NAPABA Congratulates Its Former Communications Manager Nisha Ramachandran on Her Appointment as Executive Director of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

For Immediate Release:

Date: July 22, 2021

Contact: Edgar Chen, Policy Director

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) congratulates Nisha Ramachandran who was named as the new Executive Director of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). Ms. Ramachandran will be the first South Asian American to serve in this role. Ms. Ramachandran has extensive experience both on Capitol Hill and with the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) advocacy community, including serving as Policy Director for the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, as a Legislative Fellow in the office of Congressman Ami Bera, and previously as interim Communications Manager for NAPABA. “Nisha Ramachandran brings over a decade of legislative, advocacy, and policy experience dedicated to advancing the interests of AAPIs, and has been an invaluable resource for NAPABA,” said Priya Purandare, Executive Director of NAPABA. “More importantly, Nisha has earned the trust, confidence, gratitude, and friendship of so many who are working to improve the lives of AAPI communities in this country. NAPABA applauds CAPAC Chair Representative Judy Chu for making this historic appointment at a critical moment for the AAPI population.”

CAPAC is a non-partisan, bi-cameral congressional caucus comprised of Members of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and members who are committed to promoting the well-being of the AAPI population. NAPABA has worked closely with CAPAC to strategically reach key AAPI stakeholders in Congress on issues of legislative and policy importance to the AAPI community. Ms. Ramachandran holds both a B.A. and a Masters in Public Policy from the George Washington University. To view the announcement by CAPAC, click here.

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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.

NAPABA Statement on President Biden’s Signing of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act

For Immediate Release:
Date: May 20, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON 
– Today, President Biden signed into the law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act introduced by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) in the House. 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 during the COVID-19 pandemic and to expand public education campaigns aimed at raising awareness of hate crimes.  The Justice Department shall also issue guidance on greater accessibility for online hate crimes reporting for victims in multiple languages and for those with disabilities.  The law also incorporates the Jabara-Heyer No HATE ACT Act which increases resources for training on identifying and classifying hate crimes.

“NAPABA thanks President Biden for signing into law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which answers the call for greater resources to improve education, training, reporting, and data collection on hate crimes in this country,” said NAPABA President A.B. Cruz III.  “This law is a strong step forward to stem the ongoing tide of anti-Asian hate, bias and violence.” 

The legislation also authorizes grants for states to create state-run hate crimes reporting hotlines and crime reduction programs to prevent, address, or respond to hate crimes. Finally, for individuals convicted of federal hate crime offenses and placed on supervised release, the bill allows a court to order that the individual participate in educational classes or community service directly related to the community harmed by the defendant’s offense, as a condition of supervised release.

In response to the surge in attacks against Asian Americans in the wake of the pandemic, NAPABA in partnership with the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) have produced a hate crimes reporting toolkit – translated into 25 languages and English – the single largest collection of such different AAPI-language materials assembled, that provides basic and critical information for victims, community based organizations, and community leaders. 

The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Bill was introduced by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) in the Senate, and Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) in the House.  The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act was introduced by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) and U.S. Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), Fred Upton (R-MI), Judy Chu (D-CA), and Vern Buchanan (R-FL).  NAPABA thanks them for their leadership.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) in the largest Asian Pacific American membership organization representing 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.

NCAPA Community Briefing on COVID-19

On Tuesday, March 31, 2020, the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), a coalition of 34 national Asian Pacific American organizations, held a community briefing call over Zoom on the topic of increased anti-Asian rhetoric in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Community leaders on the call were joined by legislators serving on the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) including Representative Judy Chu (CA-27), Representative Mark Takano (CA-41), Representative Ted Lieu (CA-33), and Senator Kamala Harris of California. 

Mr. Gregg Orton, the National Director of NCAPA, began by addressing efforts undertaken by NCAPA to address the increasing prevalence of anti-Asian rhetoric. Mr. Orton addressed NCAPA’s creation of a COVID-19 Task Force which aims to aggregate community resources online for the Asian American community in addition to building an emergency response network. NCAPA is also currently developing an online health form with crowdsourced in-language community health resources. 

Legislators serving on CAPAC spoke at-length about the alarming rise of xenophobic attacks and racist sentiment directed against members of the Asian American community. All four legislators condemned the rhetoric of top administration officials such as President Donald Trump and Secretary Mike Pompeo in labeling COVID-19 as the “Chinese Virus” or the “Wuhan Virus” as the use of these terms only exacerbate concerns of discrimination. In fact, Representative Chu, the Chair of CAPAC, addressed recent high profile incidents of physical attacks directed against Asians and estimated roughly 1,000 reports of hate crimes in the last five weeks alone. 

Moreover, all four legislators pointed to the efforts that were being undertaken in Congress to stand in solidarity with the Asian American community such as Representative Grace Meng’s (NY-6) recent resolution “Condemning all forms of Anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19” which has already garnered 130 co-sponsors. Senator Harris underscored the importance of cancelling ICE raids and following in Los Angeles and New York’s footsteps in setting up hotlines for reporting on hate crimes directed against Asian Americans. Representative Lieu addressed the problem of phone scams taking advantage of the elderly during this time and pointed to the FCC’s online guidelines for preventing these scams. 

Additionally, Representatives Chu and Takano spoke extensively about the recent stimulus package that was passed and certain benefits that Asian business owners could make use of. In particular, they highlighted Small Business Administration (SBA) loans for companies with less than 500 employees in addition to direct cash assistance provisions sent to qualifying families. However, Representative Lieu noted that the recently passed stimulus package will likely not be enough and that a second bill is in the works. In that bill, Representative Chu hopes to focus on translating federal COVID-19 resources into AAPI languages and assisting both undocumented and legal immigrants who were not eligible for certain benefits in the initial stimulus package. 

Finally, community leaders in the NCAPA network also addressed efforts that they have undertaken in light of COVID-19. Ms. Naomi Tacuyan Underwood, Executive Director of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), elaborated on how AAJA has issued guidelines to major newsrooms across the country on responsible reporting regarding the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, Ms. Chiling Tong, President of the Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship addressed the financial risks faced by its 2 million members. She encouraged Asian American members and businesses to apply for the FCA economic injury fund online. 

Overall, multiple steps are being taken at the legislative, business, and grassroots level in order to combat xenophobia and support the Asian American community in this time of need. In order to see a full recording of the call, please click here. For additional ways you can help and get involved, please look below.


The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), founded in 1996, is a coalition of 34 national Asian Pacific American organizations around the country. Based in Washington D.C., NCAPA serves to represent the interests of the greater Asian American (AA) and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (NHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for AA and NHPI issues. You can get in-touch with NCAPA by clicking here here.

For additional resources, please refer to NCAPA’s COVID-19 Response Toolkit, which includes sample social media graphics and posts, press coverage, and resources within and outside of our coalition. The resources include in-language resources for wellness and health, and various hate crime reporting tools. You can make a direct impact in your own respective circles and communities by regularly distributing and sharing NCAPA’s Toolkit.

PRESS RELEASE: MENG, VELÁZQUEZ, CHU BILL WOULD ASSIST SMALL BUSINESSES HARMED BY CORONAVIRUS

SBA Disaster Loans Would be Made Available for Virus-Impacted Firms

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), the First Vice Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), the Chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee, and Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), the Chairwoman of CAPAC, have introduced legislation aimed at assisting small businesses that suffer economic harm from the coronavirus outbreak. 

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy in Queens and throughout New York City,” said Meng. “They enhance our neighborhoods, bring investment and innovation to local communities, and provide jobs to area residents. But concerns about the coronavirus have hit many small businesses hard. In fact, I have heard from many Asian American-owned small business owners in my district that they are severely struggling. We cannot let them suffer. Government must be a strong partner in helping small businesses succeed and we must not abandon them in their time of need. I call on all my colleagues to immediately pass this legislation so that our entrepreneurs and small businesses can get back on track. When small businesses succeed, America succeeds!”

“Small businesses around the country and in New York City are beginning to feel the economic effects of the coronavirus,” said Velázquez. “Many of our Asian-owned businesses in New York have already experienced a decline in sales due to misinformation, fear and stigma associated with the virus. The bill we’ve authored will help businesses access federal loans if they suffer losses related to the outbreak.”  

“The spread of COVID-19 has nothing to do with race or ethnicity, but that has not stopped dangerous misinformation and xenophobia from spreading faster than the disease itself,” said Chu. “In my district, some Asian-owned businesses are reporting a 50% drop in customers, and that’s the case elsewhere around the country as well. For instance, in New York City, before there was even a single case of COVID-19, some restaurants saw as much as an 80% decline in customers. We have even seen instances of illegal, fraudulent letters that baselessly urge people to avoid Asian-owned businesses. These are serious losses that can have long-lasting impacts on our local economies. We cannot let misinformation and fear ruin communities and businesses. This bill would help by providing necessary assistance to help our Asian-owned businesses continue to operate in the face of a disaster they had no control over.”

Economists recently lowered the global forecasts for major economies from 2.6 percent to 2.4 percent. Much of the recent slowing of the economy is linked to the coronavirus, which has weakened demand in travel and tourism. Besides the decline in foot traffic for many retailers and restaurants, particularly those in Chinese communities, small firms have experienced challenges related to their supply chains. Companies sourcing products and services from China have had delays or complete cancellations of orders, resulting in lower profits for the company. Besides these challenges, small firms must start the process of preparing their companies for the potential to have employees become infected and remain home or telework. In many instances, a small employer may be unable to absorb the additional workforce reductions without a coinciding loss in productivity.

Under the bill, the “Small Business Relief from Communicable Disease Induced Economic Hardship Act,” small businesses would be able to access Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses, which would otherwise have been met if it were not for the virus’ spread. The bill specifies that the loans would be interest free. Companies that are major employers could be potentially eligible for larger loans.

“Properly preparing for the impact of the coronavirus requires a multi-front strategy and that includes being ready to address the very real economic fallout we may see,” Velázquez added. “This legislation would be a good first step to help our small firms in New York and around the nation who sustain economic injury from COVID-19. I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this measure.”

A copy of the bill is online here and a bill summary is available here.

NAPABA Members Lobby Congress During Asian Pacific Heritage Month

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2014

Contact: Azizah Ahmad

(202) 775-9555

NAPABA MEMBERS LOBBY CONGRESS DURING
ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH

WASHINGTON — Today, Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys from around the country are gathered on Capitol Hill for the second day of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Annual Lobby Day.

The NAPABA Annual Lobby Day kicked off yesterday with the APA Heritage Month Congressional Reception. The reception featured speaker and honorary Lobby Day Chair and former NAPABA regional governor, Senator Mazie Hirono. Other members of Congress, including chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Congresswoman Judy Chu, Congresswoman Grace Meng, and Congressman Mark Takano also addressed NAPABA members and leaders from the APA community during the reception.

“This month we celebrate the obstacles Asian Pacific Americans have overcome, the contributions they have made, and the opportunities America has given,” said William Simonitsch, president of NAPABA. “So we are excited to once again meet with legislators in Washington to discuss issues affecting APA, and all Americans.”

Lobby Day continues today with Hill visits where NAPABA members will lobby in support of the 14 policy resolutions that the NAPABA Board of Governors adopted earlier this year. These policy resolutions include issues regarding commonsense immigration reform, affirmative action, and voting rights. A complete list of the resolutions can be found at http://bit.ly/NAPABA_Resolutions. More information about Lobby Day can be found at http://bit.ly/2014NAPABALobbyDay.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 68 state and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, 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.

LA Times: House Apologizes for Chinese Exclusion Acts

LA Times: House Apologizes for Chinese Exclusion Acts

Vincent Chin 30: Standing Up Then and Now

A nationwide Google Hangout with leading civil rights leaders from around the country featuring Congressmember Judy Chu (CA-32), CAIR-SF Executive Director Zahra Billoo, OCA Executive Director Tom Hayashi, Asian American Justice Center Executive Director Mee Moua, and more.

WHEN:
Saturday, June 23, 2012
1:30 ET/10:30 am PT – doors open
2 pm ET/11 am PT – program begins

In 1982, Vincent Chin was the victim of a hate crime murder in Detroit. Thirty years later, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders continue to face discrimination and bullying. In light of recent tragedies like the suicide of Pvt. Danny Chen and the continuing effects of 9/11, what can Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders do to stand up against racism and discrimination?

Join for a one-hour panel discussion with leading voices from the nonprofit and legal communities as they address these timely issues. Viewing parties have been organized in more than 30 cities and individuals can tweet in questions at #VC30.

Albany • Atlanta • Austin • Boston • Charlotte • Chicago • Cleveland • Dallas • Denver • Detroit • Fremont, CA • Gainesville • Grand Rapids • Hartford • Houston • Irvine, CA • Ithaca, NY • Los Angeles • Lowell, MA • Minneapolis • Morgantown, WV • New York • Philadelphia • Raleigh • Sacramento • San Francisco • San Jose • Seattle • St. Louis • Washington • Wichita and more

Presented by Asian Pacific Americans for Progress

National co-sponsors (in formation): Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), Chinese American Citizens Alliance (CACA), Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP), National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC), South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), Southeast Asian Resource Action Center (SEARAC)

Media Sponsors: 8Asians.com, Angry Asian Man

For more info, go to: www.apaforprogress.org/VC30