On May 21, Dianna Lam, AABANY Student Outreach Committee (SOC) Co-Chair and Student Leader was featured in an article published in Fordham Law News. Writer Suzi Morales interviewed Fordham Law School evening students about the struggles of being a parent, working individual, and law student at the same time. In the interview, Dianna, mother of two boys, explained that prior to the pandemic, she would work and take care of her sons during the daytime while she would study during her lunch breaks and in the evening. As a result, Dianna explained that it was difficult for her sons to understand her work and her busy life. Now with remote learning in full swing, she has been able to involve herself in other extracurricular activities such as AABANY SOC and Fordham’s Evening Division Society. In the article, Dianna also noted that because of at-home learning she has also had much more time to spend with her sons who are an inspiration for her while she works. As Dianna joked, “Sometimes, when [my sons are] playing games with their friends, I hear them saying things that I would say to them, like, ‘In a meeting right now.’” To read the full article, click here.
Please join AABANY in congratulating Dianna on appearing in Fordham Law News. We appreciate all your hard work for AABANY, on top of everything else you need to get done!
To learn more about the Student Outreach Committee, click here. To read more about AABANY’s Student Leaders click here.
The COVID Rent Relief Program (“RRP”) held by Community Land Trust (“CLT”) and the Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) concluded on July 26th, 2020 with an application drive in Chinatown. During the term of outreach, the program received over 125 voicemails and online form submissions. On the day of the drive, 25 volunteers aided over 100 walk-in applicants who had been screened for qualification.
The application drive held on July 26th at the Florentine School was expeditiously put together in five days, to accommodate the quickly approaching application deadline of July 30th*, by AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee and COVID Student Task Force. Most notably, attorneys May Wong, Angela Wu, William Lee, and law students Dianna Lam, Olympia Moy, Xinyi Shen, and Meng Zhang were the driving factors of the event’s success. To the volunteers, it was imperative to host an in-person event to help the community. “Many Chinatown residents cannot go on Zoom, some don’t even have online access, and, even with online access, some may not find the forms because of language difficulties,” noted Moy. The volunteers have spent tireless hours in organizing the logistics for the event, training for and then evaluating RRP applications of the community, and then following up with intakes for those who are eligible applicants. “One of the most memorable parts of our [RRP], despite all the hurdles we had to navigate through, was how much all the volunteers cared to help our community,” says Lam. Lam add: “All the volunteers patiently and calmly explained to the tenants all their options, any risks they might bear submitting their information, and sat through with each applicant until the application was either fully complete or until the tenants accepted that they did not qualify.”
AABANY again thanks all the volunteers mentioned above, as well as May Mok and Sherman Ngan of AM 1380 & AM 1480 and Jacky Wong, for advertising and covering the event; Samantha Sumilang who provided rent relief training to volunteers over Zoom the day before; Jonathan Hernandez for being on standby for any last minute needs; the APALSA COVID Student Task Force for reaching out to their members for volunteer recruiting; and all other attorney, CLT, and community volunteers who made the event possible.
The RRP was introduced on July 16th, 2020 and first administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The purpose of the RRP is to distribute a $100 million fund amongst the low-income families of New York who have suffered income loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are struggling to keep their families in their homes. The $100 million fund was provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump on March 27th, 2020. The RRP declares that a household is eligible for assistance as long as at least one member in the household has U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status. All adult household members, regardless of their income earning position, are to be listed on the application form to be considered, including household members with ineligible immigration status. This is a potential grave risk to undocumented immigrants since the federal government could get their information through the RRP. As such, it should be noted that by applying for rent relief, applicants bear the risk of being or having undocumented family members deported.
“The drive’s success is a true testament of our selflessness, passion, and commitment to giving back as a community. We find comfort knowing that our locals are better positioned to receive rent relief,” said Lee.
For additional coverage in Chinese, please see the article written by World Journalhere.
*As of July 31st, 2020, the application deadline has been extended to August 6th, 2020.