AABANY Members: Donate Spanish Books to RAICES

Tina Song, member of PBCS and Immigration Committees at AABANY, writes the following urging AABANY members to donate books to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES):

Raising Awareness, Raising Hope 

So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.” –Roald Dahl, Matilda

At the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), I represent young children who crossed the United States borders illegally and currently residing in shelters at Corpus Christi, Texas. The population that RAICES serve are children ranging from ages two to seventeen years old. Many of these children have fled their countries to the United States to escape poverty and violence. Violence and abject poverty are oftentimes the moving force that drives these children coming to the United States in search of a chance for a better future.  

At my job, I met a young African girl who was raised under an abusive household where her father forced his daughters to follow the customs of a secret society in which the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is sacred and the norm. FGM is often motivated by beliefs about what is considered acceptable sexual behavior and is often considered a necessary part of raising a girl and preparing her for adulthood and marriage. FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15.

As a result from this torturous practice, both of her two sisters died from FGM. To escape his guilt and crimes, the father sent her to the United States illegally. During her treacherous travels to United States, her chaperone was murdered and she was raped. 

After spending time with my client, I found that her simple wish is to have more English or Spanish books at the shelter so that she can learn English and Spanish to communicate with her friends there. 

I implore you, my friends and colleagues at AABANY to consider making a donation to RAICES so that we can provide books for these young minds. You can mail any used books in Spanish that are in great conditions. Please send me an email at tina.song@raicestexas.org and I will provide you the address to mail the books to. If you do not have time to purchase books, you can also send me your abandoned gift cards from Barnes & Nobles, gift cards from bookstores redeemed from your credit card points, or any gift certificates from small independent bookstores or Amazon, and I will help make the purchases. 

Your used Spanish books or Spanish books donated/purchased will be dropped off by my staff at RAICES or myself to the shelters. I will send you follow-up emails of your donation and purchases. 

If you don’t feel comfortable supporting my cause, then please consider donating books to: 

One Book One World: https://onebookoneworld.org/2021-aapi-book-drive. One Book One World is co-founded by Zhixian Jessie Liu, one of the co-chairs at the Immigration Committee. Her organization helps raise awareness of ethnical Asian novels and authors by sending such books to New York City’s day cares, schools, and learning centers. One Book One World will has been providing their book lists to us for our cause. 

Even if you can’t contribute, feel free to send us book lists and we will use the funds to make the purchases. Please do not send any monetary donations. At this time, we are only looking for books or giftcards to support bookstores, retail or independent, not money. Unfortunately, your kind act will not result in taxable deduction. 

But if you are buying books or giftcards from Amazon, please choose the Asian American Law Fund of New York, Inc. as your Amazon smile!!! This way, you can help fund the pro bono clinics run by the Pro Bono & Community Service Committee at the same time. The PBCS’s monthly pro bono clinics, which I have volunteered both in-person and remote, promote legal access to the Asian Pacific Islander community. For more information, visit https://probono.aabany.org/donate.    

Your generous donation will bring lots of smiles from these young children and support to the PBCS’s pro bono clinics. 

Have a wonderful upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and thank you in advance for your generous support!

Tina Song, Staff Immigration Attorney at RAICES, Member of PBCS and Immigration Committee at AABANY, Volunteer and Immigration Consultant in PBCS’s pro bono clinics. 

Pro Bono and Community Service Committee’s Pro Bono Clinics Serve Numerous Community Members in September and October

AABANY’s Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee would like to thank everyone who attended the second and third hybrid Manhattan pro bono clinics in September and October, as well as the soft opening of the Queens pro bono clinic this past Saturday, Oct. 30. The three clinics assisted a total of fifty-five (55) clients, who sought advice on a range of topics, including housing law, immigration, elder law, loans and contracts, marriage and divorce, estates law and drafting of wills and powers of attorney, discrimination, 9/11 compensation, and fraud. PBCS and AABANY are grateful to the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) and Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) for co-sponsoring and hosting these clinics. 

The clinics for the past two months could not have happened without the gracious help of many AABANY members and committees. During the September pro bono clinic, in collaboration with AABANY’s Bankruptcy Committee, PBCS provided a “Know Your Rights” presentation on the topic of bankruptcy and consumer debt. During the October clinics, Rina Gurung and Kevin Hsi, two of the three co-chairs of AABANY’s Government Service and Public Interest Committee, and Zhixian (Jessie) Liu, a co-chair of AABANY’s Immigration Committee, helped PBCS out by volunteering to see clients for one-on-one informational consultations. Thanks to AABANY’s Committees for their camaraderie!

At the pro bono clinics, PBCS volunteers use quick issue-spotting skills to help members of the AAPI community and those with limited English proficiency know what their rights are. For instance, while answering housing questions, a volunteer discovered that a 70-year-old couple living at a rent-stabilized apartment was eligible for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exception (SCRIE). SCRIE is a program that allows qualified tenants to have their rent frozen at their current level and be exempt from future rent increases. This is crucial since most seniors depend on their fixed income. If their rent goes up, qualified SCRIE tenants do not have to pay the higher rent, as the City will pay the landlord the difference between the current rent and the future rent. The 70-year-old couple who came into the PBCS clinic will receive assistance from AAFE to apply for SCRIE. 

In order to be eligible for SCRIE, an applicant must be 62 years or older, have less than $50,000 in household income, spend more than 1/3 of monthly income on rent, and reside in a NYC rent-stabilized apartment, rent-controlled apartment, rent-regulated hotel or single room occupancy unit, Mitchell-Lama development, Limited Dividend Housing Company development, Redevelopment Company development, or Housing Development Fund Company development. Senior citizens who own homes, condominiums or private non-government supervised co-ops may also be eligible for SCRIE. To learn more about SCRIE, see https://access.nyc.gov/programs/senior-citizens-rent-increase-exemption-%E2%80%8Bscrie/.

To learn more about the PBCS Committee and its work, click here and here. The next hybrid legal clinics will take place on Saturday, November 6, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at AAFE, 2 Allen Street (2nd Floor), New York, NY 10002; and Saturday, November 13, 2021, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at CCBA, 62 Mott Street (2nd Floor), New York, NY 10013. For up-to-date details about the clinic and other events, please check PBCS’s event calendar.

And as always, we are always looking for volunteers to help us out! 

To volunteer at CCBA’s Clinics – https://airtable.com/shrQFecVpU1u5ltAy

To volunteer at AAFE’s Clinics – https://airtable.com/shrtPeVTibQA9qNgD   

AABANY thanks the following September 18, 2021 Manhattan CCBA Clinic Volunteers:

AABANY  AAFE
Asako Aiba*
Chao Yung (Kloe) Chiu
Megan Gao
Chenxin (Sarah) Li
Eugene Kim
Jason Kuo
Judy (Ming Chu) Lee
Karen Lin
Erxian (Estelle) Lu*
Jayashree Mitra
Kensing Ng*
Kwok Ng
Grace Pan
Anthony Park*
S. Yan Sin
Tina Song
May Wong
Courina Youlisa*
Serena Zou^

AABANY thanks the following October 16, 2021 Manhattan CCBA Clinic Volunteers:

AABANY  AAFE
Xuanyou (Alicia) ChenLuna Fu^
Francis Chin
Yoonhee Kim*
Judy (Ming Chu) Lee*
Karen Lin
Zhixian Liu
Erxian (Estelle) Lu^*
Megan Gao
Kwok Ng
Kendall Park^*
S. Yan Sin
Johnny Thach
Annie Tsao
Bill Yang^*
Teresa Wai Yee Yeung^
May Wong
Meng Zhang*

AABANY thanks the following October 30, 2021 Queens Clinic Volunteers:

AABANY  AAFE
Esther Choi^Lilian Cheung
Megan GaoLuna Fu
Rina GurungGabriel Hisugan
Kevin Hsi
Eugene Kim
Kendall Park^*
Rachel Ji-Young Yoo*
May Wong

^Non-attorney volunteers

*Remote volunteers

Press Release: Asian American Bar Association of New York’s Free Legal Clinics Now Moved to Asian Americans for Equality in Chinatown

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2016
Contact: Yang Chen, Executive Director (212) 332-2478

Asian American Bar Association of New York’s Free Legal Clinics Now Moved to Asian Americans for Equality in Chinatown

NEW YORK – July 21, 2016 – The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) is proud to announce that it is continuing its pro bono legal clinic in partnership with Asian Americans for Equality (“AAFE”) at 111 Division Street. Launched in December 2015, AABANY’s legal clinics have served members of the Chinatown community free of charge on a variety of legal issues, including housing and immigration.

The pro bono legal clinic takes place on the second Wednesday of every month from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Appointments are currently walk-in only at AAFE’s 111 Division Street location. Those seeking legal assistance should bring all documents pertaining to their legal issues. The next pro bono legal clinic takes place on August 10, 2016.

“AAFE has a four decade history of serving the Asian American community and enriching the lives of those in need. AABANY’s pro bono clinic is relatively new, and we look forward to a productive relationship with AAFE serving the community by providing access to free legal services,” states Yang Chen, Executive Director of AABANY. “We also thank the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association for previously hosting this monthly clinic.”

AAFE’s Director of Programs, Flora Ferng, says, “AAFE is excited about this new partnership with AABANY because it will allow us to continue to serve the communities and its residents in a meaningful way.”

For more information, please contact Yang Chen, AABANY Executive Director, at (212) 332- 2478, or direct any inquiries to main@aabany.org.

A translation of this press release in Traditional Chinese can be found here. A translation of this press release in Simplified Chinese can be found here.


The Asian American Bar Association of New York is a professional membership organization of attorneys concerned with issues affecting the Asian Pacific American community. Incorporated in 1989, AABANY seeks not only to encourage the professional growth of its members but also to advocate for the Asian Pacific American community as a whole. AABANY is the New York regional affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).

Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of Asian Americans and all of those who are in need. Founded in 1974 to advocate for equal rights, AAFE has transformed in the past four decades to become one of New York’s preeminent housing, social service and community development organizations. AAFE is committed to preserving affordable housing throughout New York and to providing new opportunities for the city’s diverse immigrant communities. Its research, advocacy and grassroots organizing initiatives help to shape government policy and to effect positive change. At its heart, AAFE embodies the hopes and dreams of New York’s many vibrant immigrant communities, and helps turn those dreams into reality.


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