NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Presents: Get Tested & Combat Anti-Asian Bias

On July 13, 2020, from 12:00-1:30 PM, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Partner Engagement Unit will be hosting a webinar on the Test & Trace Corps.

The Test & Trace Corps is an initiative to reduce COVID-19 transmission in New York City by providing guidance and assistance to people who have COVID-19 or are identified as having been exposed to the virus.

Speakers from the New York City Human Rights Commission (NYCCHR) and the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes (OPHC) will also provide resources to Asian Pacific Islander (API) communities to report anti-Asian bias and hate crimes that may occur as NYC continues to reopen.

Panelists will include Dr. Neil Vora from the New York City Health Department, Flora Ferng from NYCCHR, and Eunice Lee from OPHC.

Please send any questions for the panel to engagepartners@health.nyc.gov.

Mandarin and Korean Language interpretation will be available for this event.

Register for the webinar via https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_gUZ2JCDeRCaJ4c-vI0Uvcg.

SupChina CEO Webinar Series: Lorna Davis

On Thursday, June 11, SupChina will be hosting an installation of their CEO Webinar Series. Thursday’s discussion will be with Lorna Davis, former CEO of Kraft China and Danone North America. Davis, with more than 20 years of experience in the consumer goods industry, will be leading a conversation regarding COVID-19’s effects on the food business and food security in China.

The event will be moderated by the SC Johnson Professor in Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell University Johnson School of Business Christopher Marquis. 

To purchase tickets and find out more about the event please visit https://events.supchina.com/ceowebinarjune11/. AABANY members who plan on attending can get $10 off with a discount code; please email main@aabany.org if you are interested. 

AABANY Co-Hosts Webinar on Employment, Labor, and Safety Issues Related to Returning to Work During COVID-19

On May 27, 2020, the Labor & Employment Law Committee of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) co-sponsored an event with Littler and Alston & Bird–Silver-level sponsors of AABANY–addressing safety guidelines for returning to work during the pandemic. The presentation highlighted a variety of topics including re-opening guidelines for different industries, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, and various sick leave laws.

The webinar featured panelists Yoojin Deniro, Co-Chair of the Labor & Employment Committee of AABANY and Counsel at Advance Publications Inc., and William Ng, a Shareholder at Littler and founding Co-Chair of the Labor & Employment Law Committee. The event was moderated by William Lee, an Associate at Alston & Bird and AABANY member.

To begin, Yoojin Deniro explained that prior to re-opening, businesses must submit a Business Affirmation online and develop and post a Business Safety Plan, which must be retained on the premises and made available to the New York State Department of Health in the event of an inspection. The Business Safety Plan requires guidelines for physical distancing, protective measures (e.g.. providing face coverings to employees at no cost), hygiene and cleaning, communication, and health screenings. 

Next, William Ng discussed how individuals and businesses can make the most of PPP loans. The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, which is still pending before the Senate, is a bipartisan effort to fix problems with the PPP. If passed, the Act will allow forgiveness for expenses beyond the eight-week covered period; eliminate restrictions limiting non-payroll expenses to 25% of loan proceeds; remove limitations that constrain loan terms to two years; ensure full access to payroll tax deferment for businesses that take PPP loans; and extend the rehiring deadline to offset the effect of enhanced unemployment insurance.

In order to maintain a safe place to work, the panelists recommended that employers safely conduct temperature checks, which are permitted under the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) “direct threat” exemption. Temperature checks should be conducted by a trained and authorized individual with proper PPE, and symptomatic employees should be sent home in accordance with ADA confidentiality requirements. Employers are also urged to adopt other health screening protocols, including COVID-19 testing and creating health questionnaires. Moreover, employers must provide employees PPE at no cost, and offer necessary accommodations for employees with disabilities. Finally, individuals must continue to practice social distancing in the workplace and develop a comprehensive exposure control plan. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970, any confirmed cases of COVID-19 or other illnesses and injuries must be recorded.

The panelists also reviewed various sick leave laws, including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which provides Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Emergency Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits for employees unable to work due to quarantine or isolation orders related to COVID-19. The FFCRA also offers exemptions for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. New York State has also instituted Paid Family Leave, which grants paid leave for employees who must provide care for a minor dependent subject to a quarantine order. New York City offers Paid Safe and Sick Leave for employers whose business closed due to a public health emergency or who must care for a child whose school or child care provider closed due to a public health emergency. Lawmakers are also in the process of passing statewide New York Paid Sick Leave, which will apply to all employers and vary depending on the size and net income of the employer. Furthermore, in accordance with the ADA, employees can leave or request remote work if they engage in “cooperative dialogue” with their healthcare provider. Employer-specific policies also include Paid Time Off (PTO), sick leave, and personal or unpaid leave. 

We thank our colleagues at Alston & Bird and Littler for co-sponsoring and organizing this informative event with the Labor & Employment Law Committee of AABANY. We also thank the presenters, Yoojin Deniro and William Ng, and the moderator, William Lee, for their time. For more information on the Labor & Employment Law Committee, see https://www.aabany.org/page/398. If you are interested in volunteering with AABANY to assist with small businesses that have been adversely affected by COVID-19, please contact probono@aabany.org.

To watch a recording of the presentation, see the video above.

AABANY Solo and Small Firm Practice Committee Presents Webinar on Standards of Civility in the Courtroom

On May 28, 2020, the Solo and Small Firm Practice Committee of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) hosted a panel–“How to Woo Clients, Wow Judges, and Win Cases”–discussing professional conduct and standards of civility in the courtroom. The panel was also co-sponsored by the Litigation Committee and Judiciary Committee of AABANY.

The event, moderated by Bart Wu, Chair of the Solo and Small Firm Practice Committee of AABANY, featured panelists: Hon. Tanya R. Kennedy, Supreme Court Justice in New York County; Hon. Lizette L. Colon, Acting Supreme Court Justice in Kings County; and Hon. John Wang, a Housing Court Judge who is a fellow member of AABANY and currently running for Civil Court in District 1.

All panelists emphasized the importance of enforcing civil behavior in the courtroom. Judge Kennedy noted that engaging in civility allows litigators to work towards an effective resolution of the case and weed out unnecessary conduct that frustrates the case. Judge Wang added that standards of civility lift up the bar and the bench, and they help counteract negative perceptions that the public has about members of the bar–for example, that some attorneys are uncooperative.

Judge Colon warned panelists that when litigators engage in disrespectful behavior, they get a reputation for being rude and lackluster, not just to the judge, but also to the staff. Similarly, using condescending language, especially targeting an individual’s identity (for example, referring to a female court attorney as “young lady”), is unacceptable. Judge Wang also observed that courtrooms are now virtual due to COVID-19, and attorneys have difficulty adjusting to the new professional setting. They often sigh very loudly and make inappropriate facial expressions, and forget that they are still in a courtroom.

The judges advised attorneys, especially those who are inexperienced or younger, to study their case very well, research the judge and what they expect (such as reviewing the judge’s individual practice rules), and respect the authority of the court. Judge Colon suggested that attorneys get a summary sheet and review the basics of the case: what discovery is outstanding, if there are any motions, what the injuries or claims are, and what the policy is. Judge Kennedy encouraged panelists to ask their colleagues about what the judge is like in order to better understand the expectations of the judge. Judge Wang urged both seasoned and newer attorneys to respect humility and to not undermine the court’s authority by challenging the judge’s ruling in an unprofessional or inappropriate manner.

We thank the judges for their insightful comments and time, and Bart Wu and the Solo and Small Firm Practice Committee for organizing this event. This event fulfilled one hour of CLE credit in Ethics and Professionalism. For more information on the Committee, please see https://www.aabany.org/page/111.

Asian American Federation Hosts Community Upstander Training To Stop Anti-Asian Harassment

On Wednesday, May 27, 2020, from 1 PM to 3 PM, the Asian American Federation will be hosting an Upstander Training workshop to address the ways that xenophobia and scapegoating since the COVID-19 outbreak continue to rise, most consistently against Asian communities.

Through a presentation and interactive break-out groups, participants will explore opportunities and strategies to be “upstanders” during the current moment and help disrupt this wave of anti-Asian bias through safety interventions, de-escalation tactics, and calling-in strategies.

Register for this event at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/community-upstander-training-tickets-105204906708.

AABANY Hosts Panel Addressing Anti-Asian Violence and Hate Arising From COVID-19 (Korean)

On Sunday, May 17, 2020, the Pro Bono & Community Service Committee of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) hosted the Korean version of its webinar series, “Anti-Asian Violence and Hate Arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The presentation addressed the increase in violent incidents against Asians in the community and included a discussion of the rights that victims and bystanders have when a racially motivated confrontation occurs, as well as what actions rise to the level of a prosecutable offense.

The webinar featured moderator, Sean Dong Min Rhee, a Northeastern University law student, as well as two panelists: Kings County Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Pak and Naomi Jeehee Yang, an Associate at Paul Weiss.

During the presentation, Stephanie Pak explained what actions would constitute a hate crime (P.L. §240.30) and aggravated assault (P.L. §485.05) as set forth in New York Penal Law. She also gave examples of actions that would rise to a criminal level so that community members would be able to recognize incidents which they should report to law enforcement agencies or their local District Attorney’s office. Furthermore, Stephanie emphasized that when Korean victims are called Chinese during an assault, this does not invalidate the action from being prosecuted as a hate crime but rather makes the issue ripe for prosecution.

The other panelist, Naomi Jeehee Yang, shared information on who to contact during or after these incidents, as well as a few helpful tips that can help prosecutors and law enforcement. She stressed the importance of recording an incident because the evidence is often a key component in successfully prosecuting assailants. If this is not an option, it is important to call 911, as phone calls to police are recorded and can also be used as evidence during a criminal trial. Most importantly, Naomi spoke on the significance of reporting these anti-Asian episodes. If incidents are reported there will consequently be a more accurate number of cases in which Asians are being victimized in the community. This, in turn, increases the visibility of this issue and will spur action by government officials and policymakers – bringing about legislation or resources that can be helpful to the Asian community.

Thank you to our panelists, the excellent attorneys at Paul Weiss for their pro bono assistance, and our volunteers at the Pro Bono Committee for planning and organizing our Anti-Asian Violence and Hate Arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic webinars. We will have more community presentations on topics related to COVID-19 and its impact on the AAPI community this month. For more information on anti-Asian harassment and violence, email aabanyclinic@gmail.com, call our hotline at 516-690-7724, and check out the resources that AABANY has compiled at https://www.aabany.org/page/covid19.

View the video of the webinar by clicking on the image above.

AABANY Clinic Hosts COVID-19-related Anti-Asian Violence and Hate Webinar

On Wednesday, May 13, 2020, the Asian American Bar Association’s (AABANY) Pro Bono & Community Service Committee hosted the webinar, “Anti-Asian Violence and Hate Arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic.” This event addressed the increase in violent incidents against the Asian American community, and the relevant State and Federal laws for victims and witnesses of these hate crimes who seek to report them.

The webinar featured panelists David Chiang, Supervising Assistant District Attorney, Queens District Attorney’s Office; Joe Gim, Deputy Chief, Nassau County District Attorney; and Julia Kerr, Associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. Eugene Kim, a volunteer at AABANY’s Pro Bono Clinic, moderated the panel.

David Chiang, Supervising Assistant District Attorney, Queens District Attorney’s Office, discussed New York Penal Law § 240 and § 485, both of which elevate sentencing for bias incidents to the criminal level. Section 240, covering Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree, states that threats of physical violence based on the perception of race are considered as misdemeanors. Section 485, the Hate Crime Law, enhances sentencing for incidents proven to be motivated by bias.

Joe Gim, Deputy Bureau Chief, Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, advised victims and bystanders of anti-Asian hate crimes to record the crime by taking a video of the incident with their phones or calling 911. Doing so would not only preserve the evidence necessary to strengthen the case against the perpetrator but also publicize these hateful acts to highlight the prevalence of anti-Asian violence. Even if the victim is not willing to come forward, whether due to language barriers or distrust of law enforcement, bystanders can still report the crime. After preserving evidence and notifying the police, the police will file a Complaint Report, and the case will either result in an arrest or be handed off to prosecutors and end up in trial.

Julia Kerr, Associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, concluded the webinar by encouraging individuals to report incidents of anti-Asian violence to both government and non-governmental organizations to prevent future hate crimes. In addition to calling 911, victims and bystanders can also reach out to the New York State and New York City Hate Crime Task Forces, MTA Hotline, local District Attorney, and NY Attorney General’s Office. Other resources include AABANY, Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Communities Against Hate, Equality Watch, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Anti-Defamation League. 

We thank the panelists for joining us for this CLE program and Eugene for serving as the moderator. Look forward to more community presentations on COVID-19 and its impact on the APA community this month. For more information on anti-Asian harassment and violence, email aabanyclinic@gmail.com or call our hotline at 516-690-7724.

View the video of the webinar by clicking on the image above.

SupChina Webinar: Post-pandemic financial markets between the U.S. and China

SupChina is hosting their second CEO Webinar: Post-pandemic financial markets between the U.S. and China on May 21 from 9:00am to 11:30am EST. Tickets are $35 for AABANY members ($10 off); please email main@aabany.org for discount code.

  • Session 1 – China-Retail and Finance: David Chu (Chair, Georg Jensen), Lanlan Zhang (Vice-Chair, CICC US Securities), Bob Guterma (COO, SupChina)
  • Session 2 – Finance and US-China Relations: Anthony Scaramucci (former White House communications director, Managing Partner SkyBridge Capital), Ted Wang (CEO Puissance Capital Management and former Head of Global Trading, Goldman Sachs). 
  • Session 3 – China Economy and Geopolitics: Yukon Huang (Senior fellow, Carnegie Asia Program), Dorinda Elliott (SVP, Director of Programs and Center for Business at China Institute)
  • Session 4 – Dr. Walter Lipkin (Leading Epidemiologist at Columbia University and recognized for his work on the SARS outbreak), Dr. Kenneth Abrams (Deloitte, Chief Physician Executive).

NAPABA Webinar on Combating a History of Anti-Asian Discrimination: How to Protect the Asian American Community

A racist cartoon originally depicted in the publication, the San Francisco Wasp, in 1881. The cartoon was a parody of the Statue of Liberty and represented a growing fear of Asian immigrants within the United States

On Friday, April 3rd, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) hosted a webinar titled “Pandemic and Acts of Hate Against Asian Americans: From Past to Present.” The webinar traced the historical roots of Asian American discrimination related to disease and public health issues and presented solutions for the present in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The webinar featured a panel which included Professor Jack Chin of UC Davis Law School, Matt Stevens of The New York Times’s Political News division, Harpreet Singh Mokha of the Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service, and Rahat N. Babar, Special Counsel, Office of the Governor of New Jersey. Chris M. Kwok, the NAPABA Dispute Resolution Committee Co-Chair and our very own AABANY Issues Committee Chair, helmed the panel as moderator. 

Professor Chin began by outlining the extensive history of anti-Asian discrimination within the United States. He focused on how discriminatory legislation at the state level in California and at the national level through the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 frequently correlated Asian American immigrants with disease. In particular, Professor Chin noted how San Francisco became a focal point of race-based efforts to control the bubonic plague in the early 1900s. Multiple political attempts were made to isolate and discriminate against Asians in the city which were repeatedly rebuffed by legal challenges such as Wong Wai v. Williamson and Jew Ho v. Williamson. Professor Chin underscored the ugly but recurring theme pushed in American politics about the “foreignness of germs.”

Following the professor’s historical account, Matt Stevens, an Asian American political reporter for The New York Times, noted the efforts that legislators are making to combat these acts of discrimination. Moreover, he noted the pervasive feeling of fear that permeates the Asian American community.

Harpreet Singh Mokha, National Program Manager for Muslim, Arab, Sikh, South Asian, and Hindu (MASSAH) issues at the Community Relations Service of the DOJ, explained the role and function of CRS during this pandemic. Established under Title X of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, CRS, frequently called “America’s Peacemakers,” works directly with communities facing conflict on racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, religious, and disability issues. It has four primary functions: facilitating dialogue, mediating conflict, training community members, and providing consultation for methods of community assistance. Mr. Mokha noted that members of communities all across the country should be encouraged to make use of CRS’s resources and report hate crimes at their first occurrence. 

To wrap up the panel, Rahat Babar, Special Counsel for Litigation with the Office of the New Jersey Governor, echoed Mr. Mokha’s point to report hate crimes without hesitation. He noted a 2020 in-state report which found a 65% increase in bias incidents between 2018 and 2019 with 46% of those engaging in such bias incidents being minors. Thanks to this report, Governor Phil Murphy was able to set up a task force to explore why minors were engaging in such behavior. Mr. Babar notes that without a robust data set of incident or hate crime reports, lawmakers and community leaders will not be able to identify root problems or pose solutions. 

Overall, the panel outlined past and present cases of racial discrimination targeted towards the AAPI community. All panelists acknowledged the importance of speaking out during this time of uncertainty for the sake of protecting fellow community members both now and in the future. 

This event  reached the largest audience for a NAPABA webinar to date, with 160 registrants. The program stressed placing the events of today within historical understanding of America, engagement with our government institutions charged with enforcing our laws, and collaboration across civil society organizations. We at AABANY thank and acknowledge Chris Kwok for proposing this program to NAPABA and serving as moderator.

A racist cartoon published in San Francisco-based publication, The Wasp. The cartoon promoted then-common racist myths that Chinatown was riddled with disease.
A racist cartoon published in the illustrated San Francisco weekly “Thistleton’s Illustrated Jolly Giant” depicting San Francisco’s The Globe Hotel. The cartoon insinuates that the Globe Hotel secretly contained a “small pox hospital” and an “underground Chinese cemetery,” perpetuating racist stereotypes of the time.

In the Wake of Zero Tolerance–Best Practices for Representing Separated Parents and Children Webinar

In the Wake of Zero Tolerance–Best Practices for Representing Separated Parents and Children Webinar