On October 25, 2022, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) celebrated its 33rd Anniversary with its Second Annual Founders’ Day Event at Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services’ (JAMS) space in the New York Times building in Manhattan. The annual event commemorates the founding of AABANY as a bar association in 1989 and honors the Founders who helped build the foundation for AABANY to become the largest diverse bar association in the country.
The Honorable Denny Chin, United States Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, gave remarks as the Founders’ Day keynote speaker. He spoke about AABANY’s early days and the fight for diversity and Asian representation in the legal profession. He recounted the challenges that he and his colleagues faced during his time as AABANY’s second president. He concluded by urging members not to rest on their laurels but to continue to fight for the needs of Asian Americans in the legal community. AABANY President William Ng also gave remarks while Hon. Marilyn Go, longtime AABANY member Hugh Mo, Executive Director Yang Chen, and many other AABANY leaders and members attended the celebration.
We would like to thank AABANY Board Member Chris Kwok and his colleagues at JAMS for hosting Founders’ Day, along with Membership Director Christopher S. Bae and the Membership Committee for organizing such a great event. AABANY is proud to have celebrated its 33rd anniversary with so many distinguished guests, and we look forward to celebrating our 34th next year at our Third Annual Founders’ Day Event.
On November 30, 2021, the New York State Bar Association presented the Bar Leaders Innovation Award in the Large Bar Association category to AABANY for its report A Rising Tide of Hate and Violence Against Asian Americans in New York During COVID-19. The award is presented to “recognize Bar Associations for adapting to the needs of their members and the community at large by introducing innovative programs, ideas, and methodologies that benefit everyone involved.”
The Dominican Bar Association (DBA) received an award in the Small Bar Association category in recognition of donating and delivering $10,000 worth of essential foods to at-risk families in the South Bronx. The award was accepted on behalf of DBA by the President, Doralyn De Dios.
A joint award was presented to the Muslim Bar Association of New York (MuBANY), in the Small Bar Association category, and Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA), in the Medium Bar Association category, in recognition of program collaboration for members and communities most affected by COVID-19. MuBANY and MMBA started an Affinity Bar Collective which brought together a coalition of about twenty affinity bars (including AABANY) to collaborate on assisting members and communities most affected by COVID-19. President of MuBANY, Sania Khan, accepted the award on behalf of MuBANY and President of MMBA, Anta Cisse-Green, accepted the award on behalf of MBBA.
In the Medium Bar Association category, the Immediate Past President, Paula Engel, accepted the award presented to the Onondaga County Bar Association for the Bond, Schoeneck & King Series on Race and Justice in Central New York. The series was created to provide legal and non-legal programming aimed at opening a respectful, constructive and healthy dialogue about systemic racism and unequal access to justice in the community.
Terry discussed AABANY’s journey on writing the report. In 2020, AABANY embarked on this report in response to the increase in anti-Asian racism and violence. AABANY began to take measures to combat these issues which included a call for local and national leaders to denounce hate crimes and putting on programs to teach attorneys about hate crime. AABANY started the report in mid-2020 and published the report in February 2021. The proposals for change included more education on the history of anti-Asian violence, discrimination, hatred and xenophobia; increased diversity and inclusion in law enforcement and government; and improved collection and classification of data on hate crimes. To advance the implementation of the Report’s proposals, AABANY has formed an Anti-Asian Violence Task Force, which remains active and involves participation by numerous AABANY Committees. Although anti-Asian violence accounts have faded from the media, the Task Force is continuing the fight to turn the tide of hate and violence against the AAPI community.
Terry thanked MuBANY and MBBA for reviewing early drafts of the report. He also gave thanks to Paul, Weiss for co-authoring the report. Yang urged attendees to donate to the Turning the Tide (T3) Project, a joint initiative with AALFNY.
The New York County Lawyers Association also received an award in the Large Bar Association category in recognition of the COVID-19 Resource Center for lawyers. In March 2020, NYCLA announced the launch of their COVID-19 Resource Center which provided new content on a daily basis, expanded CLE Tuition Assistance Program, and offered low cost and no-cost online CLEs. The award was accepted by NYCLA President, Vincent Chang, a former AABANY President (2007).
AABANY previously received the Bar Leaders Innovation Award three times. In 2019, AABANY was recognized for its Pro Bono Legal Advice and Referral Clinic program, a collaboration with AALFNY. In 2016, AABANY received the award for its Seventh Annual Fall Conference: Speak Up / Rise Up / Lift Up. In 2013, AABANY was recognized for its trial reenactment, IVA: The Myth of Tokyo Rose, Allegiance on Trial.
AABANY congratulates all recipients of the award and thanks the New York State Bar Association for this honor and recognition.
AABANY Executive Director Yang Chen and Board Director Chris Kwok were recently mentioned in the April 28, 2021 edition of The Spectator, the Stuyvesant High School newspaper, in an article titled “Alumni Association Hosts Community Discussion on Anti-Asian Violence.” Both alumni of the school, Chris (’92) served as the moderator and Yang (’83) was one of the speakers in the April 15 community discussion. Other panelists included Joanne Kwong (’93), President of Pearl River Mart; Soo Kim (’93), President of the Stuyvesant High School Alumni Association; U.S. Representative Grace Meng (’93); Seung Yu, Principal of Stuyvesant High School; and current Stuyvesant juniors Christopher Liu, Xiaoshen Ma, Laura Xia, and Alice Zhu. During the discussion, panelists shared with over 200 attendees their personal experiences with race and their opinions on the recent increase of hate crimes and racism against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
Yang presented the findings and solutions outlined in AABANY’s report on anti-Asian violence and spoke about how AABANY is supporting the AAPI community. He stated: “One thing we’re pushing hard on is to make sure the NYPD Asian Hate Crimes task force is being fully funded. We’re very much supportive of any effort by law enforcement to bring attention to this issue and we’re trying to put as much word out as possible especially to the Mayor’s office. Mayor de Blasio denounced Asian-American violence a year ago but we’re still waiting for someone who is arrested for the crime to actually face criminal sanctions for it.”
To read the full coverage of the program on The Spectator, click here.
William Ng, President-Elect of AABANY, was recently featured in Binghamton University’s April 2021 Alumni Newsletter. In the article titled “Alumnus Leads Bar Association, Combats Racism,” William discussed AABANY’s mission of ensuring meaningful participation of Asian Americans in the legal profession. He also highlighted AABANY’s leadership in addressing the rise of hate and violence against the Asian American community. As President-Elect, William looks forward to prioritizing fundraising and ramping up virtual programs to position AABANY for success in a post-pandemic environment. Speaking about his time at Binghamton, William ’04 credits his experience serving in the Student Association and as a Student Conduct Board Member to furthering his interest in law.
The newsletter also acknowledges other Binghamton alumni who have served or currently serve on the AABANY Board:
Yang Chen ’87, Executive Director
Linda Lin ‘00, Past President
William Wang ’00, Past President
Bobby Liu ’93, Former Board Member
Christopher Bae ’10, Secretary
Beatrice Leong ‘06, Membership Director
To read the full article on Binghamton University’s Alumni Newsletter, click here.
AABANY is excited to announce that Executive Director Yang Chen has been quoted by the Albany Law School in a newsletter sent out to admitted students.
Albany Law School wrote:
Law school offers incredible opportunities for learning and growth—both personally and professionally. And for those looking to expand their professional networks or boost their resumes, a bar association membership can be a great addition to coursework, extracurriculars, and journals.
It may sound like something you can only do after earning your J.D., but that’s not the case. Joining a bar association—an organization for legal professionals—at the student level has numerous benefits. Many organizations have specialized programming and offerings just for law students.
Want to know more? We spoke with representatives from several bar associations about some of the reasons for getting involved as a law student.
On October 21, AABANY Executive Director Yang Chen and Board Director Chris Kwok visited the High School of American Studies on the campus of Lehman College of the City University of New York, in the Bronx. The trip was arranged through Jonathan Halabi, a teacher at the school, and was done as part of the New York State Bar Association’s request to bar leaders to visit local high schools to speak about the Constitution and Citizenship as part of this year’s Constitution Day, which was marked on September 17.
Mr. Halabi gave Chris and Yang a tour of the school, which has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the number 6 high school in New York. He also introduced Chris and Yang to a number of the school’s faculty. Chris and Yang spoke to two classes of seniors about Korematsu v. United States to teach about the Constitution and Citizenship. Both classes had heard the name Korematsu and knew the basic facts and context of the case. Chris and Yang provided additional details about how Fred Korematsu fought for justice and ultimately had his wrongful conviction overturned. The students engaged Chris and Yang in thoughtful and well-informed discussion about Korematsu’s case and how it relates to the Constitution, citizenship and current issues facing immigrants and the nation.
The visit concluded with Chris and Yang being called into the principal’s office to meet with the school’s principal, Alessandro Weiss. Principal Weiss thanked Chris and Yang for coming in and speaking with the students. They talked about the possibility of returning to the High School of American Studies for future visits on other topics of interest to the students. AABANY looks forward to meeting again with teachers and students at the High School of Asian Studies, and we thank the school for its warm hospitality on the occasion of this first visit. (Thanks to Mr. Halabi for the photos.)
On March 20, 2019, our Membership Committee held its last Monthly Membership Happy Hour of the fiscal year at Karaoke City in Midtown Manhattan. A crowd of AABANY members and future members gathered to meet and mingle over drinks, delicious Korean food, and karaoke.
Both Brian Song, President-Elect, and Yang Chen, Executive Director, gave a shout out to David Sohn, Membership Director and Membership Committee Chair, for all his hard work in putting together the Monthly Membership Happy Hours as a unique way to let prospective members learn about AABANY.
We thank the Litigation Committee and the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee for co-hosting this successful happy hour, with more than 30 attendees. If you are not already a member, we hope your attendance brings you closer to becoming a member or renewing your membership. And thanks to all the members who came out.
Check out the link above for a video from NTDTV which reported on AABANY’s Prosecutors Committee 8th Annual Reception on June 9th, 2016. The segment featured Alexander Jeong (Justice of the New York State Court of Claims, Deputy Administrative Judge, New York City Criminal Court) and Diane Gujarati (Deputy Chief, Criminal Division, United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York).
Executive Director Yang Chen, along with Kin Ng and James Lin from the Prosecutors’ Committee, appear on camera to offer a few thoughts about the event.
A photo posted by AABANY (@aabany) on May 15, 2016 at 12:58pm PDT
AABANY was at the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans (CAPA) 2016 Festival, and though there was a little rain in the morning, people still turned out in droves! Thanks to Yang Chen, Chris M. Kwok of the Issue Committee, Charles Chen of YLC Committee and Thalia Huang of GSPI Committee who manned the tables. There were 40 organizations represented at the Festival, and we were able to outreach to the Asian American community about AABANY’s pro bono initiatives.