NAPABA Commends Justice Goodwin H. Liu as Recipient ABA Spirit of Excellence Award


WASHINGTONOct. 5, 2022. This week, the American Bar Association’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession announced California Supreme Court Associate Justice Goodwin H. Liu as a recipient of its 2023 Spirit of Excellence Award. Each year, the ABA honors lawyers who have excelled in their fields and who have demonstrated an abiding commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in the legal profession with this prestigious distinction.

An accomplished jurist, scholar, and professor, Justice Liu is a nationally recognized expert on constitutional law, education law and policy, implicit bias, and criminal justice reform. A graduate of Stanford, Oxford, and Yale Law School, and a former Rhodes Scholar, Justice Liu’s distinguished career includes serving as a former Supreme Court clerk, a key policy advisor at two federal agencies, and as a tenured professor and Associate Dean at the UC Berkeley School of Law. In 2011, Justice Liu was nominated and confirmed as an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court.

Justice Liu is a towering figure in the Asian American legal community, and in particular for his groundbreaking work on the Portrait Project, a comprehensive, multi-year, data-driven study of Asian Americans in the law, conducted in partnership with NAPABA, which was a game-changer for raising awareness about the successes, challenges, and obstacles confronting Asian Americans in the legal profession.

“Justice Goodwin Liu has opened doors, broken down barriers, and been an unflinching champion of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, not just for Asian Americans, but lawyers of all backgrounds,” said Acting NAPABA President A.B. Cruz III. “NAPABA is proud of its longstanding partnership with Justice Liu on the Portrait Project, and it was a privilege to nominate him for the ABA’s Spirit of Excellence Award. He is an inspiration for our members and beyond, as a role model for overcoming adversity in the pursuit of excellence in the legal profession.” 

In 2017, Justice Liu was the recipient of the NAPABA President’s Award, given to NAPABA members who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to NAPABA, the legal community, and the greater Asian Pacific American community.

Also receiving the 2023 Spirit of Excellence Award are:

  • Hon. Roger L. Gregory, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit 
  • Reginald M. Turner, Immediate Past President of the ABA
  • Diandra Benally, General Counsel of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation

The 2023 Spirit of Excellence Awards will be presented during a ceremony on February 4 at the ABA Midyear Meeting in New Orleans.

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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 Establishes New NLF Community Law Fellowship Focused on Anti-Hate Advocacy

$130,000 Investment will build the pipeline of future leaders in our community.

For Immediate Release: June 27, 2022
Contact: Mary Tablante, Associate Strategic Communications & Marketing Director

WASHINGTON – NAPABA and the NAPABA Law Foundation are proud to announce the expansion of the NLF Community Law Fellowship program to include a new two-year fully funded fellowship placement at NAPABA. The Community Law Fellow will work to serve the AA & NHPI community and build NAPABA’s capacity to support the membership’s commitment to public service and advocacy.

“We are excited to offer this opportunity to build the pipeline of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander attorneys with expertise and skill to create change in our communities through advocacy and policy,” said NAPABA Acting President A.B. Cruz III. “This fellowship is another example of the ways that NAPABA and NLF, along with our members and supporters, can create an active legal community that is willing, ready, and able to serve.”

Established by a generous gift from Paul W. Lee of Goodwin Procter LLP the NAPABA Law Foundation Partners and In-House Counsel Community Law Fellowship was launched in 2004 to address the need for attorneys working on behalf of the AA & NHPI populations. NAPABA’s support of the program will establish the 12th Fellowship.

“The Community Law Fellowship is one of the premier ways that the NAPABA legal community can make an investment in the future of public service,” said Juliet K. Choi, Chair of the NLF Fellowship and Scholarship Selection Committee and first NLF Community Law Fellow (2004). “We are proud that we can we leverage the power of NAPABA and NLF to serve the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community.”

The NLF Community Law Fellow placement at NAPABA is a two-year fellowship program designed for a recent law school graduate who is interested in pursuing a career in public interest law and policy. The Fellow will directly support NAPABA’s advocacy and policy program with a focus on supporting and leading initiatives within our anti-hate project. The Fellow will also support other NAPABA community engagement programs, educational programs, and legislative advocacy.

We encourage all interested applicants to apply and for others to share this with any prospective candidates.

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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 Honors the Legacy of Vincent Chin 40 Years after His Death

NAPABA Community Service Corps works to preserve the memory of Chin

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association commemorates the 40th anniversary of the murder of Vincent Chin. On June 19, 1982, Vincent Chin, a Chinese American industrial draftsman, was brutally beaten in a racially motivated attack during a wave of anti-Japanese sentiment and died as a result of his injuries a few days later. Vincent Chin’s death and his killers’ lenient sentences marked a turning point in Asian Pacific American civil rights advocacy in the United States.

“With the dramatic spike in hate violence perpetrated against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, honoring Vincent Chin serves as a poignant reminder that more still needs to be done to rid our society of xenophobic hate and ensure our community’s voice is heard,” said A.B. Cruz III, acting president of NAPABA. “Mr. Chin’s senseless death and subsequent trial underscored the importance of the Asian Pacific American community standing together in the fight against racism and advocating in the courts. We must continue to build on this legacy by continuing to oppose hate and violence in all forms.”

Chin’s murder and the sentences of his killers highlighted the lack of a strong national voice for Asian Pacific Americans within this country’s legal system. Recognizing the need to establish such representation, NAPABA was founded in 1988 to give voice to values of justice, equity, and opportunity for Asian Pacific Americans. Since that time, NAPABA has been strongly committed to civil rights advocacy.

With the current rise in hate crimes targeting diverse communities, the NAPABA Community Service Corps works to provide opportunities for its members to take action for impact locally and nationally. NAPABA is a co-sponsor of the first-ever Unity March on June 25, 2022, an Asian American multicultural event to advance socioeconomic and cultural equity, racial justice, and solidarity. NAPABA Community Service Corps opportunities to engage in the Unity March and other projects to protect and advocate for civil rights honors the memory of Vincent Chin.

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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 Mourns Loss of Secretary Norman Y. Mineta

For Immediate Release:
Date: May 3, 2022

Contact: Mary Tablante, Associate Strategic Communications & Marketing Director

WASHINGTON – Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, a 10-term congressman and the first Asian American to serve in a presidential cabinet, died today at his home in Edgewater, Md., at the age of 90.

“A legend in the Asian American community, Secretary Mineta dedicated his life to public service,” said NAPABA Executive Director Priya Purandare. “Sec. Mineta’s story began during one of the darkest times in American history, Japanese American incarceration. He then went on to become one of the country’s highest profile political leaders, and lived and led with courage, strength, and resilience. Throughout his life and career, he advocated for the civil liberties of Asian Americans, and was a co-founder of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. His lived experience with incarceration informed his fight against the racial profiling of Muslims after the 9/11 attacks because he did not want history to repeat itself. May we and future generations all be inspired by his legacy as we mourn this enormous loss.”

Secretary Mineta served as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation in President George W. Bush’s cabinet and as Secretary of Commerce in President Bill Clinton’s cabinet. He was the first Asian American to become mayor of a major U.S. city, San Jose, California. He was also a military veteran, having served as an Army intelligence officer in Korea and Japan. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2006.

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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.

AABANY Joins NAPAWF and AAJC’s Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Support of Roe v. Wade

AABANY has joined as a co-signatory to the amicus brief in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization filed by the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC).

In a press release, AAJC stated:

The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC (Advancing Justice – AAJC), with Duane Morris LLP, filed an amicus brief urging the nation’s highest court to reject a call by the state of Mississippi to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow individual states to ban or end the legal right to abortion.

The amicus, or the “friend of the court” brief, represents 29 community and civil rights organizations, as well as bar associations, representing the interests of Asian American and Pacific Islander women in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The Dobbs case is a challenge, brought by the independent and sole abortion care in Mississippi, represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, to the state’s 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

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

AABANY Joins SABANY, KALAGNY, and FALA-New York in Calling for Increased Representation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Leadership Positions in the New York Judiciary

In February of this year, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) released its report A Rising Tide of Hate and Violence against Asian Americans in New York During COVID-19: Impact, Causes, Solutions, co-authored with Paul, Weiss, detailing the surge of anti-Asian hate and violence as a result of the pandemic. The report advanced seven carefully-considered proposals for combating anti-Asian racism and discrimination, including, a call for “Greater Representation of Asians in Law Enforcement, Public Office, and the Courts.” Consistent with this proposal, AABANY joined in a statement with the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY), Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York (KALAGNY), and the Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York (FALA-New York), calling on the New York State Unified Court System (UCS) to appoint Asian American Pacific Islander (“AAPI”) judges to fill the positions of Administrative Judge in the Civil Court of the City of New York, Administrative Judge of Supreme Court, Criminal Term in Bronx County, Administrative Judge of Supreme Court, Criminal Matters in Queens County, and Appellate Term, First Department.

As the accompanying press release for the joint statement issued on June 15 notes, “the lack of Asian representation on the bench is not a recent phenomenon.” As AABANY’s report explains, “Racism and bias fester where positions of power are held primarily by the white majority. Institutions that are meant to both represent and serve justice to the community will be more effective if they more closely reflect the composition of the community.” Efforts to increase diversity in the judiciary comprise first steps to ensuring the legal system can protect all Americans, regardless of racial identity.

Secretary Jeh Johnson elucidated in his October 1, 2020 Report from the Special Advisor on Equal Justice in the New York State Courts that “the overwhelming majority of the civil or criminal litigants in the Housing, Family, Civil and Criminal courts in New York City are people of color,” but “[b]oth the Minorities and Williams Commissions identified the lack of diversity among judges and non-judicial employees within the court system as a major issue affecting the administration of justice in the state.” Though these courts serve many litigants from communities of color, the bench does not reflect that diversity, with the overwhelming number of judges being male and white. Secretary Johnson concludes, “The sad picture that emerges is, in effect, a second-class system of justice for people of color in New York State.”

AABANY, through its joint statement with SABANY, KALAGNY, and FALA-New York, reaffirms its commitment to the fair administration of justice for all, calling for change to the longstanding under-representation of AAPI judges in New York State. Read more here.

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.

NAPABA Statement On House Passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act

For Immediate Release:
Date: May 18, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – Today, the House of Representatives, in an overwhelmingly 364-62 bipartisan vote, passed the Senate-approved version of 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 incorporates the Jabara-Heyer No HATE ACT Act which increases resources for hate crimes reporting and assistance for victims of hate crimes.

“NAPABA applauds the House for swiftly passing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which is now headed to the President’s desk for signature,” said NAPABA President A.B. Cruz III.  “Importantly, this law will require the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to issue guidance aimed at raising awareness of hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Asian American communities have, unfortunately, been suffering at the intersection of these twin outbreaks for far too long now.”

The legislation also requires the Department of Justice to issue guidance on establishing online hate crimes and hate incident reporting in multiple languages, 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.

NAPABA | 1612 K St. NW, Suite 510 | Washington, DC 20006 | www.napaba.org

PRESS RELEASE: THE ASIAN AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK AND THE CHINESE CONSOLIDATED BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION LAUNCH VIRTUAL COMMUNITY PRESENTATIONS & MONTHLY CLINIC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 31, 2021

Contact: Yang Chen, Executive Director

NEW YORK – March 31, 2021 – AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Services Committee (“PBCS”) and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (“CCBA”) will launch monthly virtual community presentations and clinic sessions beginning April 2021. This is a joint project to serve members of the Asian Pacific American community who have limited English proficiency by providing free “Know Your Rights” presentations about various common legal issues in housing law, elder law, family law, immigration law, and employment law. Each month will focus on one specific area of law that affects the community, along with a Know Your Rights session on anti-Asian hate and harassment at every virtual presentation. We hope to raise awareness of anti-Asian violence, to inform our audience how to report a hate incident, and to provide helpful resources to victims of hate crime.

Click here to read the full press release.

PRESS RELEASE: MENG AND HIRONO TO INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO COMBAT SURGE OF ANTI-ASIAN HATE CRIMES

This press release has been issued by the Offices of Congresswoman Grace Meng and Senator Mazie Hirono.

For Immediate Release: March 11, 2021

Contacts: 

  • MENG: Mark Olson, 202-819-5580
  • HIRONO: Martha Spieker, 202-365-7943

Legislation comes as Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders experience wave of physical, verbal, and online attacks

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (NY-06), First Vice Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), and U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Executive Board Member of CAPAC, announced their plan to reintroduce the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which seeks to address the ongoing hate and violence targeted toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) by providing greater assistance with law enforcement response to COVID-19 hate crimes and creating a position at the Department of Justice to facilitate expedited review of such cases.

Specifically, the bill would:

  1. Designate an officer or employee of the Justice Department to facilitate expedited review of COVID-19 hate crimes reported to federal, state, and/or local law enforcement;
  2.  Issue guidance for state and local law enforcement agencies to:
    1. establish online reporting of hate crimes or incidents, and to have online reporting available in multiple languages;
    2.   expand culturally competent and linguistically appropriate public education campaigns, and collection of data and public reporting of hate crimes; and
  3.  Issue guidance describing best practices to mitigate racially discriminatory language in describing the COVID–19 pandemic, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the COVID–19 Health Equity Task Force and community-based organizations.

“The ongoing anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents, especially against our elderly Asian Americans, is absolutely horrific. I am honored to introduce the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act with Senator Hirono to address this disgusting pattern of hate,” said Congresswoman Meng. “Before this pandemic started, I urged everyone—including elected officials—to not blame Asian Americans for the virus. My words were not heeded. The former president and his Congressional Republican enablers trafficked racist, bigoted terms to describe COVID-19. In doing so, their language stoked people’s fears and created an atmosphere of intolerance and violence, which persists even today. Since the beginning of the pandemic there has been nearly 3,000 reported incidents of physical, verbal, and online attacks against Asian Americans. Even in my own district in Queens, New York, Asian Americans have been attacked. To combat those acts, we need DOJ to prioritize addressing these heinous acts by designating a point person for these COVID-19 related hate crimes; make it easier for victims to report crimes committed against them; and expand public education campaigns to address COVID-19 hate crimes and incidents. This must end and it is why we are working to ensure our justice system has the people and resources to effectively account for and mitigate anti-Asian hate crimes. I look forward to this bill becoming law.”

“We’ve seen the horrifying consequences of racist language as AAPI communities across our country experience hate crimes and violence related to the pandemic,” said Senator Hirono. “The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act addresses the surge in violence against AAPI communities by dedicating an official at the Department of Justice to expeditiously review hate crimes reported to law enforcement. The bill also provides resources for communities to come together and fight intolerance and hate. This is no less than victims deserve.”

“We are grateful for Senator Hirono and Representative Meng’s leadership in responding to the increased attacks on Asian Americans during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said John C. Yang, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC. “We need improvements in the reporting and handling of COVID-19-related hate crimes by law enforcement at the local, state, and federal levels, as well as making systems more accessible for people with limited proficiency in English. We appreciate the emphasis on linguistically appropriate and culturally competent engagement on data collection and reporting. Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC is committed to countering hate in all its forms, and we will to continue to push for a comprehensive approach to documenting and addressing hate crimes and prioritizing health and safety for all.”

“NAPABA applauds Senator Hirono and Congresswoman Meng for their decisive action to introduce legislation responding to the rise in anti-Asian hate incidents during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said. A.B. Cruz, III, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “NAPABA is committed to ensuring that hate crimes against the Asian American community are properly investigated and prosecuted. The expedited review of hate crimes reported to federal, state, and local law enforcement by the Department of Justice will increase accountability in addressing hate against our community, and establishing a platform for online reporting of hate crimes and incidents in multiple languages will allow more victims to come forward.”

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