On March 21, 2021, incoming AABANY President Terry Shen spoke at a Summit Community Programs event in Summit, NJ regarding AABANY’s recent Asian hate crimes initiatives. Incoming AABANY Vice President of Programs and Operations Joe Eng also attended the event. At the gathering of over 400 people, Mr. Shen discussed the causes and impact of the surge in Asian hate crimes since March 2020 alongside Summit Mayor Nora Radest, Summit Chief of Police Andrew Bartolotti and six City Council Members. Mr. Shen also discussed the solutions being actively pursued by AABANY to address this national crisis. The flag of the United States was flown at half-staff over Summit Village Green during the event.
On Friday, April 3rd, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) hosted a webinar titled “Pandemic and Acts of Hate Against Asian Americans: From Past to Present.” The webinar traced the historical roots of Asian American discrimination related to disease and public health issues and presented solutions for the present in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The webinar featured a panel which included Professor Jack Chin of UC Davis Law School, Matt Stevens of The New York Times’s Political News division, Harpreet Singh Mokha of the Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service, and Rahat N. Babar, Special Counsel, Office of the Governor of New Jersey. Chris M. Kwok, the NAPABA Dispute Resolution Committee Co-Chair and our very own AABANY Issues Committee Chair, helmed the panel as moderator.
Professor Chin began by outlining the extensive history of anti-Asian discrimination within the United States. He focused on how discriminatory legislation at the state level in California and at the national level through the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 frequently correlated Asian American immigrants with disease. In particular, Professor Chin noted how San Francisco became a focal point of race-based efforts to control the bubonic plague in the early 1900s. Multiple political attempts were made to isolate and discriminate against Asians in the city which were repeatedly rebuffed by legal challenges such as Wong Wai v. Williamson and Jew Ho v. Williamson. Professor Chin underscored the ugly but recurring theme pushed in American politics about the “foreignness of germs.”
Following the professor’s historical account, Matt Stevens, an Asian American political reporter for The New York Times, noted the efforts that legislators are making to combat these acts of discrimination. Moreover, he noted the pervasive feeling of fear that permeates the Asian American community.
Harpreet Singh Mokha, National Program Manager for Muslim, Arab, Sikh, South Asian, and Hindu (MASSAH) issues at the Community Relations Service of the DOJ, explained the role and function of CRS during this pandemic. Established under Title X of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, CRS, frequently called “America’s Peacemakers,” works directly with communities facing conflict on racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, religious, and disability issues. It has four primary functions: facilitating dialogue, mediating conflict, training community members, and providing consultation for methods of community assistance. Mr. Mokha noted that members of communities all across the country should be encouraged to make use of CRS’s resources and report hate crimes at their first occurrence.
To wrap up the panel, Rahat Babar, Special Counsel for Litigation with the Office of the New Jersey Governor, echoed Mr. Mokha’s point to report hate crimes without hesitation. He noted a 2020 in-state report which found a 65% increase in bias incidents between 2018 and 2019 with 46% of those engaging in such bias incidents being minors. Thanks to this report, Governor Phil Murphy was able to set up a task force to explore why minors were engaging in such behavior. Mr. Babar notes that without a robust data set of incident or hate crime reports, lawmakers and community leaders will not be able to identify root problems or pose solutions.
Overall, the panel outlined past and present cases of racial discrimination targeted towards the AAPI community. All panelists acknowledged the importance of speaking out during this time of uncertainty for the sake of protecting fellow community members both now and in the future.
This event reached the largest audience for a NAPABA webinar to date, with 160 registrants. The program stressed placing the events of today within historical understanding of America, engagement with our government institutions charged with enforcing our laws, and collaboration across civil society organizations. We at AABANY thank and acknowledge Chris Kwok for proposing this program to NAPABA and serving as moderator.
For Immediate Release
Dec. 12, 2017
WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Asian Pacific America Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ) congratulate Gurbir S. Grewal on his nomination by New Jersey Governor-Elect Phil Murphy to serve as the attorney general of New Jersey. When confirmed, Grewal will be the first Asian Pacific American to serve as the attorney general of New Jersey and the first Sikh American to serve as a state’s attorney general in the nation.
“We congratulate Gurbir Grewal on his historic nomination to serve as attorney general of New Jersey,” said Pankit J. Doshi, president of NAPABA. “An accomplished lawyer and public servant, Mr. Grewal has demonstrated his commitment to the community and the skills needed to lead the state’s law enforcement agency. Following the recent xenophobic incidents in New Jersey, his appointment is a reminder that diversity is something we all value. As a member of the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey, he serves as a role model to attorneys and law students around the nation.”
“This is truly a historic moment,” said Jack Chan, president-elect of APALA-NJ. “APALA-NJ congratulates Prosecutor Grewal on this well-deserved accomplishment, and we applaud Governor-Elect Murphy for making the nomination.”
Grewal currently serves as the Bergen County prosecutor, a position to which he was appointed by Gov. Chris Christie in 2016. From 2010 to 2016, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, including two years as the chief of the Economic Crimes Unit. Previously, he was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York and in private practice at Howrey LLP.
Grewal is a member of APALA-NJ and a 2017 recipient of the APALA-NJ Trailblazer Award for his leadership in the legal community. Grewal graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 1995. He obtained his law degree from the College of William & Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law in 1999.
For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, 202-775-9555, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Arupa Barua, APALA-NJ vice president of communications, email@example.com.
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 almost 50,000 attorneys and over 80 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government.
The Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ) founded in 1985 and incorporated in 1993, is the largest specialty bar association that collectively represents the interests of Asian and Pacific American lawyers in the State of New Jersey. APALA-NJ educates its members and the community about issues of critical concern to Asian Americans, and it supports the entrance and advancement of Asian Americans into and within the legal profession.
To learn more about APALA-NJ, visit www.apalanj.org.
WASHINGTON — The Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey, the New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and the National Asian Pacific American Law Student Association condemn the recent racist election mailer that was sent to homes in Edison, New Jersey, concerning the upcoming school board election. Our immigrant communities, such as the one in Edison, are cornerstones of New Jersey. Hateful attacks such as this have no place in civil political discourse. We strive to promote diversity in the state. Together, we must all stand up and refuse to allow this type of bigotry and ignorance to exist. We continue to stand ready to fight on behalf of our immigrant and diverse communities.
The anonymous mailer cowardly targeted candidates Jerry Shi, a Chinese American, and Falguni Patel, an Indian American and immigration attorney, who are running for the Edison School Board. In a highly diverse community such as Edison, this mailer is an attack on all our immigrant communities and we must ensure that such acts have no refuge.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 50,000 attorneys and over 75 national, state, and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA engages in legislative and policy advocacy, promotes APA political leadership and political appointments, and builds coalitions within the legal profession and the community at large. NAPABA also serves as a resource for government agencies, members of Congress, and public service organizations about APAs in the legal profession, civil rights, and diversity in the courts.
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.
Sinha, an attorney who directed state campaigns at the Innocence Project
and led NYCLU’s Suffolk County Chapter, will head NJ’s ACLU affiliate
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
The ACLU-NJ today announced that Amol Sinha has been named as executive director. The Jersey City resident, who most recently led state advocacy campaigns to address wrongful convictions nationwide at the Innocence Project, will start on September 1.
He knows exactly what he’ll do in his first 100 days: a lot of listening.
“In the first few months, my plan is to travel across the state, listen to the needs of people here, meet with as many organizations, community groups, and people as possible, and make the ACLU completely accessible,” Sinha said. “I want people across the state to know that we’re here as a partner, to collaborate together to make New Jersey better and more welcoming than it already is.”
For Sinha, who grew up in Lawrenceville, taking the helm is a homecoming, not just to his home state, but to an organization that has always anchored him. Sinha’s first role as a newly minted lawyer – after interning for the national ACLU while a student at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law – was as director of the Suffolk County Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union. He said the job posting had an unforgettably fluid yet empowering description: “Be the face of the NYCLU.”
Approaching the responsibility with great pride, he transformed the Suffolk County Chapter into an advocacy powerhouse, making inroads with unexpected allies like the Suffolk County Police Department and Sheriff’s Office. The chapter, working with partners, convinced Suffolk County to stop honoring Obama-era immigration detainers – although that policy has been rolled back, a reminder that no battle for liberty stays won, no matter the administration. Under Sinha’s leadership, the chapter successfully defeated unconstitutional policing and surveillance schemes and investigated public schools that prohibited immigrant students from enrolling. The ACLU-NJ has done similar investigations of public schools and taken legal action as a result.
“The Board of Trustees is thrilled to welcome Amol Sinha to the ACLU-NJ family as our new Executive Director,” said ACLU-NJ Board President Deb Guston. “We expect Amol will bring both his passion for civil liberties, civil rights, and social justice, and his knowledge as a longtime New Jersey resident, to continue to move the ACLU-NJ forward.”
Sinha takes the helm at a time of significant growth for the ACLU-NJ, which recently added an immigrants’ rights attorney, staff attorney, and several legal fellows. The ACLU-NJ plans to fill the role of public policy director soon after Sinha starts as executive director, and the organization is currently accepting applications. (Read the policy director job posting, as well as other open positions, at www.aclu-nj.org/careers.) This growth coincides with new challenges in today’s social and political climate that call for greater vigilance.
“One quality of the ACLU I most admire is its inexhaustible capacity to remain principled, yet evolve to confront the ever-changing threats to our liberties, as we have seen this year,” Sinha said. “Crucially, the struggles for racial justice and the principles of free speech – both so fundamental to New Jersey communities – can be reconciled, and in this climate, they must. It may be complicated, but the ACLU does not shy away from complexity. We’re in it for the long haul.”
The ACLU-NJ role merges what Sinha described as his two passions: advocating for constitutional rights and New Jersey.
Sinha’s childhood in the Garden State was integral to his passion for civil rights. The son of Indian immigrants who came to America in the early 1970s, Sinha vividly recalls a persistent feeling that he couldn’t quite articulate. He has always been proud of his roots, but as with many first-generation Americans, struggled to find the right balance of identities. While finding comfort in New Jersey’s growing diversity, he witnessed interactions growing up that indicated some people viewed him and his family differently because of their immigrant South Asian roots. Such incidents often rolled off his parents’ backs. But for him, it was an introduction to larger injustices faced by many groups.
“The issues South Asian communities face are emblematic of civil rights issues – immigrants’ rights, racial justice, religious freedom, economic injustice, language access, gender-based discrimination, LGBT issues, and biased policing all impact South Asian communities in significant ways,” Sinha said.
“New Jersey has the largest proportion of South Asian residents of any state, so it’s meaningful for a member of that community to lead our state’s ACLU,” Sinha added. “But, I truly believe in unity and breaking barriers across communities. I want every community and every person in New Jersey to know they can call on the ACLU as a resource.”
Sinha is the first person of color to lead the ACLU-NJ and one of the first South Asian executive directors of an ACLU affiliate. Maya Harris, who led the ACLU of Northern California from 2006 to 2009, was the first person of South Asian descent to lead a state ACLU affiliate.
“Working for the ACLU never actually feels like work,” Sinha said. “It is truly a privilege to defend the rights of the people, and it aligns perfectly with my own principles and moral compass. I’m excited to come back home and have people across the state fall in love with the ACLU, just like I did.”
AABANY congratulates Amol Sinha, SABANY President-Elect, on this new position. We look forward to hearing great things from him as executive director of ACLU-NJ and we are pleased to be working with him as a leader of SABANY, one of our sister bar associations.
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates invites you to attend our Youth and College Track workshops on Thursday, July 21st and Friday, July 22nd at our 2016 National Convention in Jersey City, NJ. The free registration provides admission to all workshops, including free breakfast and lunch! Come join us to learn more about APA history, issues affecting the APA community, and what it means to be an advocate.
Students who attend on behalf of their student group will earn $20 per student who RSVPs and attends Convention (a minimum of 5 students must attend in order to get reimbursed).
Highlights from our Youth Track include:
Getting out of Your Comfort Zone – Participate in activities that will lead students to confidently step out of their own self-created boundaries.
Maximizing Your Time in High School – High school provides many opportunities to begin deepening your involvement in extracurricular activities and developing leadership skills, and this workshop will provide students with the tools to make the most of their time there.
High School to College Transition 101 – Whether it’s finding the money to pay for school or choosing the right college or major, this workshop will provide you the knowledge and resources to help ensure your transition is as smooth as possible.
College Success: What to Do When You Get There – This workshop will help students gain a better understanding of what to expect and how to set yourself up for success within your first year.
And highlights from our College Track include:
Joint MFHA Showcase of the Stars – Discover the multitude of APA career opportunities in the food and hospitality industry from industry professionals of diverse backgrounds.
APA History 101 – Dive into a discussion on APA history through a hands-on APA historic timeline activity. Explore the issues that affect us and what to do about them.
Ballin’ on a Budget – Don’t let financial pitfalls get in the way of your success! Learn to navigate around budget obstacles with our hands-on activity, and pay close attention – the most financially savvy team wins gift card prizes of up to $50!
Power and Privilege: Understanding a New Way Forward – Participate in an activity illustrating how power and privilege disparities shape our world, and gain the tools to combat it as you embark on your professional journey.
For more information regarding the convention, click here. To register for free, or to read more about the Youth and College Tracks, please see the attached flyers or visit the registration page bit.ly/OCAYTRACK for Youth Track and bit.ly/OCACollege16 for College Track. If you have any questions, please contact our Program Associate Monica Lee at MLee@ocanational.org or 202.223.5500 ext. 114.
Thank you for your time, we hope you can join us!
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 1, 2016
CONTACT: Theodore K. Cheng, Esq., firstname.lastname@example.org
NEWARK – On February 29, 2016, Governor Chris Christie nominated New Jersey Superior Court Judge David F. Bauman to a seat on New Jersey’s highest court. If confirmed, Judge Bauman, who is Japanese-American, would be the first Supreme Court Justice of Asian Pacific American (APA) descent in the history of New Jersey.
“This is an incredibly proud moment for the APA community. APALA-NJ commends Governor Christie for again nominating Judge Bauman, who is unquestionably an exceptional candidate and highly qualified to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court. We proudly support Judge Bauman’s nomination and know that he will be a prestigious addition to the State’s highest court,” said Theodore K. Cheng, President of APALA-NJ.
Judge Bauman was nominated to the New Jersey Superior Court by Governor Jon Corzine, unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and thereafter confirmed by the full Senate in 2008. He was named Presiding Judge of the Civil Division in Monmouth County in 2009 and received tenure last year. He currently serves in the Criminal Division. Last October, the New Jersey State Bar Association honored Judge Bauman with its annual Minority Judge’s Award, which is given “to an outstanding diverse jurist and exemplary lawyers who have demonstrated through personal and professional achievement the ideals espoused” in the State Bar Diversity Committee’s overall mission and objectives.
Prior to taking the judicial oath in July 2008, Judge Bauman was a partner at Bressler, Amery & Ross, P.C., specializing in general litigation with a focus on complex civil and criminal matters. From 1988 through 1991, he served on active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps, working as a prosecutor, defense counsel, and lead trial attorney for high profile criminal matters. He held positions in the Marine Corps Reserve, such as staff judge advocate, company commander and appellate government counsel. His service awards include the Navy Commendation Medal, Letter of Commendation, Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps, and Certificate of Commendation, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines. In December 2012, Governor Christie nominated Judge Bauman to fill one of two then vacant seats on the New Jersey Supreme Court. However, the Senate never afforded Judge Bauman a confirmation hearing, and the nomination subsequently expired.
“For six years, a seat on New Jersey’s highest court has remained vacant. Unified action from our elected officials is long overdue. Judge Bauman deserves a speedy and fair hearing. This time around, we are hopeful that the Executive and the Legislature will overcome the politicization of the judicial nomination process, and we can move forward with efforts to diversify the State’s Judiciary,” said Jhanice V. Domingo, Immediate Past President of APALA-NJ and Chair of APALA-NJ’s Judicial & Prosecutorial Appointments Committee.
According to the 2010 Census, APAs represent over 8.3 percent of New Jersey’s population. New Jersey is among the top five U.S. states with the largest APA population. Between 2000 and 2010, the APA population more than doubled in 110 New Jersey municipalities and every county in New Jersey experienced double-digit growth of its APA population. APAs were also the fastest growing minority group during the past decade nationwide.
Notwithstanding, APAs remain underrepresented in the State Judiciary. There are only four judges of APA descent out of approximately 360 Superior Court judges. Judge Bauman’s confirmation would advance diversity in a branch of government that does not today adequately reflect the entire constituency of New Jersey. Throughout the State’s history, there have only been two African-American and one Hispanic Justice, and not one APA has ever served on the New Jersey Supreme Court. Although there is still much work to be done to diversify the State Judiciary, Judge Bauman’s confirmation to the State’s highest court would be a step in the right direction. APALA-NJ will continue to work with its sister bar associations on the State and Federal level and leaders in the community to ameliorate the glaring underrepresentation of APAs in the judiciary.
The Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ) is New Jersey’s only pan-Asian bar association serving Asian Pacific American attorneys across the State. Founded in 1983, APALA-NJ continues to be a strong advocate for increased diversity in the Federal and State judiciaries. To learn more about APALA-NJ, visit www.apalanj.org.
The Joint Minority Bar Judicial Internship Program (JMB JIP) is now accepting applications until January 18, 2014.
The Association of Judges of Hispanic Heritage (“AJHH”), the Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”), the Asian American Law Fund of New York (“AALFNY”), the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (“MBBA”), the New York Women’s Bar Association Foundation, the Puerto Rican Bar Association (“PRBA”), and the South Asian Bar Association of New York (“SABANY”) have partnered again for the JMB JIP to offer law students the opportunity to continue their legal education as summer judicial interns in New York and New Jersey metropolitan area courthouses. Judicial internships are exceptional learning opportunities that offer tremendous insight into the process of judicial decision-making. They offer an opportunity to strengthen analytic and legal writing skills.
Please direct any questions to the program’s co-directors at email@example.com.