THE ASIAN AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK, THE KOREAN AMERICAN LAWYERS ASSOCIATION OF GREATER NEW YORK, AND THE SOUTH ASIAN BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK JOIN IN A STATEMENT CONDEMNING ANTI-SEMITISM AND ALL FORMS OF HATE

The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY), the Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York (KALAGNY), and the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY) stand in solidarity with the American Jewish community and unequivocally condemn anti-semitism and all forms of bigotry, hatred, and discrimination. We join in this statement at the start of a New Year for Jewish people around the world, in hopes that together we can bring about greater understanding, peace and harmony in all our communities.

AABANY, KALAGNY, and SABANY recognize that there has been a staggering rise of hate crimes and intolerance against Jewish people. In recent months, we’ve seen attacks on Jewish communities and Jewish-owned places of business, and senseless violence against Jewish people. Many of our friends, family, and colleagues have been victims of such anti-semitism and bigotry.

As anti-semitism surges in the United States, we must do all that we can to put a stop to these hateful incidents. We are compelled to act now. As members of the bar and officers of the court, we strive to work together with our allies to eliminate anti-semitism and to enhance awareness of this injustice.

We are deeply concerned about the increase in anti-semitic sentiment, threats, and violence against our Jewish neighbors, friends, and community. We urge U.S. legal, political, civic, and faith leaders to denounce the use of hateful, anti-semitic rhetoric, which not only endangers the Jewish community, but also damages our national social fabric.

We will continue to strengthen the alliances between our nation’s Jewish and Asian communities, fight against all forms of bigotry and hatred, and stand together with communities facing discrimination.

In the News: LGBT Committee Co-Chair Glenn Magpantay Featured in Philadelphia Gay News

Glenn Magpantay, Co-Chair of AABANY’s LGBT Committee and Co-Founder and Former Executive Director of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), was recently featured in a May 20 article in the Philadelphia Gay News. Titled “Queer Asians speak out against discrimination and injustice,” the article featured four leaders in the LGBT Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, who each discussed the issues individuals who identify as both AAPI and LGBT have to face.

In the article, Glenn spoke about how queer AAPI people are often overlooked. There is a lack of existing queer Asian groups in cities such as Miami and Orlando, and even within the greater LGBT community, AAPIs are not always represented in the public policy agendas of some LGBT organizations. Speaking about the anti-Asian hate and violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, Glenn stated: “[G]ay Asians live at the intersection of a dual identity…The haters — the people who are harassing us, people who yell at us for being coronavirus carriers — they don’t discriminate on whether you’re gay Asian, a trans-Asian, a Korean Asian. It doesn’t matter to them. You just look foreign. You look like you have the COVID virus.” He added: “Our identities as queer Asians have been flattened by the media. How many of [these hate-crime victims] were gay, queer and trans?”

To read the full article, click here.

MNAPABA and NAPABA Statement on the Verdict in the Trial of Derek Chauvin

For Immediate Release: Date: April 20, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

Over the past year, in the wake of the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, amongst others, MNAPABA and NAPABA expressed their support of and solidarity with the Black community in Minnesota and across the nation.  Today, a jury in Minneapolis has convicted Derek Chauvin on all counts charged in the killing of George Floyd. MNAPABA and NAPABA acknowledge the pain and anguish of the Floyd family and the Black community, and we recognize this is but one chapter in the ongoing endeavor to improve accountability, training, integrity, transparency, and improvement of this country’s criminal justice system as we have called for in NAPABA’s Resolution in Support of the Black Community.

At this critical inflection point in race relations in the United States, and as our own communities face a surge in reported hate crimes and bias-motivated incidents, MNAPABA and NAPABA reiterate their commitment to stand in solidarity with the Black community in Minnesota and across the nation in our shared goal of combating racism, discrimination, hate crimes, and other forms of bigotry. NAPABA recognizes the long history of systemic inequality faced by the Black community in this country and reaffirms its resolution calling for accountability and improving standards of professionalism and conduct in law enforcement. NAPABA has called for building trust between law enforcement and communities of color including by promoting diversity, inclusion, and better training for law enforcement. Community and government leaders must work together to create that trust and fairness in the legal system by combatting bias and safeguarding civil rights, civil liberties, and access to justice for all. While there remains much more work to be done, we hope this outcome helps the country heal and put greater faith in the rule of law.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of approximately 50,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American 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 color in the legal profession.

NYC Commission on Human Rights Presents Day of Visibility on April 2, 2021 at 11 am

When:  Friday, April 2, 2021, 11am– 1pm

Meeting point:  10:45am to 11am in front of Holy Cross Church, 329 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036

What:  Brief remarks from partner community members and Commissioner Malalis, then do a short business walk to distribute literature about the Commission to area businesses. Literature includes posters from the “I Still Believe in NYC” campaign with artwork by CCHR Artist in Residence Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya that affirms AAPI communities (see below link). We will also be distributing literature about how to report bias incidents and discrimination to law enforcement.

We understand that this event is taking place on Good Friday, a religious holiday observed by a lot of Filipino Catholics and other religious groups. Given that the woman who was attacked was on her way to church, and that we are reaching out to a house of worship as a partner, the faith component is an essential messaging through-line.

Finally, we want to emphasize that the focus of this Day of Visibility is to foster community building and restore a sense of trust and safety for Asian New Yorkers living and working in the area. As such, we do not plan on having elected officials speak at the event.

Additional Resources from the Commission on Human Rights:

NAPABA Commends President Biden’s Memorandum on Anti-AAPI Xenophobia

For Immediate Release: Date: January 27, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) commends President Biden’s Presidential Memorandum denouncing discrimination and xenophobia against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

In the memorandum, President Biden directed the Attorney General, to investigate, document and address hate incidents and harassment against AAPIs. Additionally, the President directed the Department of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, to issue guidance, including language access, toward AAPIs in the nation’s COVID-19 response.

“Members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community have been victims of increased acts of discrimination, hate and racist violence, and harassment during the COVID-19 pandemic, much of which has been underreported by the media,” said NAPABA president A.B. Cruz III. “We applaud President Biden’s efforts to unify the country by recognizing and addressing these despicable acts that have devastated our community and businesses. We strongly urge all leaders, organizations and individuals to join us and take a stand against hate.”

According to the Stop AAPI Hate project, there were over two thousand documented incidents of hate or violence targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders over the summer of 2020 related to COVID-19.

Please see NAPABA’s Hate Crimes Center for more resources on how to respond to acts of hate. Organizations are invited to join NAPABA’s Stand Against Hate campaign. NAPABA addressed and condemned racist language in an organization statement last fall.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of approximately 50,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity in government and the judiciary on the local, state, and federal levels, 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.

AABANY Co-Sponsors: Combating Anti-Asian Racism and Discrimination in the Workplace in the COVID-19 Era

On July 10, AABANY co-sponsored a CLE Program on anti-Asian racism and discrimination in the workplace in the COVID-19 era. The panel focused on how COVID-19 is causing an increase in anti-Asian sentiment and detailed the current state of workplace discrimination laws. Speakers included Helen Park, Counsel at Cozen O’Connor, and William Li, Principal and Founder of William K. Li Law PLLC. The program was moderated by Yoojin DeNiro, Co-Chair of the AABANY Labor & Employment Law Committee. 

The panel began with historical background on anti-Asian discrimination in the United States, with a focus on the recurring villainization of minority groups. Significant examples include the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the internment of Japanese during World War II, and the murder of Vincent Chin (mistaken for Japanese) by white auto-workers. 

Discussion also centered on the model minority myth as a barrier to recognizing the existence of workplace discrimination against Asians. Stereotypes perpetuating the image of Asian American children as math and musical geniuses may appear positive, but actually encourage a damaging narrative that deems Asians as a minority group not suffering from discrimination. The many repercussions include, for example, the separation of Asians from the rest of America by lumping them into one homogenous group and the characterization of all Asians as being polite and submissive. 

The panel then outlined the current state of workplace discrimination laws and provided tips for Asian employees to keep in mind when reporting such conduct in the workplace. According to William Li, legal protections against workplace discrimination exist at both federal and state levels. Some states, such as New York, will have a more extensive list of those protected from workplace discrimination than the Federal law. Tips to keep in mind when reporting workplace discrimination include maintaining an extensive paper trail, remembering that harassment need not be severe or pervasive in order for the employer to be liable, and that a complainant does not have to complain to their employer or file a formal grievance in order to establish liability. 

While discriminatory incidents against Asian Americans have increased in public since COVID-19, it is important to keep in mind that because most work remains remote, the full impact may not be seen until later. 

Thank you to speakers Helen Park and William Li for their time and insight, and Yoojin DeNiro for moderating. Additional thanks to the Cozen O’ Connor firm for hosting the webinar. Those interested in learning more about AABANY’s Labor and Employment Law Committee can do so here

AABANY Clinic Hosts COVID-19-related Anti-Asian Violence and Hate Webinar

On Wednesday, May 13, 2020, the Asian American Bar Association’s (AABANY) Pro Bono & Community Service Committee hosted the webinar, “Anti-Asian Violence and Hate Arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic.” This event addressed the increase in violent incidents against the Asian American community, and the relevant State and Federal laws for victims and witnesses of these hate crimes who seek to report them.

The webinar featured panelists David Chiang, Supervising Assistant District Attorney, Queens District Attorney’s Office; Joe Gim, Deputy Chief, Nassau County District Attorney; and Julia Kerr, Associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. Eugene Kim, a volunteer at AABANY’s Pro Bono Clinic, moderated the panel.

David Chiang, Supervising Assistant District Attorney, Queens District Attorney’s Office, discussed New York Penal Law § 240 and § 485, both of which elevate sentencing for bias incidents to the criminal level. Section 240, covering Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree, states that threats of physical violence based on the perception of race are considered as misdemeanors. Section 485, the Hate Crime Law, enhances sentencing for incidents proven to be motivated by bias.

Joe Gim, Deputy Bureau Chief, Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, advised victims and bystanders of anti-Asian hate crimes to record the crime by taking a video of the incident with their phones or calling 911. Doing so would not only preserve the evidence necessary to strengthen the case against the perpetrator but also publicize these hateful acts to highlight the prevalence of anti-Asian violence. Even if the victim is not willing to come forward, whether due to language barriers or distrust of law enforcement, bystanders can still report the crime. After preserving evidence and notifying the police, the police will file a Complaint Report, and the case will either result in an arrest or be handed off to prosecutors and end up in trial.

Julia Kerr, Associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, concluded the webinar by encouraging individuals to report incidents of anti-Asian violence to both government and non-governmental organizations to prevent future hate crimes. In addition to calling 911, victims and bystanders can also reach out to the New York State and New York City Hate Crime Task Forces, MTA Hotline, local District Attorney, and NY Attorney General’s Office. Other resources include AABANY, Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Communities Against Hate, Equality Watch, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Anti-Defamation League. 

We thank the panelists for joining us for this CLE program and Eugene for serving as the moderator. Look forward to more community presentations on COVID-19 and its impact on the APA community this month. For more information on anti-Asian harassment and violence, email aabanyclinic@gmail.com or call our hotline at 516-690-7724.

View the video of the webinar by clicking on the image above.

AABANY Hosts Webinar on Anti-Asian Violence and Hate Arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic

On Wednesday, April 29, 2020, the Asian American Bar Association (AABANY) hosted a webinar titled “Anti-Asian Violence and Hate Arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic.” This webinar examined the recent trends and data gathering of Anti-Asian violence incidents, as well as the legal framework of hate crimes under New York and Federal law. The nearly 100 attorneys who attended were given resources to advise the community as to their rights, along with opportunities to volunteer with AABANY. 

The panel included Joe Gim, Deputy Bureau Chief, Nassau County District Attorney’s Office; Sheryl Koretz, Associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP; Jia Lynn Yang, Deputy National Editor, The New York Times; John Yang, Executive Director, Asian American Advancing Justice (AAJC); and Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation. Karen R. King, Counsel at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and a Vice Chair on the Pro Bono & Community Service Committee, moderated the panel.

Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation, began by sharing some statistics to give some context about the Asian American community both in New York City and in the United States. She highlighted that Asian Americans are the fastest growing population within New York City and across the country, currently composing 60% of the overall population in New York City. Approximately one in four Asian New Yorkers live in poverty, which is the highest of any racial groups in the city. Yoo noted the Asian American Federation’s aggressive media strategy in sharing stories from the Asian American community on different media outlets in hopes of combating the Asian American community’s continued invisibility and marginalization. She noted that a rise in anti-Asian discrimination started when Asian Americans began to wear masks back as early as January, a practice that is not considered strange in Asia due to experiences with previous outbreaks such as SARS in 2002. 

Joe Gim, Deputy Bureau Chief, Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, discussed the elements of a hate crime under NY Penal Law § 485.05. Gim explained that § 485.05 elevates the level of punishment that a defendant would receive for a crime that already exists on the books. Among the hate crimes or bias incidents in connection with the pandemic that are the topic of this discussion, there are only a few that would fall under this statute. A second statute that is particularly important to know for community outreach on this issue is aggravated harassment in the second degree under NY Penal Code § 240.30, which deals with verbal or nonverbal threats that fall under misdemeanors or hate crimes.

John Yang, Executive Director of Asian American Advancing Justice, touched on the different channels available to witnesses or victims and the proper actions to take when put in such a situation. A reluctance to report hate crimes has always been an issue for all minority groups. The panelists reinforced the point that bystanders are crucial to these acts of discrimination coming to light. While it may not be safe to directly intervene in these situations, simply calling law enforcement, documenting or recording the crimes, or consoling the victim helps tremendously. Even without knowing the person harassed, as long as someone has proof of the crime being committed, it is possible to prosecute the person responsible entirely by the bystander. There is currently AAAJ/Hollaback bystander training available to help prepare for such situations. 

Jia Lynn Yang, Deputy National Editor for The New York Times, explained the thought process and impact of writing her article “Who Belongs in America,” which argues that the fight of Asian Americans for our place in the United States is far from over. Despite the historical struggle for racial equality through US immigration law, there are still those who deny the presence of Asians with legal status in the country. She found that people felt more comfortable with talking about their own experiences of harassment after her article affirmed the severity of these crimes.

Sheryl Koretz, Associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, highlighted the importance of identifying those responsible for the hate crimes, seeking reimbursement for the victims, and spreading the awareness of these cases. In New York, there are newly formed hate crime task forces such as the Asian hate crimes hotline launched by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Victims don’t necessarily need a physical injury to seek compensation. The police have reaffirmed that people reporting hate crimes will never be questioned about immigration status. 

Before wrapping up the CLE program, Karen King asked the attendees to consider signing up to be a part of the Community Response Task Force (CRTF), which AABANY uses to communicate with volunteers when there are pressing legal matters affecting the Asian community, including Ant-Asian Violence. Here is the link:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdumGO2c9heuQoMifYIWUdZsg3qmimijswUYmOFznXs9ROAww/viewform.   

If anyone is interested in bystander intervention training, here is the link to efforts on this front by Hollaback!:  https://www.ihollaback.org/bystanderintervention/.

We thank all the panelists for joining us for this timely and vital CLE program, and we thank Karen for organizing it and serving as moderator. Be on the lookout for upcoming community presentations on this topic during APA Heritage Month in May. We hope to be able to count on attorney volunteers to assist victims of anti-Asian violence. If you are interested in volunteering, let us know by filling out the CRTF form using the link above. 

The video of the webinar is embedded in this blog post and you can view it by clicking on the image above.

AABANY Signs onto Statement of Support for Resolutions Opposing Anti-Asian Sentiment

On April 27, 2020, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) along with the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and many other bar associations signed onto a statement of support for Congressional resolutions opposing anti-Asian sentiment related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Asian American and Pacific Islander community has been the target of increasing acts of bias, racism, and xenophobia in connection with the coronavirus. AABANY firmly stands against racism and discrimination and is proud to support efforts to address the experiences our community may face with these issues.

Please visit here for the full statement.

National Bar Associations Denounce Rising Anti-Asian Hate Related to the Coronavirus

Seven national bar associations today released a joint statement denouncing the rising number of incidents involving anti-Asian discrimination and racist remarks related to the coronavirus and COVID-19.

Calling for unity in these challenging times are the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the American Bar Association (ABA), the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL), the National LGBT Bar (LGBT Bar), the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA), and the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA North America).

“Unfortunately, the emergence of the coronavirus has led to an increase in acts of hate and discrimination targeting the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. The legal community stands united against hate. The current situation calls for unity and support—not acts of division and words that sow fear,” said NAPABA President Bonnie Lee Wolf.

The FBI has warned about a surge in anti-Asian hate crimes related to the coronavirus. Numerous community organizations have documented that acts of discrimination and bias are increasing, including incidents involving stereotypes and xenophobic language.

President Wolf continued, “Thank you to our sister bars who issued their own messages of support for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community when they saw these acts of hate and discrimination on the rise. A special thank-you to ABA President Judy Perry Martinez, HNBA President Irene Oria, NAWL Executive Director Karen Richardson, LGBT Bar President Wesley Bizzell, NNABA President Robert Saunooke, and SABA North America President Aneesh Mehta for joining me in the video statement to launch this campaign. We encourage other bar associations, law firms, and organizations to join us in denouncing discrimination. We stand together. We stand against hate.”