AABANY will be co-sponsoring three film screenings with Asian CineVision for the 2019 Asian American International Film Festival this summer. These three film screenings include:
Jeff Adachi, the Sam Francisco Public Defender and filmmaker who passed earlier this year has been a pioneer in the justice system and API cinema. To celebrate his legacy, two of his documentaries will be shown, along with a tribute by Corey Tong and John Woo before the screening.
Seadrift follows the story of what begins as a dispute over fishing territory into an eruption of violence and hostility against Vietnamese refugees along the gulf coast. Seadrift examines a shooting of a white crab fisherman by a Vietnamese refugee, and its aftermath, which continues to reverberate today.
AABANY’s reenactments site also has information on Vietnamese Fishermen v. Ku Klux Klan, which is the trial that ensued from these conflicts in Seadrift, TX.
Shorts: Identities is a series of eight documentary shorts which all tackle the question: “What does it mean to be Asian, to be a part of the Asian Diaspora?” These shorts confirm that there is no singular answer to this question, and cover topics as wide-ranging as Cambodian doughnut shops (Doughnuts for Dollars) to the young Harvard student who started the non-profit, PERIOD org (Period Girl).
The screening for A Tribute to Jeff Adachi will be held at the Museum of Chinese in America, while the Shorts: Identities and Seadrift screenings will be held at Regal Essex, Theater B.
Please click the links to register and learn more about the films. AABANY members will receive a discount code once they register for the event on the AABANY website.
For more information on the AAIFF, click here.
The Vietnamese Fishermen v. The Ku Klux Klan
Thank you to Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP for sharing the video of AABANY’s APA Heritage Month event, a trial reenactment on May 11, 2016 of Vietnamese Fishermen v. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan!
Special thanks to Kathy Hirata Chin of Cadwalader who led the trial reenactment with her husband Judge Denny Chin and provided this video of the event.
The Cadwalader Asian Pacific American Attorney Resource Group and the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) presented a historical reenactment of the Vietnamese Fisherman v. the Ku Klux Klan. Members of AABANY, Cadwalader attorneys and the Honorable Denny Chin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit told the story of the Vietnamese Fisherman fighting to stop the Klan’s campaign of violence & intimidation, through reenactment of court proceedings, narration and historic photographs.
The Problem With Calling Out Judges for Their Race
In a June 5 article in the Atlantic by Garrett Epps, who teaches constitutional law and creative writing for law students at the University of Baltimore, the author commented on the controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s criticism of Judge Curiel because of his race by citing the 1998 case of Macdraw Inc. v. CIT Equipment Financing. That case is notable for the fact that the Hon. Denny Chin, then the only Article III United States District Judge east of the Mississippi, presided over it.
In response to an unfavorable decision against the plaintiff, plaintiff’s counsel filed a brief in which they questioned Judge Chin’s impartiality on account of his race. Responding to this point, Judge Chin wrote: “This sentiment is absurd and demeans me individually and the Court as a whole.” He then sanctioned plaintiff’s attorneys by requiring them to withdraw from the case and banning them from appearing before him in any future matter. He also directed the court clerk to report this sanction to every court in which plaintiff’s attorneys held bar membership.
On appeal to the Second Circuit, Judge Chin’s ruling was upheld in strong terms. Chief Judge Ralph Winter wrote: “Courts have repeatedly held that matters such as race or ethnicity are improper bases for challenging a judge’s impartiality.”
The article goes on to cite the case of the Vietnamese Fishermen against the Ku Klux Klan, without realizing that this latest AABANY Trial Reenactment was led by Judge Chin. In that case, the Ku Klux Klan sought to disqualify Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, the first African American appointed to the Federal bench in Texas, on the grounds that she would not be impartial in a case in which the Ku Klux Klan was the defendant. Judge McDonald denied the motion from the bench, stating: “You are not entitled to a judge of your choice. You are entitled to a judge who will give you a fair trial. I am deeply committed to equal justice under the law and you will get it. You are entitled to nothing more and nothing less.”
In the three decades since the Vietnamese Fishermen case, we are still confronting race-based attacks against judges, which is indeed a sad state of affairs. We thank Judge Chin for standing up against this type of racism back in 1998 and for his continuing to teach all of us that these kinds of attacks against judges and the judiciary are improper, inappropriate and intolerable.
To read the full article, click the link in the title.
To learn more about the Vietnamese Fishermen trial reenactment, click here. For more information about the AABANY Trial Reenactments click here.
On Saturday, Nov. 7, the AABANY Trial Re-enactment Team, led by Hon. Denny Chin and Kathy Hirata Chin, took to the stage at the NAPABA National Convention to perform “Vietnamese Fishermen v. KKK.” Set in the aftermath of the Fall of the Saigon, when Vietnamese immigrants arrived in the Gulf Coast and became fishermen, the case recounts their experience as targets of terrorizing tactics from the Ku Klux Klan designed to drive them out. The Vietnamese fishermen fought back with a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction against these actions.
The AABANY Trial Re-enactment Team played to a capacity crowd that was fully engaged from start to finish. The cast included no less than seven Past Presidents of AABANY: Hon. Denny Chin, Andy Hahn, Vincent Chang, Yang Chen, Robert Leung, Jean Lee and Clara Ohr.
During the post-performance discussion, one of the audience members stated that he was a young boy in New Orleans during the time of the events being re-enacted, and he appreciated learning about the case. He also shared that over the past three decades, progress has been made to improve relations between Asian Americans in the local fishing industry with the general community of fishermen in the Gulf Coast.
The Vietnamese Fishermen re-enactment is the ninth case presented by the AABANY Trial Re-enactment Team. Thanks to Judge Chin and Kathy Chin for leading us in yet another successful and impactful trial re-enactment. Stayed tuned for information about the New York premiere.
In the meantime, save the date for the re-enactment of last year’s “Justice Denied: Wards Cove v. Atonio” at the New York City Bar Association on Dec. 7. Free for AABANY members. To register go to http://bit.ly/wardscove120715.
- Janicelynn J. Asamoto
- Vincent T. Chang
- Yang Chen
- Theodore K. Cheng
- Francis H. Chin
- Andrew T. Hahn, Sr.
- Kathy Hirata Chin
- Jean Lee
- Lauren U.Y. Lee
- Robert Leung
- Hon. Kiyo A. Matsumoto
- Concepcion A. Montoya
- Clara J. Ohr
- Vinoo Varghese
- Jessica C. Wong
- Michael Yap
The slideshow presentation featuring historical photographs is courtesy of David Weinberg of Jury Group. Thank you!
(Thanks to AABANY Program Associate Simone Nguyen for photos from the rehearsal and performance.)