On October 11, 2022, to recognize National Coming Out Day, over 40 members of the bar “came out” to celebrate the diversity within the LGBT, Asian American, and South Asian communities with the LGBT Committee of the Asian American Bar Association of New York and Allen & Overy LLP. After a 2 year hiatus from in-person events, LGBT Asian American and South Asian attorneys in corporate, commercial, government, and public interest practice gathered to build peer-support and expand their network. View the scenes from the reception below as we celebrated the growing diversity and inclusivity of our communities by building our networks and peer support.
For Immediate Release: June 15, 2022
Contact: Mary Tablante, Associate Strategic Communications & Marketing Director
WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden nominated Roopali H. Desai to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. If confirmed, Desai would be the first South Asian American appellate judge on the Ninth Circuit.
“NAPABA congratulates Roopali H. Desai on her historic nomination to the Ninth Circuit,” said A.B. Cruz III, acting president of NAPABA. “Ms. Desai is a highly respected attorney, with nearly two decades of experience and a strong commitment to public interest. Her broad range of legal experience, representing both plaintiffs and defendants—including state agencies and municipalities, unions, corporations, elected officials, non-profit and public interest organizations, membership/professional organizations, individuals, and hospital and health care institutions, will be a welcome addition on the appellate court.”
Desai is a partner in the litigation group at Coopersmith Brockelman, PLC in Phoenix, AZ. She also serves as a professor of practice at the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law. Earlier in her career, Desai clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for Chief Judge Mary M. Schroeder. She is endorsed by NAPABA’s affiliate the Arizona Asian American Bar Association. Desai received her Juris Doctor, Master of Public Health, and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arizona.
NAPABA thanks President Biden for nominating Roopali H. Desai and Senator Sinema and Senator Kelly for recommending and supporting her nomination.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA communities. Through its national network, 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 all backgrounds in the legal profession.
Released February 8, 2022
Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director
WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is proud to announce that the Open Society Foundations has selected it to receive funding for boosting civic participation in Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and Muslim, Arab, and South Asian (MASA) communities.
Leveraging and organizing our power, strength in numbers, geographic diversity, and in-language reach of NAPABA’s nearly 90 affiliated AAPI bar organizations and their members, our community is able to make a difference. Our goal is to equip our members with the tools to increase AAPI engagement in voting through non-partisan voter registration, election protection, and voter education.
“Open Society Foundations’ support of NAPABA builds upon our strategic plan to increase AAPI engagement and empowerment nationwide, especially as our communities continue to grow. The five-year grant will be instrumental in ensuring that NAPABA has the resources to bolster the ability of our affiliated bar associations to reach local communities around the country and support a sustainable investment in creating engaged AAPI communities,” said A.B. Cruz III, acting president of NAPABA. “We are grateful for their support in building a stronger voice for the AAPI community.”
In December 2021, Open Society Foundations announced its investment of $42.5 million over five years to AAPI and MASA communities to engage in nonpartisan efforts. The investment is part of the foundation’s 10-year campaign to build and protect a multiracial democracy.
The Open Society Foundations grant is the fifth grant over the last year that NAPABA has been awarded to advance the work of its programs.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA communities. Through its national network, 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 all backgrounds in the legal profession.
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.
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
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.
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!
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!
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:
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
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.