NAPABA Applauds Nomination of Neomi Rao to D.C. Circuit

On November 14, 2018 the White House nominated Neomi Rao to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The nomination follows President Trump’s announcement of Rao during the White House Diwali celebration yesterday. If confirmed, Rao would be the first Asian Pacific American woman and the second South Asian American to sit on the D.C. Circuit. The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) applauds the announcement and encourages the Senate to swiftly confirm her. 

“Neomi Rao is an experienced public servant and legal thinker,” said Daniel Sakaguchi, president of NAPABA. “Respected amongst her peers, she has the temperament to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Her nomination represents a historic step forward for representation of Asian Pacific Americans and women on the bench.” 

Rao is currently the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. A national expert in the area of administrative law, she is a tenured professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School and founder of the Center for the Study of the Administrative State. She previously served in the Office of the White House Counsel and as a staffer for the Senate Judiciary Committee.

ACLU-NJ’s New Executive Director is Amol Sinha, Jersey-Raised Civil Rights Advocate

Sinha, an attorney who directed state campaigns at the Innocence Project
and led NYCLU’s Suffolk County Chapter, will head NJ’s ACLU affiliate

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Contact:
Allison Peltzman, Communications Director, 973-854-1711 (office), 201-253-9403 (cell)
Keerthi Potluri, Communications Strategist, 973-854-1702

The ACLU-NJ today announced that Amol Sinha has been named as executive director. The Jersey City resident, who most recently led state advocacy campaigns to address wrongful convictions nationwide at the Innocence Project, will start on September 1.

He knows exactly what he’ll do in his first 100 days: a lot of listening.

“In the first few months, my plan is to travel across the state, listen to the needs of people here, meet with as many organizations, community groups, and people as possible, and make the ACLU completely accessible,” Sinha said. “I want people across the state to know that we’re here as a partner, to collaborate together to make New Jersey better and more welcoming than it already is.”

For Sinha, who grew up in Lawrenceville, taking the helm is a homecoming, not just to his home state, but to an organization that has always anchored him. Sinha’s first role as a newly minted lawyer – after interning for the national ACLU while a student at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law – was as director of the Suffolk County Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union. He said the job posting had an unforgettably fluid yet empowering description: “Be the face of the NYCLU.”

Approaching the responsibility with great pride, he transformed the Suffolk County Chapter into an advocacy powerhouse, making inroads with unexpected allies like the Suffolk County Police Department and Sheriff’s Office. The chapter, working with partners, convinced Suffolk County to stop honoring Obama-era immigration detainers – although that policy has been rolled back, a reminder that no battle for liberty stays won, no matter the administration. Under Sinha’s leadership, the chapter successfully defeated unconstitutional policing and surveillance schemes and investigated public schools that prohibited immigrant students from enrolling. The ACLU-NJ has done similar investigations of public schools and taken legal action as a result.

“The Board of Trustees is thrilled to welcome Amol Sinha to the ACLU-NJ family as our new Executive Director,” said ACLU-NJ Board President Deb Guston. “We expect Amol will bring both his passion for civil liberties, civil rights, and social justice, and his knowledge as a longtime New Jersey resident, to continue to move the ACLU-NJ forward.”

Sinha takes the helm at a time of significant growth for the ACLU-NJ, which recently added an immigrants’ rights attorney, staff attorney, and several legal fellows. The ACLU-NJ plans to fill the role of public policy director soon after Sinha starts as executive director, and the organization is currently accepting applications. (Read the policy director job posting, as well as other open positions, at www.aclu-nj.org/careers.) This growth coincides with new challenges in today’s social and political climate that call for greater vigilance.

“One quality of the ACLU I most admire is its inexhaustible capacity to remain principled, yet evolve to confront the ever-changing threats to our liberties, as we have seen this year,” Sinha said. “Crucially, the struggles for racial justice and the principles of free speech – both so fundamental to New Jersey communities – can be reconciled, and in this climate, they must. It may be complicated, but the ACLU does not shy away from complexity. We’re in it for the long haul.”

The ACLU-NJ role merges what Sinha described as his two passions: advocating for constitutional rights and New Jersey.

Sinha’s childhood in the Garden State was integral to his passion for civil rights. The son of Indian immigrants who came to America in the early 1970s, Sinha vividly recalls a persistent feeling that he couldn’t quite articulate. He has always been proud of his roots, but as with many first-generation Americans, struggled to find the right balance of identities. While finding comfort in New Jersey’s growing diversity, he witnessed interactions growing up that indicated some people viewed him and his family differently because of their immigrant South Asian roots. Such incidents often rolled off his parents’ backs. But for him, it was an introduction to larger injustices faced by many groups.

“The issues South Asian communities face are emblematic of civil rights issues – immigrants’ rights, racial justice, religious freedom, economic injustice, language access, gender-based discrimination, LGBT issues, and biased policing all impact South Asian communities in significant ways,” Sinha said.

“New Jersey has the largest proportion of South Asian residents of any state, so it’s meaningful for a member of that community to lead our state’s ACLU,” Sinha added. “But, I truly believe in unity and breaking barriers across communities. I want every community and every person in New Jersey to know they can call on the ACLU as a resource.”

Sinha is the first person of color to lead the ACLU-NJ and one of the first South Asian executive directors of an ACLU affiliate. Maya Harris, who led the ACLU of Northern California from 2006 to 2009, was the first person of South Asian descent to lead a state ACLU affiliate.

“Working for the ACLU never actually feels like work,” Sinha said. “It is truly a privilege to defend the rights of the people, and it aligns perfectly with my own principles and moral compass. I’m excited to come back home and have people across the state fall in love with the ACLU, just like I did.”

AABANY congratulates Amol Sinha, SABANY President-Elect, on this new position. We look forward to hearing great things from him as executive director of ACLU-NJ and we are pleased to be working with him as a leader of SABANY, one of our sister bar associations.

AAARI-CUNY Lecture Series: We Too Sing America

From the Asian American / Asian Research Institute (AAARI) at the City University of New York (CUNY):

Please join us for a talk on, We Too Sing America – Deepa
Iyer in Conversation with Zohra Saed, on Friday, March 18, 2016, from 6pm to
8pm, at 25 West 43rd Street, 10th Floor, Room 1000, between 5th & 6th
Avenues, Manhattan. This talk is free and open to the general public.

Author and nationally renowned activist Deepa Iyer, in
conversation with Brooklyn based Afghan American poet Zohra Saed, will discuss
her book We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants
Shape Our Multiracial Future.

Many of us can recall the targeting of South Asian, Arab,
Muslim, and Sikh people in the wake of 9/11. We may be less aware, however, of
the ongoing racism directed against these groups in the past decade and a half.
In We Too Sing America, Deepa Iyer catalogs recent racial flash points, from
the 2012 massacre at the Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, to the violent
opposition to the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and to the Park 51
Community Center in Lower Manhattan.

Iyer asks whether hate crimes should be considered domestic
terrorism and explores the role of the state in perpetuating racism through
detentions, national registration programs, police profiling, and constant
surveillance. She looks at topics including Islamophobia in the Bible Belt; the
“Bermuda Triangle” of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim hysteria; and the
energy of new reform movements, including those of “undocumented and
unafraid” youth and Black Lives Matter.

Deepa Iyer is an activist, writer, and lawyer with a strong
commitment to intersectional, community-based, racial justice issues in the
United States. The former Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading
Together (SAALT), Deepa is currently the Senior Fellow at the Center for Social
Inclusion where she provides analysis, commentary and scholarship on how to
build equity and solidarity in America’s changing racial landscape.

Zohra Saed is a Brooklyn based Afghan American poet. Her
poetry and essays have been published in numerous anthologies and journals.
Zohra is a doctoral candidate at The City University of New York Graduate
Center. As a Lecturer, she initiated the following courses at Hunter College:
Arab American Literature; West Asian American Literature and Film; and Central
Asian Film and Literature.

To RSVP for this talk, please visit
www.aaari.info/16-03-18Iyer.htm. Please be prepared to present proper
identification when entering the building lobby.

If you are unable to attend the talk, it will be live
webcasted on our website, www.aaari.info,
beginning 6:15PM EST, and also available the following week as streaming
video and audio podcast. See you on Friday!

Navigating Model Minority Stereotypes: Asian Indian Youth in South Asian Diaspora

Please join us for a talk on, Navigating Model Minority Stereotypes: Asian Indian Youth in South Asian Diaspora, by Rupam Saran, on Friday, March 11, 2016, from 6pm to 8pm, at 25 West 43rd Street, 10th Floor, Room 1000, between 5th & 6th Avenues, Manhattan. This talk is free and open to the general public.

Though Asian Indians are typically thought of as a “model minority”, not much is known about the school experiences of their children. Positive stereotyping of these immigrants and their children often masks educational needs and issues, creates class divides within the Indian-American community, and triggers stress for many Asian Indian students. In her new book, Prof. Rupam Saran examines second generation (America-born) and 1.5 generation (foreign-born) Asian Indians as they try to balance peer culture, home life and academics. It explores how, through the acculturation process, these children either take advantage of this positive stereotype or refute their stereotyped ethnic image and move to downward mobility.

Focusing on migrant experiences of the Indian diasporas in the United States, this volume brings attention to highly motivated Asian Indian students who are overlooked because of their cultural dispositions and outlooks on schooling, and those students who are more likely to underachieve. Prof. Saran highlights the assimilation of Asian Indian students in mainstream society and their understandings of Americanization, social inequality, diversity and multiculturalism.

Rupam Saran is an Associate Professor of Education at  Medgar Evers College/CUNY. Dr. Saran’s book with co-author Dr. Rosalina Diaz, Beyond Stereotype: Minority children of immigrants in urban schools, analyzes the effect of stereotyping on the school experiences of children of new immigrants. Recent journal publications include articles in Journal of Urban Learning, Teaching, and Research, In the South Asian Diaspora, The Hispanic Educational Technology Services (HETS) Online Journal, and The Anthropologist.

To RSVP for this talk, please visit www.aaari.info/16-03-11Saran.htm. Please be prepared to present proper identification when entering the building lobby.

If you are unable to attend the talk, it will be live webcasted on our website, www.aaari.info,  beginning 6:15PM EST, and also available the following week as streaming video and audio podcast. See you on Friday!

ORGANIZATIONAL STATEMENT: NAPABA Stands Up Against Anti-Muslim Hate and Bigotry

Today,
NAPABA will convene with members of the Asian Pacific American
community at the National Japanese American Memorial to stand in
solidarity with the Muslim, Sikh, Arab, and South Asian American
communities. This rally is in response to anti-Muslim hate and rhetoric
that has increased following recent terrorist attacks.

Below is NAPABA’s organizational statement:

The
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) — together
with 34 fellow member organizations of the National Council of Asian
Pacific Americans — stands with its members and in solidarity with all
Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian American communities to oppose
anti-Muslim hate, bigotry, and xenophobia and calls on the American
people and allied groups to do the same.

Fourteen years ago, NAPABA came together with members of the Asian
Pacific American (APA) community to denounce anti-Muslim hate and
violence in the days following the 9/11 attacks. Sadly, a resurgence of
that same kind of hate and xenophobia has prompted the APA community and
NAPABA to again speak out against anti-Muslim sentiment.

In recent weeks and months, hate crimes committed against Muslim
Americans and those perceived to be Muslim have increased at an alarming
and unprecedented rate. Since the Paris attacks, there has been an
average of two attacks against Muslims every day in the U.S.

Xenophobic and divisive rhetoric from political candidates, elected
officials, and other public figures have helped to promote an
environment of fear, suspicion, and hatred for Muslims in America. This
fear and suspicion has led to unfounded and unfair targeting of Muslims
and individuals perceived to be Muslim engaging in unthreatening
behavior — such as speaking Arabic at an airport, wearing a turban to a
football game, or simply having black or brown skin — which can
normalize anti-Muslim violence and threats and make them more likely to
occur.

Recent terror attacks — including those in Paris and San Bernadino — are
no excuse for violence or prejudice against the Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and
South Asian Americans, who are contributing and valuable members of
NAPABA and our nation. We must refuse to be guided by stereotypes, fear,
and mistrust. We must stand up against anti-Muslim hate, bigotry, and
xenophobia and help make this country a better place for all of us.

NAPABA encourages its members and affiliates to show solidarity with the Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian American communities. We
hope that you will be the voices of tolerance through your actions to
support your neighbors, respond to acts of hate, and denounce rhetoric
that encourages discrimination and profiling. We encourage you to look for community-based resources and campaigns to become strong partners and advocates in this effort to denounce anti-Muslim hate.

From our friends at the SABANY Pro Bono Clearinghouse, here is a great pro bono volunteering opportunity coming up:

SABANY Pro Bono Clearinghouse will be partnering with the Office of the NYC Public Advocate for an upcoming immigration legal clinic.  Without amazing PBC volunteers, we would not have the capacity to reach our community and serve them, so thank you so much.

What: Immigration Legal Clinic for South Asians
When:  August 9, 2014
Time: 12-4pm (can volunteer for 2 hour slots)
Where:  PS 69 located at 77-02 37 Ave. Queens, NY (Near the E,F,M,R, and 7 trains).
Need: Immigration and Criminal Law Attorneys (please let us
know if you speak a South Asian language though not required)

A bit of an overview, the workshop is a session for members of the South Asian community to learn the basics of current immigration laws, available public services, interacting with law enforcement, and understanding their civil rights.  Our attorney volunteers will be giving a quick 10-15 minute consultations over a 4 hour period.  The program will begin with a short overview of the following:

 Criminal

  • Your rights regardless of their immigration status.
  • How to speak to the FBI/DHS/NYPD/Joint Task force
  • Your rights at the border
  • Trigger language to use if stopped by the NYPD or JTF unit
  • Home/work visits
  • Immigration consequences of your criminal convictions

Immigration 

  • Requirements of filing for US citizenship
  • Immigration options if you are out of status
  • Agencies that will serve you regardless of status
  • Current City legislative priorities or laws that related to immigrants (undocumented and documented)

It would be fantastic to have 6-10 attorneys on hand to help.  Please reach out if you are interested in volunteering at [email protected] with your name, phone number, practice area and language background.

PRESS RELEASE: NAPABA Celebrates Confirmation of Vince Chhabria to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 March 5, 2014

Contact: Emily Chatterjee                                                   (202) 775-9555

NAPABA Celebrates Confirmation of Vince Chhabria
to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

WASHINGTON — On March 5, 2014, the Senate confirmed Vince Chhabria by a 58-41 vote to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. He is the first person of South Asian descent to serve as an Article III judge in California’s history, and only the third South Asian American federal district court judge nationwide.

“NAPABA congratulates Vince Chhabria on his historic confirmation and is proud to have supported him in the nomination and confirmation process,” said William J. Simonitsch, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “We applaud President Obama, Senator Boxer, and Senator Feinstein for their continued commitment to diversity on the federal judiciary, and their support of this nomination.”

Since 2005, Judge Chhabria has served as a deputy city attorney in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, where he is the co-chief of appellate litigation. Prior to public service, Judge Chhabria spent several years working in the private sector in San Francisco. After law school, he clerked at all three levels of the federal courts, including clerkships with Judge Charles R. Breyer on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Judge James R. Browning on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and for Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Chhabria has distinguished himself during his career, receiving honors from the California Daily Journal, the International Municipal Lawyers Association, and NAPABA. He is a longstanding member of SABA-NC, an affiliate of NAPABA, which has strongly supported Chhabria’s nomination.

Judge Chhabria’s confirmation increases the number of active Asian Pacific American Article III judges to 22 nationwide: 4 federal appellate court judges and 18 federal district court judges.

Three more Asian Pacific American Article III judicial nominees are pending in the U.S. Senate: Manish Shah, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois; Indira Talwani, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts; and Theodore Chuang, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. NAPABA urges the Senate to move quickly to confirm these well- qualified individuals.

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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 over 40,000 attorneys and 67 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service 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.

AAF: New York State Senate and Assembly Districts Highlight the Growth and Diversity of Asian New Yorkers

AAF Logo 3
 
PRESS RELEASE

Friday, October 25, 2013
For Immediate Release 
Contact: Jo-Ann Yoo
(212) 344-5878, x217
 
New York State Senate and Assembly Districts Highlight
the Growth and Diversity of Asian New Yorkers
 

New York, NY—Today, the Asian American Federation released briefing papers that detail the Asian population, ethnic breakdowns and the major Asian languages spoken in the State Senate and Assembly districts in New York City based on new lines finalized in May 2012.  The briefing papers examine the 65 Assembly districts and 26 Senate districts in New York City. 
 
According to Asian Americans of the Empire State:  Growing Diversity and Common Needs, published by the Asian American Federation earlier this year, New York State is home to the second largest population of Asian Americans.  “While the fastest population growth and the newest communities are in the upstate region, most Asian American New Yorkers live in the New York City metro area,” said Howard Shih, Census Programs Director at the Federation.  “The Asian American community is culturally and economically diverse. 
 
Some of the key highlights from the briefing papers are:
  1. For the first time, one State Senate district is majority Asian.
  2. Three Assembly Districts are now majority Asian, up from only one in 2002.
  3. Chinese is the most spoken language other than English in 5 Assembly Districts and 3 Senate Districts.  Korean is the most spoken language other than English in one Assembly District (District 26).
  4. The second most commonly spoken Asian language group consists of the languages of the fast-growing South Asian population.
“Asian American communities throughout our city are growing and thriving, adding to the rich cultural diversity that makes New York such a wonderful place,” said State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose district includes Manhattan’s Chinatown.  Speaker Silver’s district, historically one of the oldest Asian enclaves in the City, is home to almost 60,000 Asian Americans.  “These profiles are valuable tools that allow elected officials to keep track of the demographics of the constituencies we represent,” added Speaker Silver. 
 
According to the Assembly district briefing paper, District 40 in Flushing has the largest Asian population, followed by District 25 in Northeast Queens.  In District 40, 64% of the population is Asian.  “This briefing paper is a tool for elected leaders because it is so important to know what ethnic groups we are serving in our different Assembly districts, and base our services and communications on the needs of different groups.  As the only Asian American elected to a state office and the prime sponsor of Data Disaggregation bill, data breakdowns like this enable the state leaders to provide better access to the services that our constituents deserve.  I will personally be promoting this tool and sharing it with my colleagues in the New York State Assembly so that we can continue to have stronger connections with our state’s growing Asian American community,” said Assemblymember Ron Kim (D. 40). 
 
“By providing information on the diverse and growing communities across the city and in individual districts, we move one step closer to making state government accessible to everyone it serves. I look forward to working with all the great groups serving the Asian American community to ensure even greater language access to public information,” said Assemblymember Nily Rozic, who represents District 25 which has over 67,000 Asians, or 54% of total population.
 
On the State Senate side, the district with the largest Asian population is District 16 in Flushing Queens, represented by Senator Toby Ann Stavisky.  District 16 has over 176,000 Asians, making the district 55% Asian.  “This paper by the Federation highlights one of the most fascinating parts of my district—our incredible culture of diversity and inclusion.  I am glad that New Yorkers of all backgrounds, from the Chinese population in Flushing to the South Asian population in Jackson Heights and the Korean population in Murray Hill have decided to call Queens home.  I remain committed to ensuring that my constituents have in-language assistance to services, civic participation access, and other opportunities to have a stronger voice in their community.  This insightful research helps me better understand and better serve all of the people of the 16th district,” said Senator Stavisky.
 
District 11 had the second largest Asian population, with over 1 in 3 residents who are Asian.  The third largest Asian population is District 26, which encompasses Lower Manhattan’s Chinatown.  24% of the population in District 26 is Asian.  Upon review of the briefing paper, Senator Daniel Squadron remarked, “As New York’s Asian American population continues to grow, it’s critical that the community has real partners and a real voice in government.  This report only underscores how important that partnership is, on everything from language access in education and government to protecting small businesses.” 
 
“In a few months, the 2014 election cycle for state offices will begin.  We hope these briefing papers are tools for elected leaders to reach out and engage the Asian Americans living in their districts.  Oftentimes, outreach to our community is overlooked, but having tools like these that show the breakdowns of the top languages in New York City’s state assembly and senate districts, as well as the disaggregation by the top 19 Asian languages spoken in each district, will better equip our leaders to engage residents.  In turn, these papers will facilitate community leaders and advocates to show that our civic voice is growing and that we need to better connect with our elected officials to offer our expertise, ask for help and support,” said Cao K. O, executive director of the Federation. 

 

 http://www.aafederation.org/cic/briefs/NYCAssembly2012.pdf

 
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