Between the AIDS crisis, attacks on the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Miss Saigon controversy, artists and activists in the early ’90s needed to find new ways to build solidarity and counter invisibility. Founded in 1991, the Asian American Writers Workshop (AAWW) was a product of these times.
Join a discussion with two of the organization’s co-founders – Curtis Chin, award-winning writer and documentary filmmaker, and acclaimed novelist Bino Realuyo – and learn how the AAWW built the foundation from its roots. The discussion will be moderated by Vivian Louie, Director of the Asian American Studies Center and Program at Hunter College and Professor of Urban Policy and Planning.
RSVP WITH THE LINK BELOW bit.ly/aas1020 Co-sponsored by Hunter College’s English Dept., Sociology Dept., and The Urban Policy & Planning Dept.
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.
Glenn D. Magpantay, a long-time civil rights attorney, advocate, and leader for Asian Pacific American (APA) and LGBTQ rights, is a 2020 recipient of the Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award, NAPABA’s highest honor. Each year, outstanding lawyers are awarded for their exceptional leadership in paving the way for the advancement of other APA attorneys and creating lasting, substantial contributions in the broader APA community.
Glenn’s inspiring commitment to public service and activism started in college and continued after graduation when he was a lobbyist for higher education in the early 1990s. As one of the few Asian people working in the State Capitols at the time, Glenn learned the importance of APA and LGBTQ representation in law.
As a civil rights attorney at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), he quickly became an authority on the federal Voting Rights Act and expert on Asian American political participation. He fought for the right of Asian Americans to vote in their native language, to put in place translated registration forms and language interpreters at poll sites, and to challenge unconstitutional voter ID requirements in many cities.
At the cornerstone of Glenn’s incredible legal work and advocacy is intersectionality. In addition to working with several law firms on pro bono projects, he has recently led two challenges that reached the U.S. Supreme Court: Hawaii v. Trump (2018), which challenged President Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban, and DHS v. Regents of the University of California (2020), which challenged President Trump’s proposed cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
In a recent interview, Glenn reflected on how LGBTQ Asian attorneys have to navigate through a very traditional work environment where they often cannot express who they really are. In response to this, he has worked for over a decade to create a network for LGBTQ Asian attorneys to find peer support and thrive and advance in their careers. As Executive Director of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), Glenn highlighted the often overlooked stories of LGBTQ Asians, trained a new generation of LGBTQ activists, and cultivated a more diverse face of the LGBTQ movement. And above all, Glenn knows that he could not have done this work without AABANY.
“Ever since I went to my first AABANY event in 1988, they have given me the trust and ability to create these spaces for LGBTQ APA attorneys,” Glenn said. “AABANY is my home because I’ve always felt valued, not just as a public interest lawyer, but also — and especially — as a colorful, openly gay attorney working in the name of Asian American civil rights.”
In addition to the many doors that AABANY has opened for Glenn, he also is incredibly thankful for the support he received from several law firms, such as Weil, Gotshal & Manges, Shearman & Sterling, and Skadden Arps. “I would not have been able to uphold and protect the Voting Rights Act without some of the biggest law firms in New York helping me with issue-spotting, fact-to-rule application, and their commitment to intersectional diversity and inclusion. And I would not have been able to sue New York City for bilingual voting rights without the help of six hundred lawyers from the New York Asian American bar in monitoring polling sites and recording anti-Asian voter disenfranchisement. ”
Glenn continues to teach and inspire legal minds by teaching legal studies and Asian American studies at Hunter College, Brooklyn Law School, and Columbia University, and his work is far from over.
“The goal was never for me to get an award; it was to change the profession to be more diverse and inclusive where we can achieve our fullest potential,” Glenn said. “It’s a lifetime achievement award, but I’m not ready to retire. We have come a long way, but we have not yet come far enough.”
Please join AABANY in congratulating Glenn on this well-deserved honor and recognition. NAPABA has announced on its website that the Award Ceremony will be held in December 2020. Additionally, NAPABA is honoring its awardees by featuring them on their social media accounts. To access the video on Glenn’s life and achievements, please visit the link below:
Asian American Studies Center at Hunter College Wednesday, March 11th 5pm – 7pm
Hunter College West Building, 3rd Floor Glass Cafeteria 904 Lexington Ave and 68th Street Guests will need a photo ID to enter the building
More than half of all college students in the United States are first-generation college students (neither parent had a bachelor’s degree). At Hunter College, more than a third of the undergraduates are the first members of their families to attend college. Join this exciting discussion to learn more about the challenges and opportunities of being a first-generation college student from faculty members, who went from being the first in their families to attend college to being professors teaching and mentoring the next generation of students.
Margaret M. Chin Associate Professor of Sociology, Hunter College & CUNY Graduate Center Hung Cam Thai Professor of Sociology & Asian American Studies, Pomona College & CUNY Thomas Tam Visiting Professor (2019-2020) Van Tran Associate Professor of Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center, Hunger College Class of 2004
Vivian Louie Professor of Urban Policy & Director fo Asian American Studies, Hunter College
Time: 5:30pm (Registration), 6:00pm (Alumni panel presentation) Location: Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College
Summerfest is an annual forum for prospective students interested in graduate programs in international affairs. Alumni, current students, and staff representing five top professional schools will be available to answer questions. This event will include two panel presentations with alumni from each program, as well as a networking reception where attendees will have the opportunity to speak with current students, alumni, and admissions representatives from each school.
Join us for a talk on Growing Up in Transnational Worlds: A Comparative Look at Chinese and Dominican Americans, by Vivian Louie, on Friday, December 13, 2013, from 6pm to 8pm, at 25 West 43rd Street, 10th Floor, Room 1000, between 5th & 6th Avenues, Manhattan. This talk is free and open to the general public.
Transnationalism refers to the phenomenon of immigrants maintaining connections to their country of origin, and employing a dual frame of reference to evaluate their experiences and outcomes in the country in which they have settled. How does transnationalism matter in the identities among the second generation, e.g., individuals who were born in the United States, or migrated by late childhood? In this presentation, Dr. Vivian Louie examines this question among second generation Dominicans and Chinese who have grown up in strong transnational fields and had parents who want them to participate in the homeland imaginary. The focus is on transnational orientations and/or practices among second generation individuals with particular attention to generational status, class, ethnicity, gender, and race.
Vivian Louie is the 2013-2014 CUNY Thomas Tam Visiting Professor at Hunter College. Dr. Louie received her Ph.D and M.A. from the Yale University Department of Sociology, M.A. from the Stanford University Department of Communication, and A.B. from Harvard University. She has previously worked as a newspaper journalist, journalism teacher and youth magazine editor, and an associate professor in education and lecturer in sociology at Harvard.
Dr. Louie studies immigration, education, and identities with a focus on the contrast between lived experience in urban and suburban neighborhoods. Dr. Louie’s two books, Compelled to Excel: Immigration, Education, and Opportunity Among Chinese Americans(Stanford University Press, 2004) and Keeping the Immigrant Bargain: The Costs and Rewards of Success in America (Russell Sage Foundation, 2012), reveal how academic success is achieved in similar ways among working class Chinese, Dominicans and Colombians, even though they belong to groups typically framed at opposite ends of academic success (the Asian American high achiever and the Latino American low achiever). Dr. Louie is also an editor of and contributor to Writing Immigration: Scholars and Journalists in Dialogue (University of California Press, 2011).
To RSVP for this talk, please visit www.aaari.info/13-12-13Louie.htm. Please be prepared to present proper identification when entering the building lobby. Can’t attend? Watch the live webcast on our website homepage, starting at 6:15PM EST, or access the streaming video and audio podcast the following week.
The Alumni Association of Hunter College is seeking nominations for the Hunter College Alumni Hall of Fame. Applications are due by November 1. Induction ceremony and reception and the awards luncheon will take place in April or May 2013. For more details read the cover letter here and the nomination for here.