NYForward: A Guide to Reopening New York

NYForward is a state mandated guide to reopening New York safely. The guide has addressed some of the critical factors that have have helped New Yorkers combat the spread of the Covid-19: statewide testing initiatives, economic stimulus packages, and maintenance of strategic reserve of personal protective equipment (PPE). As for guidelines moving forward, the guide has proposed a series of metrics by which regions would be evaluated to determine if they can reopen. These guidelines include a sufficiently low infection rate, a stable health care system that is able to absorb a potential resurgence in cases, sufficient diagnostic testing capacity, and robust contact-tracing to help prevent the spread of the virus. Additionally, the guide has provided a plan for the phased reopening of businesses.

The guide also urges community leaders to pay special attention to vulnerable populations and to hold businesses accountable to the listed guidelines. Universities and schools should craft individualized plans for reopening and state and local leaders should continue to provide sufficient mental health resources. The guide also outlines the individual responsibilities necessary for communities to curb the spread of the virus and stresses the importance of continuing social distancing policies along with practicing good hygiene.

The final section discusses lessons that can be learned from the current crisis and proactive measures that could be adopted. These policies include incorporating and integrating technology that could help schools better transition to online lessons, streamlining healthcare and transportation systems, and ensuring greater social equity through reforming housing policies and other initiatives.

To read the full guide, click on the cover image below.

AABANY and SABANY Co-Sponsor Careers in Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) Panel

On Monday, July 15th, AABANY, along with SABANY, co-sponsored a panel on Careers in Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) at the JAMS office located on the 16th floor of the New York Times Building at 620 8th Ave. The panel featured Dr. Kabir Dhuggal, Senior Associate at Arnold & Porter, Robyn Weinstein, ADR Administrator at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Rebecca Price, Director of the ADR program at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and Chris Kwok, mediator and arbitrator at JAMS, ADR Services. Chris Kwok is a Board Director of AABANY, Co-Chair of the Asia Practice Committee, and Chair of the Issues Committee. The panel was moderated by Amit Kumar, Managing Attorney at the Law Offices of William Cafaro. 

After a brief introduction of the panelists, Kumar first asked panelists, “How did you become involved in ADR?” The panelists’ responses ranged from studying it early in law school to falling into the realm of ADR later. Price noted her background as a social worker in helping to make the transition to working in ADR more naturally. Kwok affirmed that and humorously added, “When I try to describe mediation, I sometimes tell people that I’m a psychologist with a law degree.”

The panelists also spoke on key skills for thriving in a career in ADR. These skills included patience, engaged listening, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a genuine passion for the work. Dr. Dhuggal especially emphasized the necessity of robust legal writing skills. He advised, “Legal writing is an art that needs to be finessed. Make every effort you can. A simple way to do this is to find a senior whose writing you particularly admire and tell them that you’d like to co-author a piece with them.” Everyone commented on the importance of meaningful networking as well—be it through organizations such as AABANY and SABANY to even organizing panels with professionals you’d like to reach out to. 

Other topics discussed during the well-attended panel included improving diversity in ADR, domestic ADR vs. international ADR, and predictions on future trends in the career pathway. Afterwards, attendees munched on assorted snacks from Cafe Zaiya while networking—as discussed during the panel. Thank you to all of our accomplished panelists for sharing their valuable insights! 

In the News: AABANY Co-Sponsors Reenactment of Supreme Court Cases Ozawa & Thind

On May 23, 2019 AABANY co-sponsored a reenactment of the Supreme Court cases Takao Ozawa v. United States (1922) and United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923) in the Ceremonial Courtroom at 225 Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn. The two historical cases describe the exclusionary immigration policies that prevented Asian immigrants from becoming naturalized citizens. The reenactment scripts were written by longtime AABANY members Kathy Hirata Chin and her husband, the Hon. Denny Chin. The event was jointly sponsored by the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY) and was held in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, during the month of May. The event was covered by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported on the history of these reenactments, “The Chins began writing and performing these reenactments 12 years ago, and every year they create a new performance based on a different case. Judge Chin explained that they look for cases of importance historically and that still resonate today.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Friday Evening Lecture Series: Asian/Asian American Scholars of Education

On Friday, March 8, 2019, AAARI, a CUNY-wide scholarly research and resource center on policies and issues that affect Asians and Asian Americans, is holding a talk, Asian/Asian American Scholars of Education: 21st Century Pedagogies, Perspectives, and Experiences, by Nicholas D. Hartlep & Daisy Ball from 6pm to 8pm, at 25 West 43rd Street, 10th Floor, Room 1000, between 5th & 6th Avenues, Manhattan.

The talk is free and open to the general public. To RSVP for this talk, please visit https://19-03-08hartlep.eventbrite.com. Please be prepared to present proper identification when entering the building lobby. If you are unable to attend the talk, streaming video and audio podcast will be available online the following week.

Nicholas D. Hartlep and Daisy Ball will discuss their book Asian/American Scholars of Education: 21st Century Pedagogies, Perspectives, and Experiences, which shares the knowledge and travails of Asian/American luminaries in the field of education. This unique collection of essays acknowledges the struggle that Asian/American Education scholars have faced when it comes to being regarded as legitimate scholars deserving of endowed or distinguished status.

Books will be available for purchase ($40 each, cash and credit card accepted) and signing after their talk.

E3! Ambassadors: Educate, Engage, and Empower Young AAPI Leaders — Apply by Aug. 9

The E3! Ambassadors Program equips young leaders with the opportunity to work with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to brainstorm and implement their own unique ideas to help improve the overall quality of life for AAPIs across the country in the areas of education, mental health, pathways to public service, and immigration. E3! Ambassadors work to highlight key federal programs and resources in which AAPIs may be underserved.  Selected E3! Ambassadors are encouraged to conduct outreach within their campuses and communities – whether it’s setting up a table to share resources at a campus fair, facilitating a workshop during a conference, or even utilizing social media.

The 2014 inaugural class of 31 E3! Ambassadors came from 29 different cities and hosted more than 55 events during the 2014-2015 year to educate, engage, and empower their campuses and communities.

The application can be found HERE. The deadline to apply is August 9, 2015 at 11:59 PM ET. Please note that late applications may not be considered.

If you have any questions about the E3! Ambassador program, please contact WhiteHouseAAPI@ed.gov.

“Uncovering Talent: The Case of Asian Americans” – Lecture by Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law Kenji Yoshino

At the 14th Annual Korematsu Lecture Series, presented by the NYU Asian-Pacific American Law Students Association, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law Kenji Yoshino spoke about the phenomenon of ‘covering,’ discussed at length in his first book, Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights. The Korematsu Lecture Series, since 2000, has recognized Asian Americans whose work challenges legal boundaries and serves as an inspiration to all people of color.

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Professor Kenji Yoshino touched upon his extensive research regarding the frequency of incidence and perceived impact of covering. As opposed to “passing,” the practice of concealing a part of one’s identity in order to present as a member of the dominant major, “covering” differs in that a person who covers is unable to completely conceal that part of his or her identity so must instead downplay qualities associated with it. In Prof. Yoshino’s words, “covering” is a tax that minorities have to pay in response to a much less visible second-wave discrimination. Examining both the demand and the performance of covering, the research explores whether certain professional organizations live up to their stated values of inclusion. Asking the question of whether certain groups feel as though they must cover in order to be successful and have their successes attributed to their personal qualities rather than their race, Prof. Yoshino identified four kinds of covering: (1) appearance-based covering (e.g. a black woman straightens her hair to downplay her race), (2) affiliation-based covering that avoids behaviors associated with identity (e.g. a mother avoids talking about her children because she does not want her co-workers to believe she is less committed to work), (3) advocacy-based covering that determines how much a person ‘sticks up’ for their group (e.g. a veteran lets a military joke slide lest he or she be seen as strident), and (4) association-based covering (e.g. a gay man does not bring his partner to work functions so as not to be seen as ‘too gay’).

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In many ways, Prof. Yoshino’s research brings together many groups who feel the need to cover their identity, including the often elevated or demonized straight white males who feel they have to cover other factors, such as their socioeconomic background or their veteran status. At the same time, his findings also reveal the differences in impact respectively felt by members of different groups. Whereas most people feel the impact of covering, racial groups feel the impact to a greater degree, with no one impacted more than women of color who must simultaneously play down both their gender and race.

Here are some of the ways you could say I am “white”: 
I listen to National Public Radio. 
I have few close friends “of color." 
I furnish my condo a la Crate & Barrel. 
I vacation in charming bed-and-breakfasts. 
I have never once been the victim of blatant discrimination. 
I am a member of several exclusive institutions. 
I have been in the inner sanctums of political power. 
I have been there as something other than an attendant. 
I have the ambition to return. 
I am a producer of the culture. 
I expect my voice to be heard. 
I speak flawless, unaccented English. 
I subscribe to Foreign Affairs. 
I do not mind when editorialists write in the first person plural. 
I do not mind how white television casts are. 
I am not too ethnic. I am wary of minority militants. 
I consider myself neither in exile nor in opposition. 
I am considered “a credit to my race.”

– Eric Liu, The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker

"The loudest duck gets shot,” laughed Prof. Yoshino. Underscoring a dark history of discrimination, Prof. Yoshino explained how Asian Americans occupy a liminal space in which they are seen both as “honorary whites” and perpetual foreigners. Asian Americans cover or reverse-cover in numerous ways, either feeling pressure to live up to the model minority myth or feeling pressure to perform and act in certain ways to emphasize their Asian American identity. Professional Asian women are the least likely to have children. Asian Americans cover on the issue of age, often engaging in behaviors like wearing glasses or dressing conservatively in order to appear older and more authoritative. 

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(Above: Prof. Kenji Yoshino and former student and AABANY member George Hang.)

“Covering” gives a name to the phenomenon, which gives a person the tools to self-diagnose and consciously uncover. What is called for now by Prof. Yoshino’s research is self-reflection within organizations and communities. Having leaders who do not have to downplay their identities works to dismantle the harmful associations which might lead a person of color, mother, or other marginalized person to cover. 

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Prof. Yoshino closed with his own uncovering story: his own title, previously the “Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law” at NYU, had been a delicate issue in accepting his position. A Japanese American, Kenji Yoshino had been wary of taking on the title of the man who as Attorney General commissioned the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. After much deliberation, the offer was again extended to Prof. Yoshino, appending the words “Chief Justice” – after the initial confusion, Prof. Yoshino learned that later in life as Chief Justice, Earl Warren had recanted and expressed his deep regret that he had ever done such a dishonorable action. In the spirit of the Chief Justice, Prof. Yoshino accepted the position – his research works to change perceptions and increase cultural awareness for the better, and that deeply matters, even over the course of one lifetime. 

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Special thanks to Prof. Kenji Yoshino, the NYU Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, and Hanah Kim and Ted Kim of the Korematsu Committee for continuing the tradition of education and inspiration! 

An Endangered Species? The NYC Dept. of Education’s SHSAT: Perspectives from the Asian American Community

On Sunday, March 30, at the Flushing Library, members of the Asian American and Specialized High Schools community, including education activists, SHS alum, parents, and students, met to address the NAACP complaint leveled against the single test criteria for admission to the NYC high-performing Specialized High Schools, backed by AALDEF (Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund).

With the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test as the only criteria for admission, the racial composition of the SHS consists of a high percentage of Asian Americans (72% at Stuyvesant) disproportionately low number of Latino and especially African American students (less than 1% black students at Stuyvesant), a major issue of concern in NYC. Panelists and community members shared opinions, arguments for and against opening the criteria for admission, and personal experiences as parents and students in the testing system. 

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Panelists included: Roksana Mun (Youth Organizer, DRUM), Mitch Wu (Program Manager, Coalition for Asian American Children & Families), Larry Cary (President, Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation*), Stanley Ng (BTHS Alumnus & Lower Manhattan Representative for Citywide Council on High School), Catherine Zhou (Stuyvesant Alum & Education Activist), Michael F. Han (SHS Parent), Kathy Wang (SHS Student), Shikha Rawat (SHS Student & Youth Leader from DRUM). The moderator was Nelson Ma, lifelong New Yorker, AABANY member and Education Law Specialist. 

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Roksana Mun (left) and Mitch Wu (center left) represented views that support opening the criteria for admission to include top students and across different New York neighborhoods. They also discussed issues of standing in solidarity with other communities of color, Asian American issues of identity and the “model minority” myth, and the problematic nature of many expensive test prep academies, which many working class and immigrant families will work long hours at hard jobs to pay for. Larry Cary (center right) and Stanley Ng (right) represented views that support the SHSAT as the most non-political and least easily biased admission for acceptance and offered alternative explanations for the discrepancy. Larry Cary and Stanley Ng contextualized the larger disparities within the New York City public school system and presented case studies of schools that opened admission criteria and yet still failed to promote diversity.

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Above: Catherine Zhou shares concerns about recent cheating scandals and the test culture created out of the high-pressure single test system.

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Above: Stanley Ng presents information about the neighborhoods feeding into the Specialized High Schools. He pointed out that the willingness of Asian American students to travel a long commute for their education, as well as a lack of seats for public high schools in Queens if similar numbers of Asian American Queens residents do not feed into the SHS system.

We can all agree that every NYC student deserves the best education possible. A special thank you goes out to Chris Kwok, Labor and Employment Law Committee Co-Chair, and Nelson Mar for organizing and moderating an event revolving around an important issue that affects the Asian American community!

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Co-sponsored by the Coalition for Asian American Children & Families (CACF) and the Asian American Bar Association (AABANY)

*Appearing in his personal capacity, and not representing the views of the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation

WHIAAPI Forum on Faith-Based and Community Leaders: 9/21

Save the Date

New York AAPI Forum with Faith-Based & Community Leaders

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The City University New York Murphy Institute, 25 West 43rd Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10036

9:30 A.M. – 3:00 P.M.

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders will convene federal officials and faith-based and community leaders in a day-long forum to share key Administration policies on economic growth, immigration, education, and civil rights. The forum will provide leaders and the broader AAPI community critical information and a better understanding of federal resources and services.

The focus of the WHIAAPI Community Forum is to accomplish three key goals:

1.    Establish a space where faith-based and community leaders can meaningfully engage and interact with federal officials; 

2.    Identify policy and programmatic areas of concern, receive feedback, and share local success stories and practices that benefit the AAPI community;

3.    Share opportunities for leaders to collaborate with the Obama administration.