Pro Bono & Community Service Committee Hosts Elder Law Clinic and Presentation

On May 5, AABANY’s Pro Bono & Community Service Committee (PBCS) hosted a virtual law clinic and presentation on elder law as a part of the Virtual Community Presentation Series. The event was co-sponsored by AABANY, the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA), and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of New York.

In light of the instability brought about by the pandemic, the new changes to the Medicaid laws, and the surge in anti-Asian violence, Committee Vice-Chair May Wong moderated the event to address the questions and concerns of the Chinese community, as well as to provide free legal consultations on these topics. May was joined by Karen Eng, specializing in estate planning, administration, elder law, Article 81 guardianship, and residential real estate at Thomas J. Manzi, P.C., and Pauline Yeung-Ha, Partner at Grimaldi & Yeung, LLP specializing in trusts, wills and estates, elder law, and special needs planning. Also present were Co-Chairs Judy Lee, Karen Lin, and Kwok Ng.

Karen Eng presented information on advance directives, wills, and trusts, while Pauline spoke on the new Medicaid changes and the effects the changes would have on individual healthcare. Both Karen Eng and Pauline emphasized the importance of advance preparation in matters of healthcare and estate planning. Kwok translated the speakers consecutively into Cantonese and Mandarin and also presented information on hate crimes and resources for reporting incidents. 31 individuals attended the event. At the presentation’s end, PBCS, along with Karen Eng and Pauline, opened the virtual free services clinic for two client consultations. The CCBA provided their physical headquarters for the two clients to meet remotely with the attorneys.

The PCBS Committee thanks Karen Eng and Pauline Yeung-Ha for offering their expertise in elder law to give back to the Chinese community. PBCS would also like to thank Annalee Patel, Bei Yang, Chao-Yung Chiu, Jian Cui, Julie Choe, Kelly Tang, and Xinyi Shen for their help and support in organizing the event. AABANY would also like to thank the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association and the New York Chinese Chamber of Commerce for co-sponsoring this event. To watch the presentation, click here. To learn more about the Pro Bono & Community Service Committee and its work, click here and click here.

In the News: Executive Director Yang Chen and Board Director Chris Kwok Featured in The Spectator

AABANY Executive Director Yang Chen and Board Director Chris Kwok were recently mentioned in the April 28, 2021 edition of The Spectator, the Stuyvesant High School newspaper, in an article titled “Alumni Association Hosts Community Discussion on Anti-Asian Violence.” Both alumni of the school, Chris (’92) served as the moderator and Yang (’83) was one of the speakers in the April 15 community discussion. Other panelists included Joanne Kwong (’93), President of Pearl River Mart; Soo Kim (’93), President of the Stuyvesant High School Alumni Association; U.S. Representative Grace Meng (’93); Seung Yu, Principal of Stuyvesant High School; and current Stuyvesant juniors Christopher Liu, Xiaoshen Ma, Laura Xia, and Alice Zhu. During the discussion, panelists shared with over 200 attendees their personal experiences with race and their opinions on the recent increase of hate crimes and racism against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

Yang presented the findings and solutions outlined in AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence and spoke about how AABANY is supporting the AAPI community. He stated: “One thing we’re pushing hard on is to make sure the NYPD Asian Hate Crimes task force is being fully funded. We’re very much supportive of any effort by law enforcement to bring attention to this issue and we’re trying to put as much word out as possible especially to the Mayor’s office. Mayor de Blasio denounced Asian-American violence a year ago but we’re still waiting for someone who is arrested for the crime to actually face criminal sanctions for it.”

To read the full coverage of the program on The Spectator, click here.

In the News: AABANY Board Director Chris Kwok Interviewed (Again) on the Rise in Anti-Asian Hate Crimes

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On April 26, Chris Kwok, AABANY Board Director, AABANY Issues Committee Chair, and Co-Executive Editor of AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence, was featured on PBS’s Metrofocus program. Host Jenna Flanagan interviewed Chris and The City reporter Christine Chung on the surge in hate crimes against Asians in the United States as well as steps to take to prevent these crimes. In the interview, Chris explained that, oftentimes, the circumstances of the incident make it very difficult to prosecute a perpetrator for a hate crime. As a result, Chris stated, hate crimes against Asians are severely underreported and that the incidents are often classified only as assault or harassment. Chris also emphasized the universality of the issue of hate crimes, while noting that perpetrators were not of a single race. Chris also explained the importance of the wider community’s role in combating hate crimes. Towards the end of the interview, Chris noted that “I think we need to get to a point where we care for each other as New Yorkers, have each others’ back. You know, get back to a sense of the city where we take care of each other a little more.” Watch the full segment here.

On May 1, Chris was quoted in FOX 5, which echoed his sentiments regarding the importance of reporting hate crimes and incidents of racially-motivated harassment. As Chris said, “[h]aving an official record of these things is useful for tracking the sentiment of anti-Asian hate and harassment.” Read the full news story here.

Please also take a look at previous blog posts from February 19, March 1, March 8, and March 15, and March 29, highlighting news stories about our report. If you have come across a news report or article about our report that is not listed above, please let us know at main@aabany.org.

More public awareness about our report and the rise in anti-Asian violence is needed. Please share our report widely. If you have ideas or thoughts about how we can combat anti-Asian violence, please share them with us at main@aabany.org.

In the News: Chris Kwok Quoted in The City about Anti-Asian Harassment Incidents against Older Asian New Yorkers

On April 20, 2021, Board Director Chris Kwok was quoted in an article published by The City titled “Older Asians Face ‘A Whole Wave’ of Hate Hidden in Official NYPD Stats.” The article reviewed the NYPD’s statistics on harassment reports and highlighted the 11% increase of second-degree harassment incidents against Asian New Yorkers older than 65 in 2020 compared to 2019. Further, the article describes how reports of harassment are rarely investigated due to how hate crimes and harassment are classified under New York penal law and criminal procedural law. “For crimes against Asian Americans, it seems like there’s a default like we begin with ‘It’s not a hate crime’ and we’re going to have to look for things that prove it is,” stated Chris. He believes that district attorneys should elevate the charges to more serious offenses, even if they cannot be designated as hate crimes.  

The article notes that the NYPD has tried to prevent the increase of harassment incidents in New York by deploying undercover Asian police officers in the community: “In three incidents this month, undercover Asian police officers were targeted in Manhattan, according to the NYPD. All three suspects were arrested and charged with hate crimes. In the most recent incident, on Saturday, police allege a man attempted to shove the officer into subway tracks, saying: ‘That’s why you people are getting beat up. I got nothing to lose.'” Despite this, harassment cases are often dismissed by judges and anti-Asian violence incidents are still underreported.

Chris Kwok was also quoted in an April 15th World Journal article “仇恨亞裔案件列「反新冠」欄目 批評人士:警低估危機” about the underreporting of anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020.

Please also take a look at previous blog posts from February 19March 1March 8March 15March 29, and April 12 quoting Chris Kwok or mentioning AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence. If you have come across a news report or article about our report that is not listed above, please let us know at main@aabany.org.

More public awareness about our report and the rise in anti-Asian violence is needed. Please share our report widely. If you have ideas or thoughts about how we can combat anti-Asian violence, please share them with us at main@aabany.org.

Statement On S. 937 COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act

For Immediate Release: Date: April 22, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

Today, the United States Senate, in an overwhelmingly 94-1 bipartisan vote, passed S. 937, the “COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act” introduced by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI).  This legislation requires that the U.S. Department of Justice designate a point person whose sole responsibility is to facilitate the expedited review of hate crimes related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, the legislation recognizes a “COVID-19 hate crime” as an act of violence motivated by the actual or perceived relationship to the spread of COVID-19 of any person based on their race, ethnicity, age, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. The Senate-passed legislation also incorporates the Jabara-Heyer No Hate Act which increases resources for hate crimes reporting and assistance for victims of hate crimes.

“NAPABA congratulates the Senate for passing this important legislation, and Senator Hirono for her leadership on this issue,” said NAPABA President A.B. Cruz III. “This bill squarely addresses one of the root causes of the increase in hate crimes and bias-motivated incidents being committed against the Asian American community – the dangerous rhetoric and falsehood that somehow Asian Americans are responsible for the COVID-pandemic. NAPABA is committed to ensuring justice for hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents committed against the Asian American community, and looks forward to swift passage in the House and enactment into the law.”

NAPABA believes this bill will help state and local law enforcement to better investigate and record hate crimes and hate incidents and prosecute them where appropriate. The legislation also requires the Department of Justice to issue guidance on establishing online hate crimes and hate incident reporting in multiple languages, and to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to issue guidance on best practices to mitigate discriminatory language in describing the COVID-19 pandemic.  In response to the surge in attacks against Asian Americans in the wake of the pandemic, NAPABA in partnership with the APIA Health Forum have produced a hate crimes reporting toolkit – translated into 25 languages and English – the single largest collection of different AAPI-language materials assembled, that provides basic and critical information for victims, community based organizations, and community leaders. 

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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.

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.

In the News: Board Director Chris Kwok Quoted in the Gothamist on the NYPD’s Misclassification of Anti-Asian Hate Crimes in 2020

AABANY Board Director Chris Kwok was quoted in an April 12th article in the Gothamist titled “The NYPD’s Method of Counting Anti-Asian Attacks Underestimates Severity of Crisis, Critics Say.” The article summarizes the findings of a Gothamist/WNYC investigation on the New York Police Department’s response to the rise of incidents against Asian Americans in 2020. Back in March 2020, the NYPD classified incidents against Asian American New Yorkers as “anti-COVID” due to the victim’s disability status instead of labeling it as “anti-Asian hate crime” when there was clear racial invective present. The article states that in 2020, the NYPD recorded four anti-Asian hate crimes while they recorded 25 anti-COVID crimes during the same period. Out of the 25 anti-COVID crimes, 24 consisted of Asian victims. In the article, Chris stated: “That’s a poor choice — especially in light of what’s happened afterwards. If it was an African American [victim] and COVID-19, I don’t think people would readily say ‘Oh, it’s about the disability’… They’re kind of erasing that [Asian] part.” Chris also mentioned that had the NYPD seen the early 2020 crimes for their underlying racial animus, the NYPD could have addressed the rising attacks sooner.

Here are other recent news stories that have quoted Chris Kwok or mentioned AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence:

“Brutal Attack on Filipino Woman Sparks Outrage: ‘Everybody Is on Edge’” By Nicole Hong, Juliana Kim, Ali Watkins and Ashley Southall, March 30, 2021, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/30/nyregion/asian-attack-nyc.html

“Asian hate: Couple threatened by suspected Black man at Home Depot — ‘I’ll cut you, you f****ng Asian’” By Srivats Lakshman, March 30, 2021, MEAWW, https://meaww.com/hate-crime-new-york-city-home-depot-30-march-2021-couple-attacked 

“We need to recognize and fight against anti-Asian hatred” By Yeji Chung, April 5, 2021, The GW Hatchet, https://www.gwhatchet.com/2021/04/05/we-need-to-recognize-and-fight-against-anti-asian-hatred/ 

Please also take a look at previous blog posts from February 19March 1March 8March 15, and March 29 highlighting news stories about our report. If you have come across a news report or article about our report that is not listed above, please let us know at main@aabany.org.

More public awareness about our report and the rise in anti-Asian violence is needed. Please share our report widely. If you have ideas or thoughts about how we can combat anti-Asian violence, please share them with us at main@aabany.org.

NAPABA & APIAHF Launch Combat Hate Crimes Toolkit in 24 Languages

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
  • Working with law enforcement and the media
  • Checklist for community organizations
  • Frequently asked questions

ACCESS NOW

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.

Incoming AABANY President Terry Shen Speaks at Asian Hate Crime Community Event in Summit, NJ on March 21

On March 21, 2021, incoming AABANY President Terry Shen spoke at a Summit Community Programs event in Summit, NJ regarding AABANY’s recent Asian hate crimes initiatives.  Incoming AABANY Vice President of Programs and Operations Joe Eng also attended the event.  At the gathering of over 400 people, Mr. Shen discussed the causes and impact of the surge in Asian hate crimes since March 2020 alongside Summit Mayor Nora Radest, Summit Chief of Police Andrew Bartolotti and six City Council Members.  Mr. Shen also discussed the solutions being actively pursued by AABANY to address this national crisis.  The flag of the United States was flown at half-staff over Summit Village Green during the event.

Chris Kwok Testifies Before the New York City Council Committee on Public Safety on March 22

On March 22, Chris Kwok testified on behalf of AABANY before the New York City Council Committee on Public Safety in support of two changes to the funding of Hate Crime Units of New York District Attorneys’ Offices. These recommendations call for Hate Crime Units to be staffed with full-time prosecutors and legal support personnel, and for periodic audits by the committee to ensure their use of dedicated funds for hate crime prosecution. Chris shared that AABANY first voiced these recommendations in its report on anti-Asian violence. The report specifically identified the “Jade Squad”—a police division formed to combat Chinese gang violence in the 1970s— and concomitant Asian Gang Units that were formed at the District Attorney’s Office. In line with these successful historical efforts, AABANY now advocates for the creation of dedicated and fully funded hate crime divisions in law enforcement and prosecutors’ offices.

The AABANY report recounts numerous instances of assault and harassment against Asian Americans in New York over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Chris highlighted the persistence of such racially fueled attacks to this day. Chris also noted that media outlets, community leaders, and politicians have since backed AABANY’s proposals to fully fund and formally staff anti-hate-crime initiatives. Among these supporters, Chris identified the inspector of the NYPD Task Force and New York mayoral candidate Andrew Yang. In the face of unrelenting anti-Asian violence throughout the state, Chris explained that the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force and District Attorneys’ Office Hate Crime Units require dedicated funding and full-time personnel to improve their reporting structures. Only with such resources can anti-hate-crime initiatives produce reports that adequately detail the efforts of law enforcement to stem anti-Asian violence. The statement concluded with Chris’s message that fully funded and full-time Hate Crime Units are critical to encouraging the continued reporting of anti-Asian hate crimes and to fostering greater trust within the Asian American community. To read Chris’s written statement, submitted with his testimony, click here.