Statement On S. 937 COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act

For Immediate Release: Date: April 22, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

Today, the United States Senate, in an overwhelmingly 94-1 bipartisan vote, passed S. 937, the “COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act” introduced by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI).  This legislation requires that the U.S. Department of Justice designate a point person whose sole responsibility is to facilitate the expedited review of hate crimes related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, the legislation recognizes a “COVID-19 hate crime” as an act of violence motivated by the actual or perceived relationship to the spread of COVID-19 of any person based on their race, ethnicity, age, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. The Senate-passed legislation also incorporates the Jabara-Heyer No Hate Act which increases resources for hate crimes reporting and assistance for victims of hate crimes.

“NAPABA congratulates the Senate for passing this important legislation, and Senator Hirono for her leadership on this issue,” said NAPABA President A.B. Cruz III. “This bill squarely addresses one of the root causes of the increase in hate crimes and bias-motivated incidents being committed against the Asian American community – the dangerous rhetoric and falsehood that somehow Asian Americans are responsible for the COVID-pandemic. NAPABA is committed to ensuring justice for hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents committed against the Asian American community, and looks forward to swift passage in the House and enactment into the law.”

NAPABA believes this bill will help state and local law enforcement to better investigate and record hate crimes and hate incidents and prosecute them where appropriate. The legislation also requires the Department of Justice to issue guidance on establishing online hate crimes and hate incident reporting in multiple languages, and to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to issue guidance on best practices to mitigate discriminatory language in describing the COVID-19 pandemic.  In response to the surge in attacks against Asian Americans in the wake of the pandemic, NAPABA in partnership with the APIA Health Forum have produced a hate crimes reporting toolkit – translated into 25 languages and English – the single largest collection of different AAPI-language materials assembled, that provides basic and critical information for victims, community based organizations, and community leaders. 

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of approximately 50,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American 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 color in the legal profession.

AABANY Statement on the Verdict in the Trial of Derek Chauvin

In the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor in 2020, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) expressed solidarity with the Black community. On April 20, 2021, a jury in Minneapolis convicted Derek Chauvin on all counts in the killing of George Floyd. AABANY recognizes this guilty verdict as only a first step towards fighting for a future where justice prevails. AABANY acknowledges the longstanding history of systemic injustice faced by the Black community, and we realize how far we all need to go to build a better, more equitable society. This trial should stand as a significant marker of a pivotal point in our history in which police accountability and racial justice emerge as important measures of how our democracy has made progress.

AABANY’s theme this year is “Uniting for Justice and Equity.” As we work to promote diversity, equity and inclusion, and continue our struggle against racism, discrimination, xenophobia, and hate crimes, AABANY stands steadfast in its solidarity with the Black community. When the justice system fails to protect the civil liberties and human rights of the Black community, everyone suffers. Together, we must raise our voices against injustice and call for overdue reform in the criminal justice system.

MNAPABA and NAPABA Statement on the Verdict in the Trial of Derek Chauvin

For Immediate Release: Date: April 20, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

Over the past year, in the wake of the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, amongst others, MNAPABA and NAPABA expressed their support of and solidarity with the Black community in Minnesota and across the nation.  Today, a jury in Minneapolis has convicted Derek Chauvin on all counts charged in the killing of George Floyd. MNAPABA and NAPABA acknowledge the pain and anguish of the Floyd family and the Black community, and we recognize this is but one chapter in the ongoing endeavor to improve accountability, training, integrity, transparency, and improvement of this country’s criminal justice system as we have called for in NAPABA’s Resolution in Support of the Black Community.

At this critical inflection point in race relations in the United States, and as our own communities face a surge in reported hate crimes and bias-motivated incidents, MNAPABA and NAPABA reiterate their commitment to stand in solidarity with the Black community in Minnesota and across the nation in our shared goal of combating racism, discrimination, hate crimes, and other forms of bigotry. NAPABA recognizes the long history of systemic inequality faced by the Black community in this country and reaffirms its resolution calling for accountability and improving standards of professionalism and conduct in law enforcement. NAPABA has called for building trust between law enforcement and communities of color including by promoting diversity, inclusion, and better training for law enforcement. Community and government leaders must work together to create that trust and fairness in the legal system by combatting bias and safeguarding civil rights, civil liberties, and access to justice for all. While there remains much more work to be done, we hope this outcome helps the country heal and put greater faith in the rule of law.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of approximately 50,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American 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 color in the legal profession.

AABANY Board Director Chris Kwok Continues to be Widely Cited on Anti-Asian Violence

On March 16, Chris Kwok, AABANY Board Director, AABANY Issues Committee Chair, and Co-Executive Editor of AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence, was featured on WGN Radio’s Legal Face-Off podcast. Hosts Tina Martini and Rich Lenkov interviewed Chris and SmithAmundsen Partner Gary Zhao on the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes across the United States. In the podcast, Chris explained that Asian Americans have become the scapegoat of the pandemic due to the increased stress that society has faced during COVID-19, the geo-strategic competition between Asia and America, and the discovery of the first COVID-19 cases in Wuhan, China. From the police to the public at large, Chris stated that we must hold perpetrators of anti-Asian violence accountable for both the harm and fear it engenders. Americans, especially district attorneys, must educate themselves on how Asian Americans experience race. At the end of the interview, Chris noted that “sometimes revolutionary change is hard and we need to push towards it.” To listen to the full interview segment on the podcast, click here and go to timestamp 14:16-25:42.

On March 17, The Asian American/Asian Research Institute (AAARI) at The City University of New York (CUNY) quoted Chris in its statement against anti-Asian hate. AAARI echoed Chris’s assertion that charging pandemic-related violence against Asian Americans as hate crimes “would have sent a signal that this was unacceptable and that if you were going to target Asian Americans, there would be consequences.” To read AAARI’s full statement, click here.

On March 18, MetroFocus interviewed Chris following the Atlanta spa shootings that claimed the lives of eight people, six of whom were Asian women. Chris criticized the way in which law enforcement and the media have deracialized this tragedy by framing it as a product of sexual addiction rather than the historic fetishization of Asian women. That the shootings have not been charged as hate crimes also reinforces Chris’s belief that Asians, as “honorary whites,” face the burden of proving that they have experienced discrimination. Chris hopes that the Atlanta shootings will continue to serve as a “moment of reckoning” for Asian Americans nationwide to share their experiences with race, challenge the divisive model minority myth, and build a more harmonious multiracial society. To listen to the full interview on PBS, click here.

On March 19, Medill Reports Chicago published an audio clip in which Chris described how recent acts of anti-Asian violence have led him to fear for his own safety and the safety of his family. Speaking of his wife, Chris said, “I’d like for her to go about daily life without fear of harrassment and discrimination and that she be a full citizen without having to prove herself in any way.” To read the article and listen to the full audio clip, click here.

Also on March 19, the Daily Mail invoked the AABANY report’s finding that the ongoing surge in anti-Asian attacks has not elicited a corresponding increase in prosecutions. The article quoted Chris’s assertion that “we don’t know a single prosecution, either on the criminal side or civil resolution. It’s difficult to tell people that you exist. We’ll continue to do that until that’s no longer needed.” To read the full article, click here

On March 26, Chris was interviewed by Yuntong Man from The Pulse on Radio Television Hong Kong in a segment on anti-Asian violence and racism in the United States. Chris stated that Asian Americans are not usually seen as subjects of racism and hate crimes, and because of this, there needs to be a “whole degree of education that the district attorneys in America at any level need to have.” Prosecutors and local government need to be accountable and demonstrate that it is not okay to commit acts of anti-Asian violence. To view the full interview segment, click here.

Here are some news stories that have quoted Chris Kwok from other interviews:

“Son of Atlanta Shooting Victim Calls Accused Shooter’s ‘Sex Addiction’ Claim ‘Bull****’” By Inside Edition Staff, March 19, 2021, Inside Edition, https://www.insideedition.com/son-of-atlanta-shooting-victim-calls-accused-shooters-sex-addiction-claim-bull-65606 

“Will Asian Americans ever be accepted as Americans?” By Kara Schroeder, March 19, 2021, China Daily, http://epaper.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202103/19/WS6053f0a0a31099a234354c6d.html 

“Meghan McCain retracts defense of Donald Trump calling COVID ‘the China Virus’” By Brian Niemietz, March 22, 2021, New York Daily News, https://www.nydailynews.com/snyde/ny-maghan-mccain-donald-trump-john-oliver-sorry-china-virus-20210322-nrxuq6afhbemnbigg7j2rd2dt4-story.html 

“Anti-Asian Hate Crime Crosses Racial and Ethnic Lines” By Masood Farivar, March 24, 2021, Voice of America, https://www.voanews.com/usa/anti-asian-hate-crime-crosses-racial-and-ethnic-lines 

“Lawmakers Want To Reform Hate Crime Laws. Will That Actually Ease Attacks On Asian Community?” By Anna Lucente Sterling, March 29, 2021, Spectrum News NY 1, https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2021/03/29/lawmakers-want-to-reform-hate-crime-laws–will-that-actually-ease-attacks-on-asian-community- 

Here are some news stories that have mentioned AABANY’s report:

“Arrested suspect in US spa killing spree ‘said he wanted to eliminate his sex addiction’” By An Wentzel, March 18, 2021, Daily Maverick, https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2021-03-18-arrested-suspect-in-us-spa-killing-spree-said-he-wanted-to-eliminate-his-sex-addiction/ 

“Resources to Support Asian Communities in New York City and Beyond” By ALL ARTS STAFF, March 18, 2021, ALL ARTS, https://allarts.org/2021/03/resources-to-support-asian-artists-communities-new-york-city-and-beyond/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20210322 

“A Tipping Point for Asian American Lawyers?” By Vivia Chen, March 19, 2021, Bloomberg Law, https://news.bloomberglaw.com/business-and-practice/a-tipping-point-for-asian-american-lawyers 

“Queens College President Confronts Violence Against Asian Americans” March 19, 2021, The Brian Lehrer Show, https://www.wnyc.org/story/queens-college-president-confronts-violence-against-asian-americans/ 

“急増するアジア系米国住民への差別や犯罪。在米日本人に聞く「今」” March 24, 2021, Yahoo Japan, https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/2a8e18a07b2b766f143f4559860073e9dc3e1fbd 

“Anti-Asia Marak di Amerika, Kecemburuan Ekonomi Penyebabnya?” By Bogordaily.net, March 24, 2021, Bogordaily.net, https://bogordaily.net/2021/03/anti-asia-marak-di-amerika-kecemburuan-ekonomi-penyebabnya/ 

“Second thoughts about being an Asian American” By Nikkie Salgado, March 25, 2021, MercatorNet, https://mercatornet.com/second-thoughts-about-being-an-asian-american/71082/ 

Please also take a look at previous blog posts from February 19March 1March 8, and March 15 highlighting news stories about our report. If you have come across a news report or article about our report that is not listed above, please let us know at main@aabany.org.

More public awareness about our report and the rise in anti-Asian violence is needed. Please share our report widely. If you have ideas or thoughts about how we can combat anti-Asian violence, please share them with us at main@aabany.org.

NAPABA | Statement on Executive Orders

For Immediate Release: Date: January 21, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

Reversing the Muslim Ban, Restoring DACA, and Promoting Diversity

WASHINGTON—The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) supports the efforts by President Biden to repeal the Muslim Ban, to preserve Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion—values important to NAPABA, as outlined in the Executive Orders he signed yesterday.

“We applaud President Biden’s initial executive orders that specifically address many of the key issues that NAPABA cares about and has been advocating on,” said A. B. Cruz III, president of NAPABA. “We are encouraged by the Administration’s steps today to promote religious tolerance by reversing the Muslim Ban, fortify the DACA program to better protect DREAMers, and commit to promoting racial equity for all Americans. We look forward to working with the new administration on policies that meaningfully support and advance our community.”

NAPABA and our affiliated bar associations opposed the Muslim Ban, including filing amicus briefs in the Supreme Court. NAPABA supports the DACA program and efforts to find a bipartisan solution for the status of the undocumented in the country.

NAPABA congratulates President Biden and Vice President Harris on their historic inauguration.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of approximately 50,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity in government and the judiciary on the local, state, and federal levels, 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.

NAPABA | Statement On Violence at the U.S. Capitol

For Immediate Release: Date: January 6, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) strenuously condemns the violent actions and defiant breach of both security and safety at the U.S. Capitol by militants. Critical cornerstones of our Constitutional democracy are the peaceful transition of power within our government and the right of citizens to peacefully protest. Neither violence nor the threat of violence is at all acceptable and has no rightful place here. We call on the Administration, all elected officials, public servants, and all Americans to denounce the violence we witnessed today, support efforts needed to quiet the unrest, demand it cease immediately, and cause an immediate return to our foundational principles of a peaceful democracy and the rule of law.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of approximately 50,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American 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 color in the legal profession.

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.

Press Release: NAPABA Statement on the Harvard Admissions Case

For Immediate Release
October 2, 2019
For More Information, Contact:
Navdeep Singh, Policy Director
202-775-9555; nsingh@napaba.org

WASHINGTON – Late yesterday, Judge Allison D. Burroughs of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts issued a ruling that upheld the use of race conscious admissions in Students For Fair Admissions v. Harvard. NAPABA applauds the Court for reaffirming that (1) diversity remains a critical and compelling interest for universities to achieve; and (2) the consideration of race as one of many factors in a holistic admissions process is a permissible means to evaluate an individual student’s application.

“The ruling makes clear that it is vital for students to be able to share their whole selves when applying to college,” said NAPABA President Daniel Sakaguchi. “NAPABA is encouraged that the Court upheld the principle of holistic, race-conscious admissions, recognized that race continues to matter in people’s daily lives and experiences, and eloquently underscored the importance diversity in education. While the Court found Harvard did not engage in intentional discrimination against Asian American applicants, NAPABA also supports continuing efforts by colleges and universities to improve their admissions processes, including work to recognize and address implicit bias, so that all parts of a thoughtful and holistic admissions system work together to ensure that all students have equal opportunities free from discrimination.”

NAPABA supports efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in education and the consideration of race as part of a holistic, individualized admissions process.

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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 50,000 attorneys and over 80 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.

NAPABA Condemns the Separation of Children and Parents at the U.S. Border – National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

NAPABA Condemns the Separation of Children and Parents at the U.S. Border – National Asian Pacific American Bar Association