Congratulations to AABANY Member Glenn D. Magpantay for Receiving NAPABA’s 2020 Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award

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. ”

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.

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:

AABANY’S LGBT Committee Hosts Asian-Black Solidarity Panel

On June 16, 2020, the LGBT Committee of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) hosted a panel discussion addressing the importance of Asian-Black solidarity. The panel featured: Jennifer Ching, Executive Director at North Star Fund and former Project Director of the Queens Legal Services (LSNYC) and Director of New York Appleseed; Jin Hee Lee, Senior Deputy Director of Litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; Jason Wu, Attorney at the Legal Aid Society and Political Chair for GAPIMNY; and Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director at the Asian American Federation.

Jennifer Ching began by defining Asian-Black solidarity as acting out of an understanding that Black and Asian American history, current challenges, and futures are completely connected and interdependent. She cited the term “Asian American” as an example of this solidarity, as it was coined in the 1960s by Asian Americans who were inspired by the emerging Black Power Movement. She also acknowledged that solidarity can be deeply uncomfortable and involves the willingness to take risks and give up power. Jennifer Ching concluded by explaining the three M’s of solidarity: Mind, knowing the influence of Black Americans on the Asian American movement; Money, moving one’s money to Black communities to express solidarity; and Mobilization, taking action to change one’s practices and the practices of those around them.

Jo-Ann Yoo explained how the Asian American Federation shows solidarity towards other communities. The organization is fighting against COVID-19 based anti-Asian racism through bystander training, mental health sessions, and collaborating with other peoples of color in order to emphasize the need for solidarity with communities that have experienced similar racism. The Asian American Federation has also addressed the disproportionate effect COVID-19 has had on small businesses owned by people of color through active policy discussion with the Mayor’s office.

Jin Hee Lee discussed how anti-black racism within the Asian American community fueled by misguided acceptance of the model minority myth has perpetuated perceived Asian invisibility. She challenged the zero-sum mentality that pits communities of color against each other and called for Asians to rise above being exploited by conservatives seeking to combat affirmative action programs. By buying into the colorblind myth of meritocracy, Asian Americans have benefitted from the discrimination against Black and Latinx communities. However, with conversations regarding race becoming increasingly normalized, she hopes that this normalization can provide an opportunity for those within our community to “reevaluate their understanding of race and the structural support systems that uphold white supremacy.”

Jason Wu then discussed the intersectionality of Black liberation with other social movements and the necessity for allies to take a unified stance on the wider systemic issues that have marginalized different overlapping communities. By understanding that social prejudices and inequities are a product of ingrained, systemic issues, we can better understand the political and social structures that we work around and within that have perpetuated bias. In particular, with the Asian American and Black communities, the commonality between them is important in understanding the conflict felt by those of mixed Black and Asian heritage and the racialization of South Asians and Muslims in connection with immigration policy.

The panel concluded with a Q&A, most notably addressing the generational differences within the Asian American community that have fueled anti-Black racism. As Jennifer Ching states, it is necessary to build a “vocabulary of shared experiences” that acknowledges the personal trauma of older Asian Americans while shifting the conversation to the systemic racial inequities that have harmed the Asian American and other POC communities. The panel also answered questions regarding the role lawyers play in perpetuating biased power structures. While lawyers may operate within a legal system marred by racial prejudice, understanding the law is critical in recognizing and combating systemic racism. Only by recognizing injustices in the law can we rectify systemic issues embedded into our national identity and begin healthy conversations about race.

We would like to thank the panelists for taking the time to offer their thoughts and begin these difficult conversations and the AABANY LGBT Committee for organizing this event. If you wish to contribute to the fight against racial injustice, please contact John Vang at [email protected]. To learn more about the struggles of the Black community for racial justice, take a look at AABANY’s Juneteenth blog for a list of relevant resources.

To view a recording of the discussion click here or on the screenshot above.

Law, Intersectionality, and the Next Wave of Social Movements in the Trump Era: June 2-3, 2017

Brooklyn Law School is proud to host the joint 2017 Conference of Asian Pacific American Law Faculty and Northeast People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference.  The theme of this year’s conference is “Law, Intersectionality, and the Next Wave of Social Movements in the Trump Era.”  The conference will take place on June 2-3, 2017 at Brooklyn Law School in vibrant, diverse, trendy downtown Brooklyn, New York.  From LGBTQ rights to DREAMers to the Movement for Black Lives to new forms of labor organizing among precarious, low-wage, on-demand workers, the social movements of today are increasingly operating at the intersections of multiple communities, identities, and structural injustices.  This in turn has created a unique confluence of alliances, collaborations, and common purposes in addressing underlying structural exclusions, inequities, and imbalances of power.  Yet as the 2016 election revealed so starkly, these movements for equality and inclusion have also provoked a virulent reactionary populism and counter-reaction.   

What are the opportunities, challenges, and implications of these 21st century movements?  As scholars and activists, what role can we play in forging new alliances and strengthening existing ones, advancing the goals of these social movements, and furthering longer-term political and social power? How do we encourage even more conversation between scholars and activists to effect real change? How do we ensure that these new alliances among multiple communities advance common goals without obscuring real differences? And how should we understand and gird ourselves against the various forms of counter-reactions, including counter-reactions based on the fear of a majority-minority America?  These are just some of the questions this conference hopes to address.


GROUP PANEL PROPOSALS: We encourage the submission of group panel proposals relating to this year’s theme, “Law, Intersectionality, and the Next Wave of Social Movements in the Trump Era.”  A group panel would consist of 3-4 panelists.  We are especially interested in proposed group panels that feature both legal scholars as well as activists and/or scholars from other disciplines.  Panels might address questions such as (but not limited to): 

  • How are current social movements challenging long-standing inequities? What are the opportunities, difficulties, and implications of these 21st century movements?
  •  How have these movements (successfully or unsuccessfully) built longer-term political and social power?
  • How might we situate these movements in context of current law, courts, and political institutions?
  • Are these 21st century movements different from previous waves in American history? Or are they better understood in a historical tradition of racial, social, gender justice?
  • How should we understand the various forms of counter-reaction against these movements and the broader vision of a majority-minority America? 

If you are interested in proposing a group panel along these lines, please email Professor Sabeel Rahman at [email protected] with a description of your group panel, including the names of the panelists you have enlisted, by February 28, 2017. Please write “CAPALF-NEPOC Group Panel Proposal” in the subject line of your email.

INDIVIDUAL PAPER PROPOSALS: We are also interested in individual presentations and papers.  These presentations may be on any topic, i.e., they need not be on the theme of the conference.  That said, depending on the number of individual paper proposals we receive, preference may be given to papers that are more closely tied to the theme of the conference.  After reviewing the individual paper proposals, the conference organizers will group the individual papers into panels based on subject matter.  If you are interested in presenting an individual paper, please email Professor Bennett Capers at [email protected] with a description of your paper by February 28, 2017.  Please write “CAPALF-NEPOC Individual Paper Proposal” in the subject line of your email.


CAPALF and NEPOC support and nurture the careers of law professors at every stage.  Your proposal for a workshop can involve one or multiple presenters or organizers.  Please list all names in the proposal. If you are interested in proposing and leading a professional development workshop, please email Professor Sudha Setty at [email protected] by February 28, 2017. Please write “CAPALF-NEPOC Professional Development Workshop” in the subject line of your email.


Works in progress are sessions devoted to giving authors helpful feedback on their writing projects in a safe and supportive setting.  The topic of your work in progress can be about any topic and does not have to relate to the conference theme.  If you are interested in presenting a work in progress, please submit a 1 to 2 page abstract and/or a draft to Professor Deseriee Kennedy at [email protected] by February 28, 2017.  Please write “CAPALF-NEPOC WIP Submission” in the subject line of your email.

If you are interested in serving as a Lead Commentator for a work in progress, please also email Professor Deseriee Kennedy at [email protected] by February 28, 2017 and state your areas of expertise.  Please write “CAPALF-NEPOC Volunteer Commentator” in the subject line of your email.


Each year CAPALF and NEPOC recognize the achievements of outstanding teachers-scholars-activists of color in the legal academy.  Last year the Haywood Burns-Shanara Gilbert award went to the Northeast Corridor Collective of Black Women Law Professors.  Please consider nominating someone(s) for the following awards:

  • Haywood Burns-Shanara Gilbert Award for Outstanding Activist – Teacher – Scholar            
  • Professor Keith Aoki Asian Pacific American Jurisprudence Award
  • Professor Chris Kando Iijima Teacher and Mentor Award
  • Professor Eric K. Yamamoto Emerging Scholar Award

Please submit your nomination to Professor Elaine Chiu at [email protected] by February 28, 2017.  Be sure to include a brief supporting statement and to write “CAPALF-NEPOC Award Nomination” in the subject line of your email.


This year, we hope to include some programming specifically targeted to new and aspiring law professors, including the opportunity for aspiring law professors to do mock job talks.  So please share this announcement with new and aspiring law professors!

Glenn Magpantay, Executive Director of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) and the Chair of AABANY’s LGBT Committee, answered some important questions on the intersectionality of being both queer and a minority on NBC’s Comcast Newsmakers on August 3, 2015. It’s an exciting time in history for LGBT rights, but as Glenn so poignantly put it, “Yes, we can get married, but who’s going to come to the wedding?”

It often feels for an Asian American individuals that they can be neither accepted in the LGBT community as ethnic minorities nor the Asian community due to their sexuality or gender identities. Glenn speaks of NQAPIA’s work to develop resources and role models of Asian American families that are fully supportive of their LGBT children. NQAPIA works with community leaders, actors, and real families to try to spread the message of love and acceptance, as difficult as it may seem. As Glenn puts it, “Asian Americans are that often-overlooked minority… All the LGBT leaders are white. All the Asians are straight. Where do I belong?” In their efforts to answer that question and bring inclusion to both the LGBT community and the Asian community, NQAPIA offers messages in over twenty different languages. To learn more, visit their website

For more thoughts on how we can diversify the LGBT movement, watch Glenn’s thoughts above.