Sandra Ung, Former AABANY Treasurer, Runs for City Council on Platform of Unity for the Flushing Community

Former AABANY Treasurer and longtime community advocate Sandra Ung has announced her candidacy for New York City Council for the upcoming 2021 election. Sandra, who has dedicated her life to serving the Queens community, hopes to use her extensive experience in and passion for law and public service to best support and represent the Flushing community.

Growing up, Sandra always knew she wanted to be a lawyer. “I’ve always believed that it’s important to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves,” she said in a recent interview. Sandra, who is ethnically Chinese, fled Cambodia during the genocide and immigrated to the United States when she was just seven years old. Soon after, she moved to Flushing, where she has called home ever since. But growing up as an immigrant presented many challenges.

“It’s not easy when you come to a country where you don’t know the language and have to start over,” she said. “But I quickly realized that we were not the only family on this path.” With this passion for community justice in mind, Sandra attended New York City public schools until graduating from Hunter College and then going to Columbia Law School to get her J.D. in 2001. She then worked at a law firm, where she learned detail-oriented writing and organizational skills that allowed her to really understand how to be a professional.

She then worked for Sanctuary For Families, a New York non-profit focused on helping victims of domestic violence and related forms of gender violence. Domestic violence is not regularly or openly talked about in the Asian American community, and survivors often find it difficult to talk to counselors and attorneys, especially when they look nothing like them. When working with organizations like Sanctuary for Families and the Korean American Family Service Center, Sandra saw her Asian American clients slowly open up to her, and she realized how important it is to have a support system that truly understands you and, therefore, your needs.

Now, one of Sandra’s platforms is to provide greater assistance for domestic violence victims. The pandemic has revealed what people in the field already know: domestic violence is a real, pressing issue in every community, and it is not addressed well enough. Therefore, true domestic violence advocacy requires not only highlighting and funding service providers, but also providing ways for survivors of domestic violence to physically move-out, with better housing solutions, and become financially independent from their abusers.

Sandra has worked for the New York State Assembly as a Special Assistant to the NYS Commissioner on Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation; a Legislative Assistant to former New York City Comptrollers Bill Thompson and John Liu; and Chief of Staff to former New York State Assemblyman Jimmy Meng. Currently, she is the Special Assistant to Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Queens), leading the congresswoman’s re-election campaigns and running Grace’s At the Table PAC, a political action committee dedicated to expanding women and minority representation in politics. As the eyes and ears on the ground while the congresswoman is in D.C., Sandra is proud to represent the immigrant community and support them through the same challenges she faced growing up. She especially enjoys running free workshops that teach public speaking and career-based skills to young women who lack access to this knowledge, like she did when she was also growing up in an immigrant family. “We really understand that if you want to have a seat at the table, you need the basic skill set to get you to that table in the first place,” she said.

While serving as AABANY’s Treasurer, Sandra felt empowered by the inclusivity that AABANY created for its community. Due to the breadth and diversity of its members and leaders, AABANY showed Sandra the importance of having strong representation of Asian Americans in leading legal, public interest, and government positions, where they will truly advocate for the communities they serve.

Therefore, after over a decade working for New York state and years of working on other people’s campaigns, Sandra feels ready to tackle and win her own. “The recent national and local elections have shown that we are more divided than ever,” she said. “So, in campaigning, it is especially important to me to set a positive tone.” She hopes to focus on creating unity within the Flushing community, building a broad coalition as strong as their neighborhood.

Now more than ever, Sandra looks up to her mother, who was born in Cambodia and forced to leave her family during the genocide. While working in a laundromat all her life, Sandra’s mother taught her about perseverance and hard work; her parents continue to inspire her to give back to the country that gave them everything they have.

“The people around me have given me the courage to try and do this,” she said. “I believe in my community, I believe in myself, and I believe that I will be the best person for this job.”

To learn more about Sandra’s campaign and find out how you can get involved, please visit sandrafornewyork.com

To hear more about the campaign from Sandra herself, please watch the video below.

To follow Sandra’s campaign on social media, please visit their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

This member profile has been published for informational purposes only and does not constitute and should not be construed as a campaign endorsement.

Congratulations to Hon. E. Grace Park on Her Induction to NYC Civil Court

On December 19, 2019, many were on hand to celebrate E. Grace Park being sworn in as a judge in the Manhattan 4th Municipal Court District of the Civil Court of the City of New York.

Judge Park was born in Seoul, Korea where she lived through the second grade when she immigrated to the United States to join her mother in Chicago, Illinois. Thereafter, Judge Park moved to Boston, Massachusetts for her high school years.  She attended Dartmouth College, where she received her B.A. magna cum laude in Government & Asian Studies. Judge Park holds two Master’s degrees: the first in Regional Studies – East Asia from Harvard University and the second in Public Administration from Columbia University.  Judge Park received her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1999, where she served as Senior Editor of the Journal of Constitutional Law as well as President of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association.  After graduating from law school, Ms. Park clerked for the Hon. Jacob Mishler in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, followed by five years in private practice.  Judge Park then embarked on a career in public service with the Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Practice, representing children in Family Court.

Congratulations, Judge Park, for your hard fought election and well deserved induction ceremony. AABANY wishes you the best of luck in your new career on the bench.

Congratulations to My Chi To on Being Appointed to Lead the Insurance Division of New York State Department of Financial Services

AABANY congratulates My Chi To on her appointment as Executive Deputy Superintendent of the Insurance Division at the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS). In this role, she will oversee more than 1,400 insurance companies with $4.7 trillion in assets. My Chi To is an AABANY member and was a Partner at Debevoise & Plimpton, in the Restructuring Group and Global Insurance Practice.

According to the DFS Press Release which announced her appointment in November, 

My Chi was awarded the Kathryn R. Heidt Memorial Award by the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association. She also received the Best Lawyers Under 40 Award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. An advocate for women in law and business, she is a member of the Steering Committee of the U.S. 30% Club, a group of business leaders focused on improving the representation of women at all levels of U.S. organizations, including corporate boards. My Chi will join New York state’s Committee for the Advancement of Women in Leadership in Financial Services, which was announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in September.

She received an M.Phil. in Politics from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She received an LL.L. and LL.B. in Civil Law and Common Law from the University of Ottawa and was a law clerk to the Hon. Claire L’Heureux-Dubé of the Supreme Court of Canada, the highest court of Canada.

Read the full press release here: Press Release – November 20, 2019: Financial Services Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell Names My Chi To As Executive Deputy Superintendent of Insurance

The New York Law Journal reported that My Chi is expected to start full-time at DFS at the start of 2020.

Please join AABANY in congratulating My Chi and wishing her success on this important appointment.

Congratulations to Glenn Magpantay on Receiving the Brooklyn Law School Faculty Award for Excellence in Public Service

Glenn Magpantay received the Brooklyn Law School Faculty Award for Excellence in Public Service

On Tuesday, April 9, 2019, Glenn Magpantay, the Executive Director of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), was honored at Brooklyn Law School’s Public Service Awards Ceremony.

Glenn Manpantay (left) and AABANY GSPI Committee Co-Chair Kevin Hsi (right) at the Public Service Awards Ceremony

Glenn Manpantay, a former AABANY Board member and a current co-chair of the LGBT Committee, was presented with Brooklyn Law School’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Public Service, in recognition of his incredible devotion to educating and fighting for LGBT equality, racial justice and immigrant rights.

Please join AABANY in congratulating Glenn Manpantay for this well-deserved award and honor.

We thank Kevin Hsi for providing the photos for this blog post.

AABANY and NYU APALSA Present A Conversation: Asian Pacific American Engagement in Public Service

From left to right: Yang Chen (Executive Director of AABANY); Chris Kwok (AABANY Board Director and Issues Committee Chair); Prof. Suzanne Kim (Professor of Law at Rutgers Law School and Academic Committee Co-Chair); Josh Hsu (Deputy Chief of Staff to Senator Kamala D. Harris); Marianne Chow (AABANY Board Director and Co-Chair of Professional Development Committee); Kevin Hsi (Co-Chair of Government Service and Public Interest Committee)

On March 15, AABANY and NYU APALSA hosted a conversation with Josh Hsu and Suzanne Kim in Furman Hall at NYU Law School. The discussion focused on Asian Pacific American attorneys’ engagement in public service.

Josh Hsu is the deputy chief of staff for Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA). The discussion was moderated by Suzanne Kim, Professor of Law at Rutgers Law School. Suzanne Kim is also a co-chair of AABANY’s Academic Committee.

Attendees filled a classroom at NYU Law School’s Furman Hall to hear Prof. Suzanne Kim in conversation with Josh Hsu on his experiences as an APA in public service.

Professor Kim interviewed Josh Hsu about various topics, including Hsu’s professional development, Hsu’s experience with working on the Hill and Asian American attorneys’ involvement in public service — mainly the lack thereof. Josh Hsu recounted how he received the clerkship offer from Judge Chin. As a law student, Josh drafted an article entitled “Asian American Judges: Identity, Their Narratives, & Diversity on the Bench” for Professor Mari Matsuda’s class, and to his surprise, he received Judge Chin’s comments on his draft, which is how Josh connected with Judge Chin and later received a clerkship offer from him. This experience made Josh realize that there is more than one way to make connections and enter into public service.

After the conversation, the floor was opened up for mingling. Attendees of the event actively engaged in more intimate and in-depth conversations with each other and with Josh Hsu.

Attendees continued the conversation after Prof. Kim and Josh Hsu concluded their conversation.

We thank Josh Hsu for sharing his insights and knowledge with us as an APA in public service and encouraging others to join him on his path. We wish him best of luck on the Hill. We thank Suzanne Kim for facilitating the conversation and NYU APALSA for co-sponsoring the event. Last but not least, we thank everyone who joined us on a Friday night and for sharing your enthusiasm about APA engagement in public service.

Congratulations to Glenn Magpantay, Honoree at the Brooklyn Law School Public Service Awards Ceremony

On April 9, 2019, Brooklyn Law School Public Service Law Center will host the Public Service Awards Ceremony in Forchelli Conference Center, Feil Hall, where Glenn Magpantay will receive a Faculty Award for Excellence in Public Service in recognition for his outstanding contributions to public service.

Glenn Magpantay is the Executive Director of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School. He has been organizing in the LGBT community for over 30 years, and he is recognized as a vanguard of LGBT rights activism. In addition to being an activist, Magpantay is also a devoted educator. He teaches “Race & the Law” at Brooklyn Law School and “Asian American Civil Rights” at Hunter College/ CUNY.

We at AABANY have been fortunate to have Glenn Magpantay as a former Board member and current co-chair of the LGBT Committee. Please join AABANY in congratulating Glenn Magpantay on this well-deserved award and honor.

AABANY Prosecutors Committee Celebrates 10th Anniversary

On December 18, 2018, AABANY’s Prosecutors Committee held its 10th Annual Reception by honoring Bridget G. Brennan, Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York, and Jesse J. Sligh, Executive Assistant District Attorney, Queens County District Attorney’s Office, for their exemplary and established record of public service and their commitment to diversity and inclusion in the profession and the community.

Approximately 200 Prosecutors Committee members and guests filled the New York County Lawyers Association at 14 Vesey Street to capacity to celebrate this special anniversary event.  The evening featured numerous distinguished guests and speakers who provided congratulatory remarks to the Committee and the honorees.

Notable guests and speakers included:  

  • Darcel Clark, Bronx County DA
  • Michael McMahon, Richmond County DA
  • Madeline Singas, Nassau County DA
  • Cyrus Vance, New York County DA
  • Neil Corwin, Executive AUSA, US Attorney’ s Office, SDNY
  • Nancy Hoppock, Chief ADA, Kings County DA’s Office
  • Bridget Rohde, Chief AUSA, US Attorney’s Office, EDNY
  • John Ryan, Chief ADA, Queens County DA’s Office
  • Joe Alexis, Chief of Trials, Kings County DA’s Office
  • Catherine Christian, Special Assistant to the NY County DA for External Affairs
  • Diane Gujarati, Deputy Chief of Criminal Division, US Attorney’s Office, SDNY
  • Melinda Katz, Queens Borough President
  • Yang Chen, Executive Director, AABANY
  • Pamela Chen [Judge, US District Court, EDNY]
  • Dorothy Chin-Brandt [Retired Judge, Queens County Supreme Court]
  • Phyllis Chu [Judge, NY County Criminal Court]
  • Danny Chun [Judge, Kings County Supreme Court]
  • Ronald Hollie [Judge, Queens County Supreme Court]
  • Gilbert Hong [Judge, NY County Criminal Court]
  • Judy Kim [Judge, NY County Criminal Court]
  • Peggy Kuo [Judge, US District Court, EDNY]
  • Don Leo [Judge, Kings County Criminal Court]
  • Daniel Lewis [Judge, Queens County Supreme Court]
  • Kevin McGrath [Judge, NY County Criminal Court]

The Prosecutors Committee presented a 10-year retrospective slideshow reflecting on the birth and growth of this vibrant committee over the past decade.

This year’s reception also included a touching tribute in memory of Committee Co-Chair Helen Ahn, who passed unexpectedly in November. Helen’s parents and family were present to hear and receive the tributes from all the speakers and honorees.

AABANY thanks Prosecutors Committee co-chairs James Lin and Myongjae M. Yi for organizing the event, as well as Kin Ng, Catherine Christian, Francis Chin, Laura Badger, and the planning members for their assistance.  AABANY also thanks the New York County Lawyers Association for providing the beautiful venue for this special celebration.

AABANY congratulates the Prosecutors Committee on reaching its 10-year milestone and wishes it much success and growth in the coming years.  The Committee is comprised of current and former state and federal prosecutors. To learn more about the Committee go to https://www.aabany.org/page/73