AABANY Releases Second Report on Anti-Asian Hate and Violence in New York

On May 31, 2022, AABANY released its second report on anti-Asian hate and violence in New York City, entitled Endless Tide: The Continuing Struggle to Overcome Anti-Asian Hate in New York. The report examines the increased incidents of violence against Asian Americans in 2021 and proposes solutions to combat the lack of justice. Endless Tide is dedicated to the memory of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American autoworker murdered 40 years ago in an act of racial violence outside of Detroit. 

AABANY held a press conference on the morning of May 31 at the offices of Paul, Weiss in midtown Manhattan. Remarks were delivered by Eva Zhao, the widow of Zhiwen Yan, the delivery worker who was murdered in Forest Hills. 

“I want justice.” said Eva Zhao. “I really don’t want to see another family go through the same kind of pain.” 

(On June 1, Glenn Hirsch was arrested on charges of murdering Zhiwen Yan.)

AABANY was also joined by numerous elected officials and community leaders including Council Member Sandra Ung, State Senator John Liu, Assembly Member Ron Kim, Partner at Paul, Weiss and former United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and Regional Director New York/New Jersey for the ADL Scott Richman.

“We can make people safe, We can make people feel welcomed in their communities. We can give them peace and security.” Loretta Lynch noted. “We can eliminate this hate that is based on nothing more than a distinction without a difference.” 

Endless Tide has received widespread coverage in the media since its release. The report has been cited by more than a dozen different publications to date, including CNN, CBS News, NBC News, and the New York Law Journal: 

AABANY thanks everyone who made this project possible. Special thanks to NAPABA for selecting AABANY as a recipient of its 2022 Affiliate Grant Program. The NAPABA Affiliate Grant Program supports affiliates and national associates in carrying out activities to further their missions and goals. To read the full report, please click on the image above. To view the press conference, please click here

In the News: Elaine Chiu Interviewed on Korean Radio about Hate Crimes against Asian Americans in the U.S.

Elaine Chiu, Professor of Law at St. John’s School of Law, Academic Committee Co-Chair, and member of the Anti-Asian Violence Task Force at AABANY, detailed how hate crimes have affected Asian Americans in the United States in a special interview on a Korean Radio Show, Morning Wave In Busan, on June 6th, 2022. 

Prof. Chiu provided an overview of the situation by referring to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. The Center reported that anti-Asian hate crimes have increased by 339% from 2020 to 2021. This alarming percentage is exemplified by the growing number of news reports and stories of Asian hate crimes experienced by Asian Americans across the country. 

Focusing specifically on New York City, Prof. Chiu, along with other members of AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force, looked at the number of hate incidents against Asians reported to the New York City Police Department. In 2020, Prof. Chiu mentioned 28 hate crimes reported, in contrast to 2021, when a total of 131 hate crimes were accounted for in their report. This unprecedented increase of 361% traces back to the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020. AABANY reported this in greater detail in its Endless Tide report, which followed the Rising Tide report published in 2021, to raise awareness about the hate crimes and violence that the AAPI community has experienced over the last two years. 

Prof. Chiu also states that AAPI Americans have long been victims of racial violence, discrimination, and exclusion. One of the most well-known victims of hate crimes is Vincent Chin. Chin, who was brutally murdered after being beaten by two white men in Detroit, caused an uproar Asian American community after his assailants received a mere $3000 fine and probation upon sentencing. Forty years after Chin’s brutal murder, Prof. Chiu states that it is clear that the pandemic did not create hate crimes against Asians but instead led to them. 

She also states that the explosion of hate crimes against AAPI persons can be attributed to the divisiveness pervasive in the United States, as demonstrated during Trump’s presidency when he enabled xenophobia against Asians by calling COVID-19 the “Kung Flu.” Moreover, with the rise of China as a global superpower, the racial lines are further exacerbated and felt by many Chinese Americans residing in the United States today. Prof. Chiu also states that the steady demise of mental health resources and Americans’ ready access to guns and deadly assault weapons can be contributing factors to this issue. 

Prof. Chiu ended the interview by affirming President Biden’s meeting with BTS (방탄소년단), a world famous K-pop group. BTS was invited to the White House to talk about Asian representation and  address the amount of misinformation regarding the rise in Anti Asian hate crimes. Prof. Chiu further highlighted the importance of how President Biden and BTS’s efforts extend a sense of hope and positivity for many. With the continued rise in hate crimes and attacks against Asians, Prof. Chiu called on everyone on social media, especially those who have influence and following like BTS, to continue to visibly oppose and actively resist hate crimes against the AAPI community.

Listen to Prof. Chiu’s full interview with Morning Wave In Busan here.

AABANY Intern Han Wen Zhang Livestreams Justice for Asian Women Rally from Times Square

On March 16, Stand with Asian Americans held a rally to mark the one-year anniversary of the Atlanta shootings. From 6:30pm to 8:00pm, more than 1,000 attendees gathered in Times Square to remember the victims and call for change. The event was part of a nationwide series of rallies held in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Sacramento, San Francisco, Twin Cities, and Washington, D.C.

AABANY intern Han Wen Zhang participated as the New York City livestreamer. The livestreams from each city were woven into a national 12-hour webcast titled Break the Silence: Justice for Asian Women.  The program featured speeches from community leaders, government officials, and training videos on personal safety and bystander intervention.

The New York City rally included a lineup of speakers and performers, including Executive Director of the Asian American Federation Jo-Ann Yoo, journalist and New York Times bestselling author Min Jin Lee, Governor Kathy Hochul, Chinese American rapper Bohan Phoenix and actor and musician Perry Yung.

Attendees and passersby were given colorful posters based on Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya’s public art series “We Are More.” Event organizers also passed out yellow whistles, with “We Belong” inscribed on one side. To learn more about this event, please visit https://www.asianjusticemovement.org/awr.

AABANY Member Profile: Vincent T. Chang Becomes First AAPI President of NYCLA

Vincent T. Chang, active member of AABANY since 2000 and former AABANY President in 2007, was inducted as the first Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) President of the New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA) on May 28, 2021. In his new role, Vince is prepared to lead NYCLA in supporting diverse communities, reaching out to more young attorneys and law students, and closing the justice gap to serve those in the community who are most in need.

Since high school, Vince gravitated towards pursuing a career in the legal profession. Involved in both his high school and college debate teams, Vince found overlapping aspects between debate and law. In presenting an argument, he noticed both involve research, assembly of evidence, and oral presentation. After graduating cum laude from Harvard Law School, he clerked for the Honorable Robert Krupansky of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit before joining Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in 1989. Being familiar with litigation from his experience in debate and serving as a judicial clerk in a Federal appellate court, Vince chose to practice in litigation. Currently, Vince is a Litigation Partner at Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch LLP in New York specializing in complex commercial litigation matters in the financial industry, including investment banking, hedge funds, and mortgage backed securities.

Outside of his work at the law firm, Vince is an active member of numerous bar associations and organizations, and has served and continues to serve in various leadership positions. To name a few, Vince previously served on the New York State Bar Association Committee of Bar Leaders, on the Board of Directors at Legal Services NYC, and is currently the Vice President of the Asian American Law Fund of New York. Although he might be affectionately called a “Bar Junkie,” Vince did not participate in bar association work until later on in his career.

The first bar association Vince joined was AABANY, and he appreciated both the social and intellectual aspects of the association. He enjoyed the opportunity to learn about different areas of law while also being able to network and meet prominent lawyers. One of his fondest memories of serving as President of AABANY in 2007 was hosting the Annual Dinner because it was a rare event for 500 to 600 AAPI lawyers, including General Counsels and Judges, to all gather in the same room in New York City. This was especially significant because at the time there were at most 400 members in AABANY compared to the 1,500 members AABANY has now.

At AABANY, Vince also played a prominent role in organizing the AABANY Trial Reenactments. With a goal to educate lawyers and the public about the notable trials and cases in U.S. history involving AAPIs, Vince assisted Judge Denny Chin and Kathy Hirata Chin to develop scripts for the productions. Since 2007, Vince has starred as a cast member in numerous reenactments at the annual NAPABA conventions and at other events. He most recently played Fred Korematsu in the “Fred Korematsu and His Fight For Justice” reenactment in November 2019 at the NAPABA convention.

Today, Vince is the first AAPI President of NYCLA, which was the first bar association to admit women and lawyers of color into its membership. He views his role as both an honor and a serious responsibility—an honor because past presidents include esteemed individuals and a responsibility because of his duty to represent AAPIs and serve as a role model. At a time when diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the forefront of many bar associations’ and law firms’ missions, NYCLA plans to be more interactive with young lawyers, especially diverse attorneys, by reaching out to law schools, affinity bar groups, and law firms. Vince also plans for NYCLA to remain relevant on public policy issues and respond to them in a timely manner. He hopes that “taking positions that affect diverse communities will make them notice and realize NYCLA is on their side.”

A common theme of Vince’s work is the pursuit of justice to not only improve the legal profession, but to also improve the quality of legal representation for individuals in the community. He has served on the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary to review federal judicial nominees; sat on a NYCLA panel at a public hearing to address the impact of budget cuts on the Judiciary; served on the Disciplinary Committee for the First Department to prosecute disciplinary complaints against lawyers in Manhattan; and worked on other initiatives to minimize the justice gap. Vince plans to continue working on this at NYCLA as “access to justice is a hallmark of what bar associations and NYCLA are aiming for.” One program NYCLA has planned is to support attorneys who represent indigent persons through the Assigned Counsel Plan (18b). Under the proposed program, by increasing the rate at which assigned counsel are paid, there will hopefully be an increase of lawyers interested in doing 18b work, which will further decrease the access-to-justice gap. NYCLA also hopes to revive their Special Masters Program to provide an opportunity for young attorneys to gain experience working with the court system, and to close the gap between court workload and staff gap. At NYCLA’s AAPI Heritage Month Celebration on June 2nd, Vince vowed to continue to uphold NYCLA’s focus on sustaining the rule of law including the importance of practicing diversity, equity and inclusion in furtherance of fairness and justice for all.

Please join AABANY in congratulating Vince on becoming the first AAPI President of NYCLA and for doing all the work he does to support communities. We wish Vince great success in his vital new role as NYCLA President! To learn more about NYCLA, visit its website at https://www.nycla.org/. AABANY members who join NYCLA for the first time are eligible to receive 50% off their annual dues the first year and 25% off the second year. For more details, click here.

AAPI Judges from the Eastern District of New York Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month

On May 25, the Asian American Judges of the Eastern District of New York celebrated Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with a presentation titled “Photographic Justice: The Retelling of Asian American History in the United States.” Through the photography of Corky Lee, the presentation chronicled Asian Americans’ involvement in U.S. history, which has mostly been omitted from American history books.

The presentation began with a retelling of the Golden Spike ceremony in 1869 that celebrated the completion of the transcontinental railroad. While the majority of the railroad construction workforce was comprised of Chinese immigrants, the photograph taken to commemorate the railroad completion did not include any of the Chinese workers. At the 100-year anniversary of the ceremony in 1969, speakers still ignored the contribution of the Chinese workers. Corky Lee, a renowned photographer, believed in photographic justice and in 2014, he gathered the descendants of the Chinese workers to reenact the Golden Spike ceremony photograph. He said, “Some people would say we are reclaiming Chinese American history. In actuality, we’re reclaiming American history and the Chinese contribution is part and parcel of that.”

The presentation continued by recognizing the contributions of Asian Americans to the American war effort during World War 2, many of whom fought on battlefields overseas. These individuals include the decorated 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Philippine Scouts, and WASP aviators Maggie Gee and Hazel Ying Lee. The third part of the presentation focused on the numerous laws passed in U.S. history that prohibited Asians from immigrating to America such as the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and the 1907 Gentlemen’s Agreement. For years, immigration and access to citizenship was based on race. That situation remained unchanged until 1965 when the Immigration and Nationality Act finally abolished national origin, race, and ancestry as basis for immigration to the U.S. This resulted in increased immigration from China, India, Japan, and the Philippines.

The final segments of the presentation focused on the Asian American Movement and how Asian Americans have come together to address racism and inequality. Addressing the anti-Asian hate and violence occurring today, the presentation concluded that “the current climate of violence against Asian Americans must not stand in the way of Asian Americans being seen, being heard, and being respected in America.”

Thank you to Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara, District Judge Pam Chen, Magistrate Judge James Cho, District Judge Diane Gujarati, Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo, and District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto for the important presentation on Asian American history and for celebrating AAPI Heritage Month. To view the full presentation, click here.

In The News: President Terry Shen and Past President Linda Lin’s Op-Ed on the Lack of Asian-American Representation in New York’s Courts Published in City & State

On May 20, 2021, City & State published an Op-Ed written by President Terry Shen and Past President Linda Lin of the Asian American Bar Association of New York.

In the Op-Ed, President Shen and Past President Lin describe how a wave of Anti-Asian violence swept across New York City in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and how the city government’s lackluster response to these incidents has not been enough to protect the AAPI community. According to the article, stronger Asian-American representation in New York’s courts can help to solve these issues. The article also highlights Kathy Hirata Chin, the only Asian-American candidate for the New York Court of Appeals, arguing that her appointment would be a landmark step towards greater racial diversity, justice, and equity. As stated by President Shen and Past President Lin: “Our government must be diverse to fulfill Lincoln’s vision of a nation ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people.’ The need in our city and state is urgent and necessary.”

To read the full article, click here.

NAPABA’s Virtual Lobby Day

In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), please join NAPABA on May 24-27 for NAPABA’s first ever virtual Lobby Day.

Lobby Day is an opportunity for NAPABA members from across the country to educate members of Congress and Congressional staffers on issues of importance to the AAPI community.

This year’s Lobby Day has never been as important as it is now. NAPABA is operating at the intersection of anti-Asian hate crimes and hate-based incidents, all set against the backdrop of the COVID-pandemic, a pandemic for which our communities have been falsely scapegoated. This year, NAPABA’s Lobby Day is not only about supporting important legislation, but ensuring that your voices and advocacy for justice, equity, and opportunity for all AAPIs are heard from your home districts to the halls of Congress!

REGISTER NOW

Schedule Coming Soon

Questions? Contact Edgar Chen , Policy Director

AAJANY Statement on Anti-Asian Violence

We are heartened by the expressions of solidarity against anti-Asian bigotry and violence from our brothers and sisters across the many bar and judicial associations. We too express our condolences to the families of all victims in Atlanta and to all Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have experienced violence of any kind based on their ethnicity.  To quote the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: 

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.  We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.  Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”   

– Asian American Judges Association of New York State 

AABANY Report Cited on Brian Lehrer Show (WNYC FM)

The March 1st broadcast of the Brian Lehrer Show featured Arun Venugopal, a senior reporter for WNYC’s Race & Justice Unit. Together, Brian and Arun discussed the alarming rise in anti-Asian violence since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brian opened the show by citing statistics from AABANY and Paul, Weiss’ co-authored report: A Rising Tide of Hate and Violence against Asian Americans in New York During COVID-19: Impact, Causes, Solutions. According to the report, there have been more than 2,500 anti-Asian hate incidents nationwide between March and September of 2020. Drawing on another finding of the AABANY report, Arun noted that targeted attacks are particularly commonplace in New York, where Asians are more at risk of physical assault, verbal harassment, and being coughed and spat on. Arun proceeded to draw awareness to a number of local hate incidents, the most recent among them being the stabbing of an Asian American man in Chinatown last Thursday. Citing the opinion of Chris Kwok, AABANY board director and co-executive editor of AABANY’s report, Arun noted that such attacks may be motivated by the stereotype that Asians are “soft targets” who will not fight back. Expanding on this notion, Arun stated that Asians must be seen as part of broader communities that will fight back.

In the remainder of the show, listeners from the Asian American community called in to voice their own experiences as victims of the “soft target” stereotype and express a similar desire for intersectional coalitions. While debates continue over how such coalitions may best be built, Arun pointed out that we all have a role to play in the here and now. By reporting bias incidents to groups like Stop AAPI Hate and the Asian American Federation, whose work is also discussed in the AABANY report, we can ensure that the issue of anti-Asian violence remains at the top of the nation’s political agenda. 

To listen to this episode of the Brian Lehrer Show in its entirety, click here.

AABANY Celebrates 2021 Virtual Gala

On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, AABANY hosted its 2021 Virtual Gala: Uniting for Justice and Equity. 

The event kicked off at 6 pm with a Pre-Gala Virtual Cocktail Reception on Remo attended by sponsors and special guests, including prominent General Counsels and judges. At 6:30 pm, all Virtual Gala attendees were invited to enjoy a piano concert featuring AABANY Member Renee Yao.

The Virtual Gala started at 7 pm and Kate Siahaan-Riggs, NYC-based actor, stand up comic, and writer, served as emcee. Throughout the gala, AABANY held a text-to-donate fundraiser to support Portrait Project 2.0, the second phase of the Portrait Project study which is researching why Asian Americans are underrepresented in top leadership positions across all sectors of the legal profession and how it can be addressed.

This year AABANY was proud to honor:

Frank H. Wu, President of Queens College, the City University of New York, with the AABANY Impact Award

Sneha Desai, Deputy General Counsel Litigation of BASF Corporation, with the AABANY Women’s Leadership Award

Kirkland & Ellis LLP with the AABANY Law Firm Diversity Award

Ed Lee, AABANY Board Director and Partner at Kirkland & Ellis, accepted the Law Firm Diversity Award on behalf of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Honoree Sneha Desai delivered an acceptance speech, stressing the importance of individuals in leadership and influential positions to make positive change in diversity and inclusion. The Honorable Denny Chin, U.S. Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, hosted a fireside chat with honoree Frank H,. Wu to discuss his career and the work he has accomplished.

In addition, we were also pleased to present the 2021 class of Don H. Liu Scholars: Narissa Ganpat, Minji Kim, and Minh Eric Le.

The Gala concluded with a tribute to Asian American photojournalist and historian Corky Lee who passed away in January due to COVID-19. Corky had taken photos of our past Annual Dinners from its earliest days until 2020.

We thank all of the AABANY Virtual Gala Planning Committee members and volunteers for their hard work in making this year’s celebration a huge success. 

We extend sincere thanks to all of our sponsors. Their generous sponsorships make it possible for us to pursue our mission to advance the interests of the Asian Pacific American (APA) legal community and the communities we serve and support our many activities and signature events throughout the year. 

Lastly, we thank everyone that attended the 2021 Virtual Gala and celebrated with us. Our Virtual Gala was streamed on Vimeo which reports that the gala drew 1,400 views. To watch the gala on You Tube, click here or on the image at the top of this blog. To view the Virtual Gala program book, click here.