The Historical Society of the New York Courts continues its month-long celebration of Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Monthwith its 2017 film Get to Know: Hon. Peter Tom. At the time of the interview, Justice Tom served as the Acting Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department.
The now-retired Justice Tom speaks of his upbringing in Hong Kong, and how his early years in the United States brought him to an interest in the law. He traces his judicial career from Housing Court Judge to Appellate Division Justice. He also discusses the importance of boxing in his life. The film comes full circle in Justice Tom’s reflections on the American dream.
The New York City Commission on Human Rights, the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs, NYC Census 2020, and the Queens Borough President’s Office are hosting an API Heritage Month Virtual Town Hall on Tuesday, May 5 at 3:00pm.
The month of May serves as Asian American and Pacific Islander Month, and is a time where we recognize the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. As a City, we recognize the need to share resources with API communities, and to create a feedback loop to better understand how the City can be of more support during this time.
This virtual town hall will give attendees an opportunity to get updates on initiatives and work being led by New York City Commission on Human Rights, the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs, the Department of Consumer & Worker Protection, the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment, NYC Census 2020, and the Queens Borough President’s Office. As you hear from senior officials within these agencies and offices, this virtual town hall will also be an opportunity for community members to share issues and concerns that are related to the work.
NAPABA Annual Lobby Day and APA Heritage Month Congressional Reception
NAPABA invites you to participate in the 4th Annual Lobby Day and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Congressional Reception on May 19-20, 2014, in Washington, DC.
Lobby Day is less than a month away! This is your opportunity to educate members of Congress and congressional staffers on issues of importance to the Asian Pacific American community and to meet other NAPABA leaders from around the country.
Lobby Day Event Schedule:
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 Lobby Day Training Webinar (part one of three)
Monday, May 19, 2014 Lobby Day Onsite Training (part two of three) NAPABA’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Congressional Reception with Honorary Chair and Featured Speaker, Senator Mazie Hirono Confirmed speakers also include Congresswoman Grace Meng and Congressman Mark Takano Click here to RSVP for the Reception.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 NAPABA Lobby Day: Onsite Training Breakfast (part three of three) Member Visits, Participant Debriefing & Happy Hour *Breakfast and Happy Hour hosted by Jones Day
In honor of May as Asian Pacific Heritage Month, the Diversity Committee hosted a dialogue and lunch reception last week with Peggy Kuo, General Counsel for the City’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, and Alan Chang, Deputy General Counsel and Vice President of Legal Affairs for the New York Yankees.
Mr. Chang, who grew up in Queens, began his legal career as a litigator in Los Angeles before joining cable sports giant ESPN. A longtime Yankees fan, he recalled telling his wife that ESPN was his “number two dream job,” with the Yankees occupying the top spot. Two years into his role at ESPN, Mr. Chang learned that the Yankees were seeking an attorney with cable sports news experience. He had just bought a home and was feeling settled, but the job was an opportunity he felt he couldn’t pass up.
“And 13 years later, they can’t trade me,” he joked. “I feel like I found my dream job.” When he joined the team, Mr. Chang was one of just four Asian-American attorneys in Major League Baseball (one of whom worked for the Mets). He has done significant work on a Yankees cable television venture and the team’s new Bronx stadium. “It’s never boring,” he said.
Ms. Kuo cited the importance of her City roots. Her father, an immigrant from Taiwan in the 1960s, worked for the Department of Environmental Protection for 44 years, where he designed sewers for the City, and Ms. Kuo was a product of the City’s public school system. Unlike her father, however, she was eager to explore many different careers.
“I have a curious mind, a restless spirit, and no aversion to risk taking,” she said. “Opportunities come up, and you have to be ready to take them.”
Following law school, she pursued trial work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “It’s a job I would have done for free,” she said. Years later, she was getting settled into Washington, D.C. and about to buy a home, when she learned of the chance to prosecute crimes stemming from the war in Yugoslavia. Ms. Kuo journeyed to The Hague, where she prosecuted the only mass-rape case in Bosnia, as well as a torture and murder case against a camp commander.
Her return to New York four years later felt like a homecoming. “I always think of the City like a family,” she said. After work in private practice and with the New York Stock Exchange, she took her present role at OATH (which involved an interview with the Corp. Counsel.)
During the Q&A, Mr. Chang and Ms. Kuo were asked what qualities they feel their cultural and ethnic backgrounds contribute to their respective legal careers.
Mr. Chang said that he felt his background lent him an increased sense of cultural sensitivity and understanding that could be applied to the Yankees’ diverse fanbase.
Ms. Kuo noted, “I can see things from more than one viewpoint. My mom struggles with English, and when I was making arguments to the jury, I’d, in my mind, be making those arguments to my mom. I’d say, ‘Would my mom understand this?’”
Thanks also to Andrea Chan, William Ng, Tanisha Byron, Stuart Smith, Michael Wasser, and Raju Sundaran of the Diversity Committee – and Lisa Forrester-Campos, Stephen Kim, Keith Miloscia, Connie Pankratz, Madhu Parthasarathy, Liza Sohn, Peter Tsai, and Gloria Yi.