On November 19, 2022, the Prosecutors, ADR & and Women’s Committees teamed up to learn self defense at the NY Wutang Chinese Martial Arts Institute (“NY Wutang”) in downtown Flushing.
During these times of anti-Asian violence, AABANY members wanted to be prepared. Prosecutors Committee Co-Chair Joe Gim first taught members about the New York laws on the justification defense, particularly in connection with the use of physical force in defense of a person.
Next, the Master of NY Wutang and Prosecutors Committee Co-Chair Dave Chiang trained the attendees. Here, Dave wore his ADA hat as well as his Master Chiang hat.
Master Chiang taught the group that the first step is to be aware of one’s surroundings: “Don’t keep your head down looking at your phone.” The group also learned how to quickly turn their camera on to try to capture photos or video of the perpetrator.
Next, Master Chiang warmed everyone up with stretching exercises and the group practiced shouting, “Stay away! Leave me alone!” so that witnesses will know that you are not the initial aggressor.
The group then learned that the three weakest parts of an attacker are their eyes, throat and groin. Master Chiang taught attendees how to strike and target those body parts during an attack. The group practiced with each other and took away valuable information we will not soon forget.
Thanks to all the co-sponsoring Committees for putting together an informative and useful program on self-defense during these challenging times, and thanks to Prosecutors Committee Co-Chair Joe Gim for teaching us the law on self-defense and Prosecutors Committee Co-Chair (and Kung Fu Master) David Chiang for teaching those who attended how to protect themselves while following the law.
To learn more about the Prosecutors Committee, click here. To learn more about the ADR Committee, click here. To learn more about the Women’s Committee, click here.
Just in the month of July, we met with 50 clients!!! There were so many positive and a few negative feedbacks from the clients.
Based on the feedback, many clients were grateful for our services and noted that “this is a much needed service in the Asian community.” Many clients cannot afford to speak with an attorney, do not understand the legal system, and are limited English proficient. A few clients complained that the time was too short or that the attorney couldn’t answer their questions.
Many clients asked questions about immigration, housing, contracts and fraud, wills, trusts, and estates. We also met with pro se litigants who have questions about liens, wage garnishment, judgment proof, and the New York State Exempt Income Protection Act.
Thank you AABANY, our volunteers, the Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of New York (CCCNY). In fact, we were amazed to have dedicated law students joining us on July 30 even though they just finished their NYS Bar exam that week.
So…if anyone’s interested in the next round of mini-bar exams, please come join us at our next Pro Bono Clinics! To volunteer or to learn more about the Pro Bono & Community Services Committee, please visit probono.aabany.org.
From Flushing, Queens (7/23): Thank you, volunteers, for helping us meet with 19 clients. These cases covered various areas including immigration, housing, contract, and fraud. Of the 19 clients, 5 spoke Spanish, 11 spoke mandarin, 2 spoke Cantonese, and 1 spoke English.
Interpreters & Observers
Yvette Adiguzel^ (licensed out-of-state)
Zhaohua (Josh) Huang
John Hwang (licensed out-of-state)
^ = non-attorney volunteers
* = remote
From Chinatown, Manhattan (7/30): Thank you, volunteers, for helping us meet with 31 clients. Majority of these cases were related to housing, contracts and fraud, and wills, trusts, and estates. Of the 31 clients, 16 spoke mandarin, 7 spoke Cantonese, 7 spoke English, and 1 n/a.
Interpreters & Observers
Chao-Yung (Kloe) Chiu
Eun Hye (Grace) Lee
Nandar Win Kerr^
Kwok Kei Ng
Teresa Wai Yee Yeung^
Yvette Adiguzel^ (licensed out-of-state)
Min Jung Esther Choi
Please feel free to join us at our upcoming Pro Bono Clinics in August –
Manhattan – August 20 – Cutoff time to register by 12pm, 8/17 to recruit volunteers
Location – 33 Bowery, Community Room at Confucius Plaza, New York, NY 10002
On Saturday, June 25, 2022, AABANY’s Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee in collaboration with Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) organized a Pro Bono Clinic in Flushing, Queens. Thank you to all our volunteers for participating!
Gabriel Hisugan (AAFE)
Keshari Tuisyan (AAFE intern)^
Lilian Cheung (AAFE intern)^
Maria del Carmen Cruz (AAFE)^
Yichun Liu (AAFE intern)
Zulma Vazquez (AAFE) (Spanish)^
^ = non-attorney volunteer
At the clinic, we met a total of 13 clients: 8 Spanish-speaking, 2 Mandarin-speaking, and 3 English speaking folks who had questions related to immigration (6 cases); housing (4 cases – 1 case with criminal context involved); unemployment insurance benefits (1 case); matrimonial (1 case); and wills/trusts/estates (1 case).
Our volunteers were able to learn from each other and employ useful resources online to help clients look for information. This includes researching how to apply for IDNYC, a municipal identification card for all New Yorkers regardless of their immigration status, compiling information tool kits for a client’s ongoing immigration case, or referring them to other legal service providers. Volunteering attorneys and law students worked closely with AAFE’s interpreters to assist our Spanish-speaking clients.
Volunteer Yvette Adiguzel stated, “Some clients had issues relating to a case that had already been initiated in court. When advising a client involved with a case, a useful resource to obtain New York case-related information online is eCourts NY. Anyone can use the e-courts information service for free and can search with information such as the party name, case number, type of court. eCourts NY can also be used to look up future date appearances regarding criminal and family cases, and can provide information relating to the active and disposed cases in civil courts and the Supreme Court. A tracking service called eTrack is an option available free of charge on the eCourts NY website so that you can monitor and set reminders relating to cases in civil local, supreme and family courts as well as criminal cases.” Many of the clients were grateful to the attorneys and volunteers, like Yvette, who were able to provide their expertise and provide informed legal advice.
Thank you again to all our volunteers!
If you would like to volunteer, our next clinic dates:
7/23/2022, 12:30pm – 3:30pm. Deadline to register 7/20/2022, 12pm.
Hailing from Flushing, Queens, Main Street Patrol protects elders from hate and abuse as they go about their daily routines. They have partnered with NAPABA to encourage young adults to get vaccinated against COVID. Check out their fun and informative PSA on keeping us all safe—not only in the streets, but in life. Get vaccinated!
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.
After a long year and a half, the Prosecutors’ Committee, headed up by Joseb Gim and David Chiang, finally hosted an in-person gathering at the Leaf Rooftop Lounge in Flushing. We had a perfect location with a great view and amazing weather.
Members of the Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Nassau DA’s offices were joined by a member of the Family Court Division of the NYC Law Department.
We got together to discuss our group and individual efforts to combat Anti-Asian Hate and increase our voice in our communities.
We also welcomed two law school interns, a recent college graduate, and a former ADA who now works at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
It was a great opportunity for old friends to reconnect and introduce some new people to the group. We’ve faced a really tough year and a half since 2020, but together we recharged each other to keep fighting the good fight. We’re looking forward to the next gathering later this summer!!!
Former AABANY Treasurer and longtime community advocate Sandra Ung has announced her candidacy for New York City Council for the upcoming 2021 election. Sandra, who has dedicated her life to serving the Queens community, hopes to use her extensive experience in and passion for law and public service to best support and represent the Flushing community.
Growing up, Sandra always knew she wanted to be a lawyer. “I’ve always believed that it’s important to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves,” she said in a recent interview. Sandra, who is ethnically Chinese, fled Cambodia during the genocide and immigrated to the United States when she was just seven years old. Soon after, she moved to Flushing, where she has called home ever since. But growing up as an immigrant presented many challenges.
“It’s not easy when you come to a country where you don’t know the language and have to start over,” she said. “But I quickly realized that we were not the only family on this path.” With this passion for community justice in mind, Sandra attended New York City public schools until graduating from Hunter College and then going to Columbia Law School to get her J.D. in 2001. She then worked at a law firm, where she learned detail-oriented writing and organizational skills that allowed her to really understand how to be a professional.
She then worked for Sanctuary For Families, a New York non-profit focused on helping victims of domestic violence and related forms of gender violence. Domestic violence is not regularly or openly talked about in the Asian American community, and survivors often find it difficult to talk to counselors and attorneys, especially when they look nothing like them. When working with organizations like Sanctuary for Families and the Korean American Family Service Center, Sandra saw her Asian American clients slowly open up to her, and she realized how important it is to have a support system that truly understands you and, therefore, your needs.
Now, one of Sandra’s platforms is to provide greater assistance for domestic violence victims. The pandemic has revealed what people in the field already know: domestic violence is a real, pressing issue in every community, and it is not addressed well enough. Therefore, true domestic violence advocacy requires not only highlighting and funding service providers, but also providing ways for survivors of domestic violence to physically move-out, with better housing solutions, and become financially independent from their abusers.
Sandra has worked for the New York State Assembly as a Special Assistant to the NYS Commissioner on Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation; a Legislative Assistant to former New York City Comptrollers Bill Thompson and John Liu; and Chief of Staff to former New York State Assemblyman Jimmy Meng. Currently, she is the Special Assistant to Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Queens), leading the congresswoman’s re-election campaigns and running Grace’s At the Table PAC, a political action committee dedicated to expanding women and minority representation in politics. As the eyes and ears on the ground while the congresswoman is in D.C., Sandra is proud to represent the immigrant community and support them through the same challenges she faced growing up. She especially enjoys running free workshops that teach public speaking and career-based skills to young women who lack access to this knowledge, like she did when she was also growing up in an immigrant family. “We really understand that if you want to have a seat at the table, you need the basic skill set to get you to that table in the first place,” she said.
While serving as AABANY’s Treasurer, Sandra felt empowered by the inclusivity that AABANY created for its community. Due to the breadth and diversity of its members and leaders, AABANY showed Sandra the importance of having strong representation of Asian Americans in leading legal, public interest, and government positions, where they will truly advocate for the communities they serve.
Therefore, after over a decade working for New York state and years of working on other people’s campaigns, Sandra feels ready to tackle and win her own. “The recent national and local elections have shown that we are more divided than ever,” she said. “So, in campaigning, it is especially important to me to set a positive tone.” She hopes to focus on creating unity within the Flushing community, building a broad coalition as strong as their neighborhood.
Now more than ever, Sandra looks up to her mother, who was born in Cambodia and forced to leave her family during the genocide. While working in a laundromat all her life, Sandra’s mother taught her about perseverance and hard work; her parents continue to inspire her to give back to the country that gave them everything they have.
“The people around me have given me the courage to try and do this,” she said. “I believe in my community, I believe in myself, and I believe that I will be the best person for this job.”
To learn more about Sandra’s campaign and find out how you can get involved, please visit sandrafornewyork.com.
To hear more about the campaign from Sandra herself, please watch the video below.