Model Minority vs Covid-19: Education through Crisis, For Asians in America

Date: Wednesday, June 17, 2020 | Time: 4PM to 5PM

This event will be broadcasted via Facebook Live on the Queens Memory Facebook Page,

Covid-19 has sparked an increase in racism against East Asians in America, whether immigrant or native born. However, racism against all groups of Asian descent has been around for much longer, with racist stereotypes and the model minority myth. Join Queens Memory and partners for an online discussion about the current higher educational experience for Asians in America, who are facing the continuously evolving challenge of racism. Also to be discussed is how Asians in America can provide ally-ship and solidarity to other groups that are experiencing racial oppression.


  • Frank Wu, President-Designate, Queens College/CUNY


  • Joyce Moy, Executive Director, AAARI-CUNY
  • Vivian Louie, Director, Asian American Studies Program & Center, Hunter College/CUNY
  • John Chin, Professor, Urban Policy and Planning, Hunter College/CUNY
  • Madhulika Khandelwal, Director, Asian/American Center, Queens College/CUNY
  • Student Representative from the Student Council, Asian/American Center, Queens College/CUNY

Program sponsored by the Queens Memory COVID-19 Project of Queens College and Queens Public Library, Queens College Asian American Center, and Asian American / Asian Research Institute – City University of New York

MNAPABA and NAPABA Stand in Solidarity with the Black Community

The Minnesota National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (MNAPABA) and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) released the following statement on June 2, 2020:

“The events of the past few weeks—the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, as well as numerous incidents of explicit bigotry, bias, and brutality—are nothing less than disturbing and heartbreaking. The Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association (MNAPABA) and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) stand in solidarity with our Black neighbors in the Twin Cities and beyond.

We demand change. When there is an imbalance of power, our position as members of the Bar and our understanding of the rule of law makes it even more critical that we stand strong against any form of injustice. We recognize the generational failures of our government and criminal justice systems in protecting the Constitutional and human rights afforded to Blacks. 

We must address deeply rooted racism in our society. We must work to create trust and fairness in our legal system by addressing systemic bias in the law to safeguard civil rights, civil liberties, and justice for all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, disability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious background, or immigration status.

MNAPABA and NAPABA stand in solidarity with the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL) and the National Bar Association (NBA) as they seek justice and reform at a local and national level. We stand in unity with our affiliated Asian Pacific American bars and sister bar associations in speaking out against racism in all its forms.”

NYCCHR Chair and Commissioner Carmelyn Malalis’ Response to a Rise in Anti-Asian Harassment and Hate Crimes

The recent spike in Anti-Asian harassment and hate crimes have prompted a strong response by NYCCHR Commissioner Carmelyn Malalis. Encouraging New Yorkers to stand together against discrimination, she describes the history of scapegoating in times of crisis and the dangers of fearmongering. She encourages individuals to combat Asian-American stereotypes and misconceptions that underplay anti-Asian racism. With Malalis at the helm, the NYCCHR has formed a COVID-19 response team to handle reports of discrimination and harassment. She strongly encourages victims and bystanders to record and report such incidents to the NYC Commission on Human Rights.

AABANY Signs onto Statement of Support for Resolutions Opposing Anti-Asian Sentiment

On April 27, 2020, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) along with the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and many other bar associations signed onto a statement of support for Congressional resolutions opposing anti-Asian sentiment related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Asian American and Pacific Islander community has been the target of increasing acts of bias, racism, and xenophobia in connection with the coronavirus. AABANY firmly stands against racism and discrimination and is proud to support efforts to address the experiences our community may face with these issues.

Please visit here for the full statement.

National Bar Associations Denounce Rising Anti-Asian Hate Related to the Coronavirus

Seven national bar associations today released a joint statement denouncing the rising number of incidents involving anti-Asian discrimination and racist remarks related to the coronavirus and COVID-19.

Calling for unity in these challenging times are the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the American Bar Association (ABA), the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL), the National LGBT Bar (LGBT Bar), the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA), and the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA North America).

“Unfortunately, the emergence of the coronavirus has led to an increase in acts of hate and discrimination targeting the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. The legal community stands united against hate. The current situation calls for unity and support—not acts of division and words that sow fear,” said NAPABA President Bonnie Lee Wolf.

The FBI has warned about a surge in anti-Asian hate crimes related to the coronavirus. Numerous community organizations have documented that acts of discrimination and bias are increasing, including incidents involving stereotypes and xenophobic language.

President Wolf continued, “Thank you to our sister bars who issued their own messages of support for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community when they saw these acts of hate and discrimination on the rise. A special thank-you to ABA President Judy Perry Martinez, HNBA President Irene Oria, NAWL Executive Director Karen Richardson, LGBT Bar President Wesley Bizzell, NNABA President Robert Saunooke, and SABA North America President Aneesh Mehta for joining me in the video statement to launch this campaign. We encourage other bar associations, law firms, and organizations to join us in denouncing discrimination. We stand together. We stand against hate.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng Introduces Resolution to Denounce Anti-Asian Sentiment Caused by Coronavirus

On March 25, 2020, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives that denounces the anti-Asian sentiment caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus.  

“The increased use of anti-Asian rhetoric, particularly from our nation’s leaders such as the President, and their use of terms like ‘Chinese virus,’ ‘Wuhan virus,’ and ‘Kung-flu,’ is not only irresponsible, reckless, and downright disgusting, it threatens the safety of the Asian American community; such language demeans, disparages, and scapegoats Asian Americans,” said Meng. “Asian Americans, like millions of others across the nation, are worried about the coronavirus; however, so many Asian Americans are also living in fear following the dramatic increase of threats and attacks against those of Asian descent. During this time of heightened anxiety and fear surrounding COVID-19, we cannot lose sight of protecting the health and safety of every single person – no matter their race, ethnicity, or background. The House must take a strong stand against the sickening intolerance, bigotry, and violence that is leaving a terrible stain on our nation’s history, especially during this moment of an unprecedented public health crisis. I am grateful to my colleagues who introduced this resolution with me today, and for joining me in saying loud and clear: xenophobia and discrimination is absolutely unacceptable. I strongly urge all of my House of Representatives colleagues, to support this measure, and its passage.”  

The resolution has 124 cosponsors. They include: Reps. Chu, Pressley, Castro, Pascrell, Malinowski, Speier, Watson Coleman, Brown, Takano, Cisneros, Schakowsky, Velázquez, Pingree, Lieu, Napolitano, Correa, Haaland, Huffman, Torres, Blumenauer, Fudge, Cárdenas, Omar, Schrader, Moulton, Suozzi, Lynch, Dingell, Connolly, Case, A. Green, Bonamici, Trone, C. Maloney, Khanna, McGovern, Thompson (CA), Larson, Foster, E. Johnson, Jayapal, Kilmer, Jackson Lee, Lofgren, Porter, Raskin, Lowenthal, DelBene, Castor, Jeffries, Trahan, Smith (WA), Rose, Beyer, Rouda, Costa, Serrano, DeFazio, Krishnamoorthi, Ocasio-Cortez, Cicilline, Kim, Sanchez, Soto, Bustos, McCollum, Pocan, Welch, Sablan, Schiff, Larsen, Higgins, Yarmuth, McEachin, DeLauro, Quigley, Clark, Grijalva, DeGette, Engel, Butterfield, Rush, Deutch, Allred, Eshoo, S. Maloney, Kennedy, D. Davis, Bass, Boyle, Nadler, Lee (CA), Norton, Lewis, Mucarsel-Powell, Bishop, Evans, “Chuy” García, Schneider, Horsford, Carson, Wild, Tlaib, Casten, Craig, Frankel, Meeks, Brownley, Spanberger, Wexton, Vargas, S. Garcia, Hastings, Escobar, Cohen, Vargas, Sherman, Waters, McNerney, Cox, McNerney, Lawrence, Tlaib, and Gallego.  

To learn more and to read the text of the resolution, click here.

NAPABA Denounces Use of Racist Language to Describe Coronavirus

Please read below a statement released by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association on March 18, 2020:

Using the terms ‘Chinese virus’ and ‘Wuhan virus’ to describe the coronavirus and COVID-19 is inaccurate and unacceptable. This disease does not discriminate. We cannot allow racism to rise as we come together to take on this challenge. NAPABA calls on the President and other leaders to stop using this harmful and xenophobic language.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recognized using such terms creates harmful stigma against ethnic and minority groups, further endangering public health. Discriminatory language distracts from the problem before us, and only perpetuates unfounded misinformation.

The stereotypes associated with this language have led to a rise in anti-Asian bias and racist attacks related to the coronavirus. NAPABA 
spoke out against this bias and joined a coalition of over 260 organizations, including our member bar associations, calling for leaders to focus on unity and denouncing anti-Asian attacks, xenophobia, and racist language. 

We ask you to do your part to combat racism and promote unity in response to this challenge. Know the facts and encourages others to do the same by referring to the 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

AABANY Signs onto NCAPA Letters to Congressional Leadership Urging Them to Denounce Racism and Xenophobia Arising from COVID-19

On March 11, 2020, the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) sent two letters to House and Senate leadership, urging them to call for unity and publicly denounce the increase in racist attacks and discrimination against the Asian American community, in the wake of rising concerns over the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

AABANY is proud to be among the signatories for these letters. While we recognize the growing public health and economic threat the virus poses, we believe our leadership needs to be grounded in truth and committed to taking on racism and xenophobia directly.

The letter to House leadership can be viewed here:

The letter to Senate leadership can be viewed here:

A Message to NAPABA Members After Charlottesville

Dear Colleagues,

Racism, hate, and bigotry have no place in our country. Leaders do not equate individuals who support ideologies of hate with those who stand defiantly in support of diversity and inclusion, in support of our nation’s ideals. There is no moral equivalence between bigotry and tolerance.

As we said on Monday following the horrible hate on display by neo-Nazis and white nationalists and the tragic loss of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia, “Our core values—acceptance, diversity, and inclusiveness—will overcome the forces of hate and racism.”

We cannot look away from this hate. We must challenge it. We must stand for our core values. This is not a time for ambivalence or equivocation.

We come together as Asian Pacific American attorneys. We have different personal stories, but we all come together as a community with a shared history. We come together because we recognize the power of our community and our profession. We have seen what happens when our communities or other marginalized groups do not have a voice in the law or in the public sphere.

We are leaders with the privilege and ability to ensure that these voices are lifted up and that these stories are told. Just as past civil rights leaders have done for us, we must speak up to advance our principles of justice and equality and to help heal our nation’s deep scars. We continue to draw on the strength and resilience of our history. We must protect civil rights and our vision of democracy.

I am proud to see law firms, law professors, corporations, organizations, and others affirm the commitment of the profession to diversity. I am proud to see individual lawyers stand in common humanity to drive away darkness.

Be a light that guides people to peace, understanding, tolerance, and inclusion. Provide pro bono legal services to the people and organizations opposing racism and violence. Call on your leaders to unequivocally and publicly denounce racism and all those who support it. Have the tough conversations with your families and friends to help them understand and process the events of these trying days.  

As lawyers committed to our values, we must be in the courts, the legislatures, and the community to protect the progress we have made since the civil rights era and move forward towards “a more perfect union.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “The arc of moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”  

As lawyers, law students, and legal professionals, we must help bend it.


Cyndie Chang
NAPABA President, 2016-17

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association | 1612 K St. NW, Suite 510 | Washington, D.C. 20006 |

Chicago and National Bar Associations Support Local Victims of Alleged Hate Crime

For Immediate Release

June 22, 2017

For More Information, Contact: 

Brett Schuster, Communications

Press Release

CHICAGO — A coalition of
Chicago-area and national Asian Pacific American bar associations expressed
their support for Sufyan Sohel, deputy director of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations Chicago (CAIR-Chicago), and CAIR-Chicago, victims of
a series of threating
recently charged as a hate crime.

On May 16, 2017, Sohel received a
threatening voicemail on his office phone from Marvin Meyer stating, “Hey.
Guess what? This is America calling. You are not welcome here… We will kill
you.” His message insulted Allah and Democrats, and Meyer also asked, “Do I
seem afraid of you?” This was one of four calls left at CAIR-Chicago that
morning, all with a similar message.

Meyer admitted to calling Sohel and
he has been charged with a felony count of a hate crime and a misdemeanor count
of a telephone threat.

The Chicago-area bar associations
(the Asian American Bar Association of Chicago, the Chinese American Bar
Association of Chicago, the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago,
the Korean American Bar Association of Chicago, the South Asian Bar Association
of Chicago) and the national bar associations (the National Asian Pacific
America Bar Association and the South Asian Bar Association North America)
condemn the threatening calls and the rising level of hate witnessed around the
globe against Muslim, South Asian and other minority communities. The bar
associations praise the Cook County State’s Attorney Office and the Chicago
Police Department for investigating the specific allegations raised by the
voicemails and taking action to ensure that all residents, regardless of
gender, race and national origin, feel welcome and safe in the City of Chicago.

Sohel, past president of the South
Asian Bar Association of Chicago, is an American-born attorney whose parents
came to this country from India. As deputy director at CAIR-Chicago, Sohel
oversees the organization’s legal strategy and is a frequent speaker on social
justice and civil rights issues. CAIR-Chicago is a non-profit organization
that defends the civil rights or Muslim Americans through outreach, advocacy
and litigation.

The bar associations urge attorneys,
other legal associations and community members to help stem the rise of hate
crimes by reporting incidents and seeking assistance immediately. Please visit
the respective bar associations’ websites for additional information. 

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster,
NAPABA communications manager, at 202-775-9555 or

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
more than 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.

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.