“If They Come for Me In the Morning”: Forums on State-Sponsored Xenophobia


AABANY is excited to tell you about “If They Come for Me In the Morning,” a series of town hall forums regarding today’s state-sponsored xenophobia. Featured speakers include Japanese American incarceration camp survivors, Native American artists and activists, African American historians, Holocaust survivors, and people threatened with deportation. They will discuss how government-led bigotry and violence against families have reverberated throughout history, to guide our collective movement towards a better future.

The series began last week on September 27th, with a forum on the Japanese American Incarceration coming up on October 10th. For more information, click here. Thank you to George Hirose at JACL-NY for sharing this event with AABANY


August 29, 2014

Contact: Tina Matsuoka: (202) 775-9555

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Missouri Asian American Bar Association (MAABA) express their deepest sympathies and sorrow to the community of Ferguson, Missouri and to the family and friends of Michael Brown during this time of tragedy and hardship.

As lawyers who have represented underserved and underprivileged clients in North Saint Louis County, we are familiar with the longstanding and mutual distrust between local law enforcement and communities of color in Ferguson. The lack of diversity in the police force, entrenched institutional biases, and disparate treatment suffered in the community have all played a part in the current crisis.

We acknowledge that criminal acts of certain individuals have required the police to respond; however, attacks on peaceful and law-abiding citizens are unacceptable. The police response to the protests in the wake of Michael Brown’s death has been, by any objective measure, heavy-handed. That is why we continue to urge public officials and law enforcement to redouble their efforts to eliminate bias and to safeguard civil liberties. No one should be deprived of their rights of freedom of speech or to peaceably assemble. Reports of attacks on civilians and citizens who were merely exercising their constitutional rights are not only disappointing, they are frightening. President Obama, Attorney General Holder, and other elected leaders should be commended for standing against the excessive use of deadly force and militarization of the law enforcement response in Ferguson.

Still, specific strategies for reforms to prevent future tragedies and ensure social justice are needed. Questions of bias will likely arise regarding the grand jury proceedings surrounding Michael Brown’s death, and we insist that they be conducted with the utmost respect for the tremendous responsibilities and duties borne by the office of St. Louis County Prosecutor, Bob McCulloch. The process must be unimpeachable, thorough, expedient, and transparent. The results must be fair, honest, and just if our community is to heal and for faith in the justice system to be restored.

We also commend the steps taken by local elected officials to increase transparency, communication, and collaboration between and among law enforcement and the community, and in particular our communities of color. Ferguson Mayor James Knowles has recently promised to bolster minority hiring and participation in governance, to recruit African American police officers, and seek to equip all officers with vehicle dashboard and vest cameras. Likewise, City of St. Louis Mayor Slay and Police Chief Sam Dotson should be commended for promptly and sensitively reaching out to community leaders, including pastors, aldermen, and the NAACP, in the wake of another recent but separate shooting by police officers in North St. Louis. They have promised a complete and transparent investigation, and we will be watching.

Therefore, and in spite of the violence in Ferguson we have seen on too many recent nights, we are encouraged and inspired by the efforts of our brothers and sisters there to come together peaceably to exercise their constitutionally protected rights. We are inspired by those of you who have made real contributions to the recovery, relief, and cleanup efforts in Ferguson. We are affected when we see you continue to stand for your principles and beliefs under withering, and often frightening, situations when others were somehow unwilling or unable. We stand behind you, Ferguson.


The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and approximately 70 national, state, and local 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 engages in legislative and policy advocacy, promotes APA political leadership and political appointments, and builds coalitions within the legal profession and the community at large. NAPABA also serves as a resource for government agencies, members of Congress, and public service organizations about APAs in the legal profession, civil rights, and diversity in the courts.

Meet Lu Jun, Human Rights Lawyer from China

Meet Lu Jun, Human Rights Lawyer from China

From AALDEF: 2014 Justice in Action Awards

March 26, 2014 – Mari Matsuda, Professor of Law at University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Aasif Mandvi of The Daily Show, and John G. Chou of AmerisourceBergen Corporation were honored with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) 2014 Justice in Action Awards on March 25, 2014, at AALDEF’s 40th Anniversary Celebration.

Since 1987, AALDEF has presented the Justice in Action Awards to exceptional individuals for their outstanding achievements and efforts in advancing social justice.

The awards were presented by Charles Ogletree, Jr., Harvard Law School professor and former Justice in Action Award honoree and Judge Ida Chen, the first Asian American female to serve as a judge in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Juju Chang, Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC News Nightline, and Cindy Hsu, Emmy Award-winning anchor for CBS 2, were the co-emcees for the banquet of over 800 to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of AALDEF.

Among the guests at Pier Sixty in New York City were U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Karen Korematsu, the daughter of the late civil rights icon Fred Korematsu, and AALDEF founders Loida LewisArthur Soong, and Ira Glasser. Past Justice in Action Award recipients in attendance included Art ChongSandra LeungDon LiuParkin Lee, and Alice Young,

For the 40th Anniversary, AALDEF Executive Director Margaret Fung and Board president Tommy Shi shared the story of the creation of AALDEF 40 years ago. “Our first office was on the second floor of a tenement building in New York’s Chinatown,” said Fung. “We were passionate about our work and believed we could change the world one case at a time.”

Among the challenges ahead for the Asian American community, Fung pointed to the glass ceiling faced by many Asian Americans, the attack on affirmative action programs, the standstill of immigration reform in Congress, and the continuing struggles of human trafficking survivors and immigrant workers seeking to earn a living wage.

AALDEF client Hong-Mei Pang, now organizer of AALDEF’s undocumented youth group RAISE, spoke about the lack of options she had faced prior to garnering AALDEF’s legal representation and joining the movement for immigration reform. “My call to AALDEF became a turning point in my life,” said Pang.

Judge Ida Chen introduced honoree John Chou by thanking AALDEF “for recognizing John Chou for advancing the status of Asian Americans all over the country.” Chou said that by receiving the Justice in Action Award, he was “following in some really big footsteps.” He described AALDEF as representing “lawyers at their best.”

Former honoree Charles Ogletree Jr. introduced honoree Mari Matsuda as a “living legend.” Matsuda shared her advice for young people seeking to stand up for their beliefs. “If you were sitting still and doing nothing, you would get no pushback,” she said. “We need to do the work to make this a better, stronger country for everyone.”

The evening came to a close with honoree Aasif Mandvi taking a rare break from satire to describe the impact of his hit political comedy show The Daily Show on addressing racism and bias. “What AALDEF does in a real way, I do in a very small way, by pointing out the absurdity,” he said.

Past Justice in Action Award recipients include Rep. John LewisDavid Henry HwangFareed ZakariaBD WongSandra LeungMira NairDeval PatrickGeorge Takei,Salman RushdieSeymour HershHarry BelafonteMargaret ChoYoko Ono, and the late civil rights icons Fred Korematsu and Gordon Hirabayashi.


Photo Credit: Lia Chang


Photo Credit: Corky Lee


Please join the Asian American Federation, Coalition for Asian Children and Families, and their membership agencies in meeting the top 3 Mayoral candidates.  Because of scheduling challenges, they are scheduling each candidate individually for 1 hour to hear each candidate’s vision for the city, the growing APA population and how he hopes to engage our community. 

The first meeting is Thursday, October 17th  at 2 pm at the Federation office, 120 Wall Street- 9th Floor. 

They are confirming the meeting with Joe Lhota for the following week.  Details will be sent out.

The format for all these meetings will be a roundtable discussion to learn more about his platform and will also give our community an opportunity to ask questions.  

As the leading social justice voices for New York City’s APA community, AAF and CACF encourage you to make the time to join them to hear what each candidate has to say so we can all be informed New Yorkers.  There will also be an opportunity for participants to ask questions of the candidate.  If there are specific issue areas that you have questions about, please send AAF and CACF the topics that you would like to discuss so that they can ensure that they will be able to cover as many diverse issues as possible.

They will be sending out additional information next week, but please RSVP to [email protected] or [email protected] as soon as possible.