women’s rights. Gurung also gave a shout-out to her work colleagues and AABANY.
Kevin Hsi, co-chair of GSPI, and May Wong, co-chair of the Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee, were also in attendance at Fall Utsav to support Rina and Adhikaar. AABANY’s GSPI and PBCS Committees wish the best to Pabitra Khati Benjamin, Executive Director of Adhikaar, who steps down from her leadership role at the end of October.
Moving forward, PBCS hopes to bridge a partnership with Adhikaar to secure Nepali-speaking clients for PBCS upcoming legal clinics! For more information about AABANY’s PBCS, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In other news, AABANY’s ties with other Asian American community organizations are as strong as ever. AABANY member and Prosecutors Committee co-founder Kin Ng attended the United Chinese Association of Brooklyn’s (UCA) 20th Anniversary Gala to accept the Community Leader of the Year Award. PBCS partners with UCA to host its pro bono clinics. Register for the December 10th Brooklyn PBCS pro bono clinic here. Read more about AABANY members celebrating with Kin at the UCA Gala here.
Next event coming up that supports AAPI Community-Based Organizations: 11/17 – MinKwon hosting its Virtual Anniversary Gala with NAKASEC
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, there have been nearly 4,000 recorded hate incidents against the Asian American community, and this number continues to rise. Earlier this week, President Biden announced additional actions to respond to Anti-Asian Violence, Xenophobia and Bias. Attorney General Garland announced a 30-day review to assess the government’s tracking capabilities and prosecution of hate offenses that are surging across the country. The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) are working with the Biden Administration to identify problems and to offer solutions in combating hate crimes.
NAPABA and APIAHF have collaborated to urgently develop a community Combat Hate Crimes Toolkit, which provides basic and critical information for victims, community-based organizations and community leaders. The toolkit, created under the National AA and NHPI Health Response Partnership, is translated into 24 different languages—the single largest collection of AANHPI translated materials ever and includes:
Understanding the difference between a hate crime and hate incident
Our organizations are committed to expanding this toolkit and increasing the availability of languages to provide critical information needed by our community. Combatting anti-Asian hate and violence is essential to enhancing the safety and security of our community, including seeking health care. If your community-based organization is interested in co-branding the toolkit with us, please contact Abram Garcia so we can help assist.
The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) was invited by the Asian American Federation and some of its member agencies – not-for-profit organizations that have substantial Chinese-speaking staff – to help with training their limited-English-proficient staff in their native languages on the prevention of sexual harassment in order to meet the new requirements under the New York State and New York City Human Rights Law.
On behalf of AABANY, Karen Kithan Yau, a co-chair of the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee and Eric Su, a co-chair of the Labor and Employment Law Committee, both of whom are long-time employment lawyers, representing workers and employers respectively, gave three trainings, one in Cantonese Chinese, one in Mandarin Chinese, and one in English. The trainings took place in late September and early October. The training participants included kitchen and housekeeping staff, part-time teachers, museum staff, policy advocates, and an executive director. The discussion was rich, lively, and illuminating.
Every New York State employer is now required to provide sexual harassment training o their employees annually. That means that, as of October 9, 2019, every employer should have provided their first such training. Moreover, the New York State and City laws now protect virtually all employees, including contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants or others providing services from sexual harassment in the workplace. Thus the need to provide linguistically and culturally competent instruction is acute. The New York City Human Rights Commission has provided impressive training materials, including online trainings in 11 languages. However, there remain employees who will need training in their native languages. Experienced employment attorneys or skilled trainers of human resources areas who are linguistically and culturally competent will continue to be needed.
Learn more about AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee here. Learn more about AABANY’s Labor and Employment Law Committee here. Thanks to Karen and Eric for providing these trainings to organizations serving the Asian American community.
On March 28, AABANY joined many APA community groups at a Town Hall meeting to call for real immigration reform. The event was held at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, Queens. Tsui Yee, Co-Chair of the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee, and Yang Chen, Executive Director, represented AABANY. At the Town Hall Meeting, many speakers from various APA community groups spoke of the need for comprehensive immigration reform that kept families together and addressed the needs of APA communities. The next major event will be a rally in Washington, DC, on April 10. Details on that can be found at http://bit.ly/a10_mrch4imrfrm.