In the News: Executive Director Yang Chen and Board Director Chris Kwok Featured in The Spectator

AABANY Executive Director Yang Chen and Board Director Chris Kwok were recently mentioned in the April 28, 2021 edition of The Spectator, the Stuyvesant High School newspaper, in an article titled “Alumni Association Hosts Community Discussion on Anti-Asian Violence.” Both alumni of the school, Chris (’92) served as the moderator and Yang (’83) was one of the speakers in the April 15 community discussion. Other panelists included Joanne Kwong (’93), President of Pearl River Mart; Soo Kim (’93), President of the Stuyvesant High School Alumni Association; U.S. Representative Grace Meng (’93); Seung Yu, Principal of Stuyvesant High School; and current Stuyvesant juniors Christopher Liu, Xiaoshen Ma, Laura Xia, and Alice Zhu. During the discussion, panelists shared with over 200 attendees their personal experiences with race and their opinions on the recent increase of hate crimes and racism against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

Yang presented the findings and solutions outlined in AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence and spoke about how AABANY is supporting the AAPI community. He stated: “One thing we’re pushing hard on is to make sure the NYPD Asian Hate Crimes task force is being fully funded. We’re very much supportive of any effort by law enforcement to bring attention to this issue and we’re trying to put as much word out as possible especially to the Mayor’s office. Mayor de Blasio denounced Asian-American violence a year ago but we’re still waiting for someone who is arrested for the crime to actually face criminal sanctions for it.”

To read the full coverage of the program on The Spectator, click here.

AABANY Hosts “The Surge in Anti-Asian Violence: Corporate Social Responsibility and Action” on April 9

On April 9, 2021, AABANY and a coalition of bar associations from across the country presented a CLE program titled, “The Surge in Anti-Asian Violence: Corporate Social Responsibility and Action.” About 500 attendees from all across the United States joined an esteemed panel of corporate in-house leaders in a discussion on how corporate employers can address the surge in anti-Asian violence and support their Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) employees. The panel included:

  • Sara Yang Bosco, Senior Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel, Emerson
  • Sam Khichi, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Public Policy & Regulatory Affairs, Becton, Dickinson and Company
  • Sandra Leung, Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Bristol Myers Squibb
  • Allen Lo, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Products, IP, and Legal Operations, Facebook
  • Susan Moon, Principal Counsel, The Walt Disney Company
  • Caroline Tsai, Chief Legal Officer & Corporate Secretary, Western Union
  • Michael C. Wu (Moderator), GAPABA Board Member

Moderator Michael Wu began the panel discussion by describing how the coronavirus pandemic has become a virus of hate, with the increase of violence and hate crimes against Asian Americans. To add to this, Sara Bosco emphasized the importance of reporting and providing visibility to these incidents and stated, “You cannot manage what you cannot measure.” Asian Americans comprise 6% of the United States population, yet have been historically overlooked despite being part of U.S. history since the 1800s. Due to Asian Americans being viewed as perpetual foreigners and the model minority, coupled with the inaccurate information disseminated about the origins of the pandemic in 2020, Asian Americans have been perceived as an easier target to perpetrators of anti-Asian violence.

When asked how Corporate America should address anti-Asian violence, many of the panelists shared initiatives their workplaces started and gave suggestions on what companies can do. A main focus of the panelists was discussing how Asian employees can be supported in the workplace. To create a supportive environment, companies should reach out to AAPI employees and create an AAPI employee resource group in the workplace if there is not one already. Even if the organization does not have many AAPI employees, it is important for AAPI employees to meet others to increase their circle and build a larger voice. In addition, mental health resources and allyship training should be offered to employees within the workplace’s HR department. Panelists also agreed that not only should the diversity officers in the company address anti-Asian violence, but even CEOs need to speak up and make statements to show support for the AAPI community.

As individuals in the AAPI legal community, Sandra Leung said, “We are in a crisis situation right now with the rise of anti-AAPI hate, but it’s also an opportunity for us to band together to do our part individually or collectively in groups. We have to turn the emotion and anger that we have into action.” She further emphasized that we need to take leadership roles, speak loud, and educate people on anti-AAPI hate. In discussing leadership roles, Sandra Leung remarked, “I feel so compelled right now and so moved by everything we are facing in our community that I would love to run for President-Elect of NAPABA…” AABANY applauds Sandra Leung’s intent to run during these critical times and agrees that we have to continue working collectively to address anti-Asian violence.

Thank you to Sara Yang Bosco, Sam Khichi, Sandra Leung, Allen Lo, Susan Moon, Caroline Tsai, and Michael Wu for this important discussion on anti-Asian violence and corporate social responsibility. Non-transitional New York attorneys were eligible to receive a maximum of 1.5 CLE credit hours applied toward the Diversity, Inclusion, and Elimination of Bias requirement. CLE credits were also approved in California and Colorado, and CPE credits were approved in British Columbia and Ontario. CLE credits have been applied for in Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas, and are pending approval. To view a recording of the program, click here or on the image above.

NAPABA Statement on the Senate Confirmation of Vanita Gupta

For Immediate Release: Date: April 21, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) congratulates Vanita Gupta on her historic bipartisan confirmation by the Senate, to serve as Associate Attorney General in the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the third highest ranking position at the Department. She now becomes the most senior Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) leader at DOJ ever, and the first woman of color to serve as Associate Attorney General.

“NAPABA is thrilled that the Senate has confirmed Vanita Gupta to lead the DOJ’s efforts in the critical areas of civil rights, the environment, justice-oriented grant making, community policing, community relations, violence against women, tax enforcement, antitrust, and ensuring the rights of service members and veterans, among other responsibilities” said A. B. Cruz III, president of NAPABA. “Her tenure could not have come at a more pivotal time for so many populations of color and vulnerable people, especially as we face an onslaught of anti-Asian hate crimes and bias-motivated attacks against our communities.” 

NAPABA applauds President Biden for nominating Ms. Gupta to the position and the Senate for confirming her at this crucial time.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents 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.

AABANY Co-Sponsors Virtual Fireside Chat with Prominent Asian American Judges on January 26, 2021

On January 26, 2021, AABANY co-sponsored a virtual fireside chat hosted by the New York City Bar entitled, “Our Story: Asian American Judges Share Their Path to the Bench, and Thoughts on Diversity and of the Future.” Prominent speakers included:

  • Hon. Shahabudeen Ally, Supervising Judge, New York County Civil Court;
  • Hon. Jeffrey K. Oing, New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department and AABANY member;
  • Hon. Ushir Pandit-Durant, New York State Supreme Court, Queens County; and
  • Hon. Lillian Wan, New York State Supreme Court, Kings County and AABANY member.

Serving as moderator, Judge Ally led the discussion on each jurist’s path to the bench, challenges faced in their paths regarding issues of diversity and inclusion, and their thoughts on the inclusion of more Asian Americans in the future of the court system. 

For Justices Oing, Pandit-Durant, and Wan, they did not anticipate becoming jurists when they were in law school. Justice Pandit-Durant had previously served at the Queens Assistant District Attorneys Office for over 20 years, and Justice Wan had been a litigator at the Administration for Children’s Services for 9 years and later as a court attorney referee at Surrogates Court. They became interested in joining the bench after their experiences of appearing before judges everyday and learning more about the judicial appointment process. Speaking about the path to the bench, the speakers emphasized the importance of getting outside their own comfort zone and attending events to get their names out there. You want people to recognize you as someone who would be able to do the job, said Justice Pandit-Durant. “They’re not going to know you until they want to know you.”

Speaking on diversity in the court system, the speakers agreed that compared to the past, we are moving in the right direction. There are now many more women and diverse women on the bench. In the state of New York, there are currently 39 judges of Asian American descent. Justice Wan said, “There is more respect and acceptance of the outcome if we have a bench that looks like the community they serve. Diversity matters.”

In the final segment of the fireside chat, Judge Ally asked the speakers: “What can we do as a population to engage the next generation?” Justice Wan spoke about the importance of mentorships. Many people do not realize that practically anyone with the right qualifications can become a judge, and it is necessary for mentors to help demystify the process. Speakers also discussed how students can be inspired by looking at the diversity of the bench and the progress that has already been made. The jurists praised the 80+ audience members for joining their chat and asking great questions, and concluded with the hope that the number of judges of Asian American descent in New York will continue to increase.

AABANY’s Judiciary Committee has a mission to do just that: increase the number of judges of Asian American and Pacific Islander descent in New York. To learn more about the Judiciary Committee, read this blog post about the March 19 membership mixer featuring that Committee or visit this page on the AABANY website.

NAPABA Congratulates President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on Historic Election

For Immediate Release: November 7, 2020

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

Harris is the first Black, Asian American and Female to be elected to the Executive Office

WASHINGTON — Today, American voters elected Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States and Kamala Harris as 49th Vice President. The Biden|Harris presidential ticket included Harris as the first woman of color to be nominated and elected on a presidential ticket for a major party. Vice President-elect Harris will be the highest ranking Asian and Pacific Islander American (AAPI) ever in line for presidential succession.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is a non-partisan organization comprised of lawyers and leaders in both major political parties. As an organization, NAPABA has worked diligently with presidents, administrations and congressional members of both parties, on behalf of millions of AAPIs nationwide.

Amid a global pandemic and a contentious election, our nation has been tested. As members of the legal profession, we have a special responsibility to ensure the continuity of our best legal traditions, and to defend and uphold our commitments to justice, fairness, equity and the Rule of Law under our Constitution. We must work together to unite our membership and our nation to find common ground for a better path forward. NAPABA embraces the solidarity and strength of our robust and diverse community and is committed to our mission to serve as the voice of the AAPI legal profession.

We congratulate President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on their historic win. NAPABA is committed to working with the Biden administration and the new Congress to advance the representation and interests of the AAPI community. 

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents 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.

NAPABA Applauds Supreme Court Ruling on Protecting DREAMers

For Immediate Release: 
Date: June 18, 2020

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director
Email: ppurandare@napaba.org

Today, in a 5-4 landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration’s decision in 2017 to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) violated federal law in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California. The DACA program, whose beneficiaries are also known as DREAMers, protects eligible undocumented youth from deportation and provides them with work permits. Approximately 650,000 individuals, including more than 16,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), benefit from this program and about 120,000 AAPIs are eligible for DACA. The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) applauds the Court for its decision, which will protect these individuals, many of whom are the sole providers in their families.

“The Court’s decision ensures the protection of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. These DREAMers now know they are currently safe from being suddenly deported from the country in which they grew up, went to school, and now work,” said Bonnie Lee Wolf, President of NAPABA. “There has been strong bipartisan support in Congress to protect DREAMers, who significantly contribute to their communities in the United States. The Court’s decision is not a permanent fix and Congress needs to act. NAPABA remains committed to protecting DREAMers.”

NAPABA’s policy resolution to support the continuation of DACA recipients can be found here and the original resolution to support DACA recipients can be found here. The Supreme Court decision can be found here

AABANY at the CAPA Festival

AABANY was proud to participate in The Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans’ (CAPA’s) Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Festival on May 19, 2019. It is the longest continuously running Pan-Asian American Festival on the East Coast and this year’s celebration was particularly special because 2019 marked the 40th anniversary of the Festival.

This year’s theme was celebrating Asian American heroes, and AABANY was proud to be involved. We gave out over forty 2018 Year End Reports, spreading the word about the amazing work that AABANY does every year.

We thank Chris Kwok, Kwok Ng, Francis Chin and Kevin Hsi for helping to man the table this year.

For more information on the event, visit CAPA’s website at: www.capaonline.org or Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/AAPIFest/

AABANY Congratulates Hon. Dorothy Chin Brandt

Congratulations to the Honorable Dorothy Chin Brandt, former justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Queens County, who was honored at the Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration hosted by the Queens District Attorney’s Office of Immigrant Affairs on May 2, 2019.

Justice Chin Brandt made history as the first Asian American female judge and the first elected Asian American public official in New York. She began her legal career as an Assistant Dean of Graduate Legal Studies at Harvard Law School and then as an associate at Shearman & Sterling. She joined the firm Dilworth & Paxson in Washington, D.C. and worked in private practice until her election to Civil Court in 1987. After 30 years of public service on the bench, Justice Chin Brandt retired in 2016.

As AABANY President Brian Song stated: “AABANY congratulates Justice Chin Brandt on being honored at the Queens County DA’s Office’s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration,” states AABANY President Brian Song. “During the month of May, when we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage, it is most fitting that we recognize and celebrate the achievements of trailblazers like Justice Chin Brandt who has paved the way for generations of lawyers and judges that have entered the profession and achieved success by following her example.”

Please join AABANY in congratulating Hon. Dorothy Chin Brandt.

AABANY Joins NAPABA’s Amicus Brief in the Supreme Court Opposing the Addition of a Proposed Citizenship Question to the 2020 Census.

On April 1, 2019, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), joined by Sixty-four (64) bar associations and AAPI-serving community organizations, submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in Department of Commerce v. New York (18-966) opposing the addition of a proposed citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

In a press release, NAPABA stated:

On April 23, the Supreme Court will hear an appeal in Department of Commerce v. New York (18-966).  In January, the Southern District of New York found that the Administration’s decision to add the question was ‘arbitrary’ and ‘capricious,’ and that it violated the Administrative Procedure Act. In a related challenge, California v. Ross, the Northern District of California found the Administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act and the Enumeration Clause of the Constitution. A decision is pending in a third challenge, involving AAPI and Hispanic plaintiffs, in the District of Maryland.

The AAPI organizations urge the Court to uphold the district court’s ruling to enjoin the addition of the citizenship question: Amici agree with the district court ’s finding that the addition of a citizenship question will likely lead to an undercount of noncitizen households of at least 5.8 percent. . . . This chilling of participation in the 2020 Census will have a disproportionate effect on the AAPI community. . . . These heightened concerns for the AAPI community come at a crucial moment, because Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial group in the country and stand to make substantial gains in political representation based on that population growth.

AABANY is pleased to announce that it is a co-signatory to NAPABA’s amicus brief in the Supreme Court opposing the addition of a proposed citizenship question to the 2020 census. The addition of the citizenship question will negatively impact the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. It will depress response rates from Asian Americans, the fastest growing racial group and the largest segment of new immigrants in the country, and impact our ability to protect our rights and ensure political representation.

To read the full press release and the amicus brief, click here.

NAPABA Opposes Plan to Redefine “Public Charge” and Limit Legal Immigration

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) opposes the proposed changes to “public charge” published Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). We urge our members and affiliated bar associations to join NAPABA in submitting public comments opposing the proposed policy.

Public charge policy has roots in long-time efforts to limit the admission of ‘undesirable immigrants,’ such as Chinese in the 19th century. The proposed rule would re-define a public charge as an immigrant who would be likely to receive government benefits from an expanded list of programs, including nutrition and housing assistance programs for children. The proposed rule will make it easier to designate an applicant as a public charge, and deny their admission to the United States or reject their permanent resident application. DHS also proposes stricter guidance for weighing certain factors when reviewing visa applications, such as age, income, health, English proficiency, and employability. NAPABA is greatly concerned with how these changes will negatively impact Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants, working families, and children’s health.

The proposal has already had a chilling effect on Asian Pacific American communities. Due to reports of these proposed changes, some immigrant families—including those with eligible U.S. citizen members—have unenrolled from important public services for which they qualify. If implemented, the new public charge rules would undermine the safety, health, and security of immigrant families by denying them the support historically provided to new Americans. Asian Pacific American communities will be particularly hard hit, as over 31% of new green card recipients are from Asian and Pacific Island nations and as there is significant variation in average income amongst Asian ethnic groups.

Take charge by submitting a comment on the proposed rule before the DHS proceeds with its final rulemaking by the deadline, December 10, 2018. NAPABA will be submitting comments as an organization, but individuals are encouraged to submit unique comments here. To see available resources, please click here. For more information, contact Oriene Shin, NAPABA Policy Counsel, at 202-775-9555 or oshin@napaba.org.