Justice Denied: Wards Cove Packing v. Atonio

On June 23rd, the Filipino American National Historical Society hosted their 16th Biennial Conference, A Pinoy State of Mind: Building Our Roots at John Jay College. We were proud to join the National Filipino American Lawyers Association, the Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York and the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Oregon in presenting Justice Denied: Wards Cove Packing Co. v. Atonio. In the 1970s, led by Filipino activists, workers in Alaskan canneries organized and filed class actions against unfair and discriminatory working conditions that had prevailed for decades against Asian American cannery workers. Although the Filipino workers lost their case before the United States Supreme Court, their efforts led Congress to pass an amendment to the Civil Rights Act in 1991 to achieve equal treatment and justice for workers of color. The reenactment cast wonderfully brought this tragic history back to life. 

At the end of the re-enactment, several former Alaskan cannery workers attending this event stood up and shared their personal experiences with audience. The audience gave them a round applause. The story telling compelled many audience members to reflect on how much that generation had suffered and how much history has progressed. 

Thank you to Connie Montoya and FALA New York for organizing this important session during the FANHS Conference. Thank you once again to Hon. Chin and Kathy Hirata Chin for once again leading a successful reenactment. For those wanting to learn more about this historical reenactment, please visit: http://reenactments.aabany.org/justice-denied-wards-cove-packing-v-atonio/

Write-up by AABANY Intern Claudia Shi.



The 2014 NAPABA Convention took place from November 6 through 9 in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the Westin Kierland Spa and Resort, and AABANY was there.

Many AABANY members and leaders spoke on or served as moderators or program chairs for various NAPABA and NAPALSA panels, including: Christopher W. Chan, Vincent T. Chang, Hon. Pamela K. Chen, Theodore K. Cheng, Hon. Denny Chin, Francis H. Chin, Kathy Hirata Chin, Sylvia Chin, Marianne Chow, Andrew T. Hahn, Michael Kam, Jane Kim, Michael S. Kim, Naf Kwun, Jean Lee, Lauren Lee, Parkin Lee, Marvin Liang, Karen Lim, Linda Lin, Hon. Doris Ling-Cohan, Don H. Liu, Hugh H. Mo, Concepcion Montoya, Sapna Palla, Ivy Suriyopas, Vinoo Varghese, Helen Wan, Lawrence G. Wee, Jessica Wong, Michael Yap, Tsui Yee, Dwight Yoo and Rosemary Yu.

The NAPABA Best Under 40 Reception was held on Friday night, and AABANY member Ivy Suriyopas was among the recipients. Ivy is the Director of AADLEF’s Anti-Trafficking initiative, and we congratulate her on this well-deserved honor.

The AABANY Re-enactment Team, led by Hon. Denny Chin, Kathy Hirata Chin and Vincent Chang, performed “Justice Denied: Wards Cove Packing Co. v. Atonio” to a capacity room on Saturday morning, Nov. 8.

Lawson Huyhn and Kristina Lee of St. John’s University School of Law argued their way through several rounds of the Thomas Tang Moot Court competition, finishing second in the nation, winning top brief. Congratulations to Lawson and Kristina! Thanks to Francis Chin and Sam Yee for all their support and assistance of the teams in the New York region who took part in the competition.

The Installation Banquet took place on Saturday night. Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and founder of Define American, was the keynote speaker. The  newly-elected officers were installed at the dinner, and we congratulate them all and wish them the best of luck in leading NAPABA.

Congratulations to NAPABA for organizing yet another successful, productive and enjoyable Annual Convention. Hope to see everyone next year in New Orleans for the 27th Annual NAPABA Convention!