Press Releases

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  • 26 Apr 2017 2:38 PM | Anonymous

    April 26, 2017

    The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) has joined 42 Asian Pacific American bar associations in the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s (NAPABA) amicus briefing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to support the preliminary injunction of President Trump’s March 6, 2017, revised executive order barring individuals from six Muslim-majority countries and refugees from entering the United States.

    The Trump Administration’s appeal in the Ninth Circuit case, State of Hawaii v. Trump, arises from the first legal challenge to the revised executive order, which was brought on March 7 on behalf of the State and Ismail Elshikh, Imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii. On March 15, Judge Derrick K. Watson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii granted the temporary restraining order, which he converted into a preliminary injunction on March 29 to extend the block on the travel and refugee restrictions. The Ninth Circuit will hear argument in the case on May 15.

    The lawsuit in the Fourth Circuit, International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump, was brought on March 10 by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Maryland and the National Immigration Law Center in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on behalf of HIAS, the International Refugee Assistance Project, the Middle East Studies Association and individuals, including U.S. citizens, impacted by the Muslim ban. U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang issued the injunction on March 16. The Fourth Circuit will hear argument in the case on May 8.

    “The unprecedented involvement in this amicus brief across NAPABA’s national network speaks of our collective investment in ensuring this executive order is permanently struck down by the courts,” said NAPABA President Cyndie M. Chang. “Asian Pacific Americans have historically been targeted by exclusionary laws, giving us first-hand perspectives on the harms this order inflicts upon Muslim and immigrant communities. NAPABA’s community has stepped up to strongly oppose this attack on core American rights and values.”     

    The amicus brief filed in both cases describes decades of statutory exclusion of people from Asian and Pacific Island countries under early U.S. immigration law, including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 — the first federal law to ban a group of people on the basis of their nationality. The Civil Rights Era marked a dramatic turning point that saw Congress dismantle nationality-based discrimination with the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. The brief explains that presidential discretion in the area of immigration and refugee admission, while broad, is limited by statute. NAPABA argues that President Trump’s revised order, with its anti-Muslim underpinnings, violates the unambiguous prohibition against discrimination established by Congress.

    “AABA is proud to join NAPABA and our sister bar organizations in this amicus brief against the discriminatory Executive Order, ” said AABA President Miriam Kim. “The revised Executive Order, just like the prior order that was struck down by the Ninth Circuit, bears a painful resemblance to historical bans on Asian immigration. We will continue to work to do everything we can to ensure that the order is permanently struck down. We stand with the immigrants, refugees, and families impacted by the order.” 

    AABA is one of the largest Asian American bar associations in the nation and one of the largest minority bar associations in the State of California. From its inception in 1976, AABA and its attorneys have been actively involved in civil rights issues and community service. AABA is an affiliate of NAPABA, the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of almost 50,000 attorneys and approximately 75 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 is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities.


  • 05 Apr 2017 3:42 PM | Anonymous

    April 5, 2017

    San Francisco –  The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) stands with Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye of the California Supreme Court in demanding that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly cease the practice of stalking and arresting undocumented immigrants in California’s courthouses. We share the Chief Justice’s concern that such stalking and arrests are jeopardizing the ability for courthouses to serve as a vital forum for ensuring access to justice and protect public safety.

    On March 16, 2017, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye issued a letter to Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Kelly expressing concerns that courthouses were being used as “bait” in the enforcement of immigration laws.  “Our courts are the main point of contact for millions of the most vulnerable Californians in times of anxiety, stress, and crises in their lives,” wrote the Chief Justice. “Crime victims, victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence, witnesses to crimes who are aiding law enforcement, limited-English speakers, unrepresented litigants, and children and families all come to our courts seeking justice and due process of law.”

    In a joint letter, Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Kelly responded to the Chief Justice, defending the practice of making federal arrests in state courthouses. 

    “As attorneys, we know all too well that our judicial system depends on the cooperation of victims, witnesses and litigants,” said AABA President Miriam Kim. “The practice of making federal arrests of undocumented immigrants in state courthouses raises the risk that individuals will fear appearing in court.  When a victim of domestic violence or human trafficking fears testifying in court because of immigration enforcement tactics in courthouses, we undermine a court’s ability to ensure equal access to justice and protect public safety.”

    AABA recognizes that courthouses must be free and open to all people to ensure the equal and fair administration of justice. We support and applaud Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye’s admonishment of policies that undermine access to justice and public safety.

    For more information, contact AABA at info@aaba-bay.com.

    AABA has a long history of active involvement in civil rights issues and community service, and is dedicated to fostering the exchange of ideas and information among its members and the public. AABA is one of the largest local Asian American bar associations in the country, and counts lawyers, judges, law students, and community leaders among its members, representing the entire spectrum of political, social, and legal concerns in the San Francisco Bay Area.

  • 09 Mar 2017 10:15 AM | Anonymous

    March 9, 2017

    San Francisco, CA – The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area denounces the executive order released on March 6, 2017.  The revised Executive Order is premised on the misguided assumption that barring Muslims and refugees from entering the United States will increase national security. Although revised, this executive order has maintained the core unlawful elements of the earlier executive order that discriminate based on nationality and religion.  The original and now revised executive order will not enhance our national security, but instead will fuel anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiments at home and fuel anti-American sentiments abroad.

    The revised order will take effect on March 16, 2017.  Like the earlier order, the revised order bans refugees from entering the United States for a 120-day period and continues to impact individuals from six predominantly Muslim countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen).  Entry of nationals of these six countries is suspended for 90 days, with some exceptions. 

    The ban will not apply to certain individuals, such as lawful permanent residents and dual nationals who travel on their passports from non-designated countries. Certain visa holders and status holders will not be affected and waivers will be granted on a case-by-case basis.

     “The revised Executive Order, like the original one, is an attempt to effectuate racism and discrimination under the guise of ‘national security’ – a justification which bears a disturbing resemblance to the ‘military necessity’ used to justify the incarceration of Japanese Americans,” said AABA President Hung Chang.  “The revised order is yet another inhumane, unlawful attempt to discriminate against Muslims and immigrants, and it strikes against the core values of this country.”  

    AABA remains committed to standing up against discrimination and injustice. We applaud our members who are on the front lines advising refugees and immigrants affected by the Executive Order. 

  • 28 Feb 2017 11:24 AM | Anonymous

    February 28, 2017

    The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) grieves with the family of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was killed on February 22, 2017, at a restaurant bar and grill in Olathe, Kansas. According to multiple news articles, while he was dining out with his friend and colleague, Alok Madasani, a white gunman shouted racist and xenophobic remarks at them, such as “get out of my country” before the gunman fired multiple shots at them. A bystander who attempted to deescalate the situation, Ian Grillot, was also shot and injured by the gunman. We stand in solidarity with the victims' family, friends, and community, to seek justice for this senseless act of hate. And we give heartfelt thanks to the heroism of Mr. Grillot who stood up against hatred.

    AABA urges the District Attorney of Johnson County, Kansas and the U.S. Department of Justice to prosecute this brutal hate crime to the fullest extent of the law. “To call this crime for what it is – a hate crime -- is critical. It stokes fear and violence against immigrants and people of Muslim faith, and we must all stand up against it,” said AABA President Hung Chang. As a bar association founded over 40 years ago to serve the interests of Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys and the broader APA community, AABA understands the dangers of bias-motivated violence.  AABA calls all elected officials and its members to condemn all forms of hate crimes, bigotry, and xenophobia as completely inconsistent with this country's values of equality and justice.

  • 31 Jan 2017 12:10 PM | Anonymous

    January 31, 2017 - The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) denounces the Executive Order issued on January 27, 2017 that bans people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States for at least 90 days, suspends the admission of refugees for 120 days, and suspends the admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely. We join the seventeen state attorney generals who have called the Executive Order “unconstitutional and un-American” and have vowed to “work together to ensure the federal government obeys the Constitution, respects our history as a nation of immigrants, and does not unlawfully target anyone because of their national origin or faith.”  

    “The Executive Order is effectively a Muslim ban and threatens fundamental American values,” said AABA President Hung Chang. “We praise the lawyers who quickly descended on airports to help immigrants detained under the Executive Order, including children who were separated from their families.  We reaffirm our oath to support the Constitution, and pledge to stand with immigrants, refugees, and families affected by the Executive Order.” 

    As one of the largest Asian American bar associations in the United States and one of the largest minority bar associations in California, we know the dangers of discriminating on the basis of national origin or religion. In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act prevented Chinese laborers from entering the United States under penalty of imprisonment and deportation. In 1942, Executive Order 9066 permitted the mass incarceration of over 120,000 people of Japanese descent, the majority of whom were U.S. citizens, under the guise of military necessity.  After 9/11, our nation experienced a surge of xenophobia and members of our community faced an increase in hate crimes and incidents. We urge our nation’s leaders not to repeat these tragedies of American history. 

    As a bar association that includes refugees, we oppose efforts to reduce the number of refugees entering the United States. We know firsthand the importance of America’s leadership role in welcoming refugees fleeing violence, war, or persecution. Refugees already face a rigorous screening process, and we have witnessed how refugees have enriched our communities and culture.  

    AABA urges the President to rescind the Executive Order. We urge the Legislative branch to protect our great nation by performing its duty to serve as a check and balance to the Executive branch of government. We urge officers with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to comply with court orders staying the Executive Order and to ensure that all detainees have access to counsel. 

    We call upon our members to take action against the Executive Order:


  • 24 Oct 2016 4:40 PM | Anonymous

    A Joint Statement of API Bar Associations

    October 24, 2016 – On Friday, October 14, 2016, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office filed hate crime charges against the assailants of Maan Singh Khalsa, a Sikh American resident of Richmond, California. The undersigned Asian Pacific Islander bar associations were part of a coalition of organizations that condemned the brutal attack on Mr. Khalsa and urged the District Attorney’s Office to file hate crime charges.

    Mr. Khalsa, who is of South Asian (Punjabi) ancestry was the victim of an unprovoked attack on the evening of September 25 while stopped at a red light on his way home. His assailants targeted his articles of faith, knocking off his turban, hitting his face repeatedly, and deliberately cutting his unshorn hair with a knife. As a result of the attack, Mr. Khalsa sustained cuts on his fingers and hands that required stitches, a swollen black eye, and damage to his teeth that will require surgeries.

    “The prosecution of hate crime charges, where appropriate, ensures that we send a strong message that there is no place for bias and hatred in our country,” said Hung Chang, President of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area.  “We thank the District Attorney’s Office for its work on this matter, and we look forward to seeing the case prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

    As bar associations comprised primarily of Asian Pacific Islander legal professionals, we believe it is our duty to stand up against bias-motivated violence.  Targeting a Sikh’s turban and hair is analogous to targeting a Jewish or Muslim person because of his or her religious attire.  We must teach our children to respect the differences in all people, and set an example for the next generation that such acts are not to be tolerated in our diverse country

    “The District Attorney’s decision to charge hate crimes in this case is an important step in helping ensure that the civil rights of marginalized communities are protected,” said Vidhya Prabhakaran, Immediate Past President of the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California.

    Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area
    Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley
    Filipino Bar Association of Northern California
    National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
    South Asian Bar Association of North America
    South Asian Bar Association of Northern California


  • 12 Oct 2016 4:39 PM | Anonymous

    October 12, 2016

    The Asian America Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) joins a coalition of advocacy, civil rights, community, and faith-based organizations in expressing deep concern regarding the unprovoked attack on Maan Singh Khalsa on September 25, 2016 in Richmond, California. AABA believes that Mr. Khalsa was targeted and assaulted because of his actual or perceived ethnicity/race, religion, and nationality. AABA condemns the assault and urges Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson to investigate and file hate crime charges in this matter.

    Mr. Khalsa is of South Asian (Punjabi) ancestry and is visibly identifiable as Sikh because of his turban and unshorn hair and beard, which are religiously mandated articles of faith. On the evening of September 25, 2016, while driving home, Mr. Khalsa was victim of an unprovoked attack involving five to six white males in their late 20s and early 30s in a car near him. One of the men threw a beer can at Mr. Khalsa’s car, and the men began cursing at him. Later, three men exited the vehicle and attacked Mr. Khalsa through the open window, knocking off his turban, repeatedly hitting his face and cutting a fistful of his religiously-mandated hair. As a result, Mr. Khalsa sustained cuts on his fingers and hands that required stiches, a swollen black eye, and damage to his teeth that will require surgeries. Two suspects have been arrested, but the others have not been apprehended.

    The attack on Mr. Khalsa was not an isolated incident. Since September 11, 2001, Sikhs have been the victims of hundreds of crimes involving verbal harassment, damage to property, beatings, and even murder. Sikhs are disproportionately targeted for discrimination. For example, in November 2015, Balwinder Jit Singh, a turbaned Sikh Los Angeles County bus driver was called a “terrorist” and “suicide bomber” and violently assaulted. In September 2015, Inderjit Singh Mukker was viciously beaten in his car in a suburb of Chicago after being called racial slurs such as “Bin Laden.” In July 2014, Sandeep Singh, a Sikh man in New York City, was run over and dragged 30 feet after being called “Bin Laden” and a “terrorist.” Those crimes were charged as hate crimes.

    As one of the largest Asian American Pacific Islander bar associations in the United States and one of the largest minority bar associations in California, we believe it is our duty to stand up against bias-motivated violence. “AABA urges Contra Costa County District Attorney Peterson to file hate crime charges in this matter. Failure to do so will continue to compromise our nation’s freedoms and values and discourage marginalized communities from reporting acts of violence,” AABA President Hung Chang said.

    AABA further calls upon its members to speak out against hate crimes and bias-motivated harassment against Sikhs. As a community, we must send a strong message that bias and hate will not be tolerated.

    For more information, contact AABA at info@aaba-bay.com.

    AABA has a long history of active involvement in civil rights issues and community service, and is dedicated to fostering the exchange of ideas and information among its members and the public. AABA is one of the largest local Asian American bar associations in the country, and counts lawyers, judges, law students, and community leaders among its members, representing the entire spectrum of political, social, and legal concerns in the San Francisco Bay Area.


  • 05 Oct 2016 4:38 PM | Anonymous

    October 5, 2016

    AABA congratulates Bay Area attorneys Hung Chang, Kiran Jain, Kirupa Pushparaj, Manita Rawat, and Mansi H. Shah on being selected for the 2016 Best Lawyers Under 40 (BU40) Award by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). The BU40 Award recognizes talented individuals in the Asian Pacific American legal community who are under the age of 40 and who have achieved prominence and distinction in their respective fields, while demonstrating a strong commitment to the Asian Pacific American community at relatively early stages in their careers. Only 18 attorneys across the country were recognized with the BU40 Award this year.

    “This year’s class of BU40 Award recipients demonstrates the exceptional strength and diversity of our Bay Area legal community,” said AABA’s President, Hung Chang. “As an in-house lawyer who started his career at a video game startup shortly before the Great Recession, I am honored to be acknowledged with this distinguished group of BU40 Award winners representing Northern California. AABA is grateful to NAPABA for recognizing their achievements.”

    The BU40 Award will be presented on November 3, 2016, at the NAPABA Convention in San Diego. Below is the full list of recipients of the 2016 BU40 Award:

    • Mark K. Arimoto | Hawaiian Airlines
    • Hung Chang | Harman International
    • Anjan Choudhury | Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
    • John Thomas Fetters | Mills Meyers Swartling P.S.
    • Kiran Jain | City of Oakland
    • Edward T. (Ted) Kang | Alston & Bird LLP
    • Irene Kao | League of Minnesota Cities
    • Linda S. Lin | QBE North America
    • Van-Dzung V. Nguyen | Crowell & Moring LLP
    • Rajiv D. Parikh | Genova Burns LLC
    • Kirupa Pushparaj | Square Inc.
    • Manita Rawat | Duane Morris LLP
    • Yanin Senachai | Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles
    • Mansi H. Shah | Merchant & Gould LLP
    • Brian W. Song | Baker Hostetler LLP
    • Michael K. T. Tan | ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project
    • Nisha N. Vyas | Public Counsel
    • Greg Wu | United Airlines

    Please join us once again in congratulating Hung Chang, Kiran Jain, Kirupa Pushparaj, Manita Rawat, and Mansi H. Shah on receiving NAPABA’s BU40 Award. AABA looks forward to their future successes.

    For more information, contact AABA at info@aaba-bay.com.

    AABA has a long history of active involvement in civil rights issues and community service, and is dedicated to fostering the exchange of ideas and information among its members and the public. AABA is one of the largest local Asian American bar associations in the country, and counts lawyers, judges, law students, and community leaders among its members, representing the entire spectrum of political, social, and legal concerns in the San Francisco Bay Area.


  • 21 Jul 2016 5:33 AM | Anonymous
    By Kathy Aoki, Co-Chair of AABA Newsletter Committee
    June 21, 2016


    Victor Hwang remains cool, calm and collected after his victory in the June 7, 2016 election to become a San Francisco Superior Court Judge.

    Hwang photo_06212016

    “I was very relieved initially,” said Hwang. “Although we had worked hard and I felt confident that we would finish strong, as a first-time candidate I had no idea whether or not we would survive the night.  Over the course of the week, as our percentage has continued to climb with late voters and provisional ballots, the fact that we almost took 50% has caused some second-guessing as to whether we could have done something differently to win in June.”

    Hwang, who currently works as a deputy director at Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach (APILO), received more than 19,000 votes to his closest competitor Paul Henderson.

    Was Hwang surprised about the outcome?

    “My consultants had predicted we would finish in the high 40s so I think I was emotionally surprised but not intellectually surprised,” he said.

    What are Hwang’s plans as he moves forward to the election in November?

     “In the next few weeks we’ll be looking at voting turnout and patterns to see where we need to improve our outreach,” said Hwang.  “In July and August, I will be continuing to attend house parties where folks gather up a couple of friends to hear my message and consider donating to my campaign.  Beginning in August/September, we’ll crank up our field campaign again where we’ll go door to door to talk to voters and also pass out literature at transit stops. “

    Hwang has experience in civil and criminal law including working as a civil rights attorney and is well-known beyond the Asian American communities.  He has been involved in many community organizations and is a former president of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA).

    What has been the toughest part for Hwang of being a judicial candidate and going through the election process so far? 

    “Asking friends and community members to donate their time and money is the toughest part of the race,” he said. “Not having run for office before, I had no idea how costly it would be to get our message out.  We’ve spent nearly all of the money we’ve raised so far and now we have to start fresh.  I’m hoping folks will think about making a donation to the campaign.”

     “You have to be thick-skinned and you have to be willing to put yourself out there at all times,” explained Hwang, when he described what characteristics someone needs to have when deciding to pursue a political venture. “While in the heat of the campaign, I come into contact with 300-400 folks a day and most don’t have the time or interest to hear even a 10-second pitch- so there’s a lot of rejection involved.  After my first month of campaigning, I realized that it does take a lot of discipline and sacrifice to run for office and I donated to a friend’s campaign.  Even a small donation means a lot- it means someone else believes in your message and is willing to put something on the line.  I also take handouts now from all sorts of folks from religious people to the ladies in Chinatown passing out takeout menus.  Having one person take an interest in your work keeps you smiling through the next 7 rejections where they can’t even look you in the eye.”

    Hwang has learned that running a political campaign “takes a lot of sacrifice” and “it’s not an easy thing to do or to ask your friends to join.”  The political process has not only tested Hwang and his relationships but has also made him stronger as his quest to become a superior court judge continues.

    What are the most important things Hwang would like to contribute to our society if he is elected to become a superior court judge?

    “Within the courts, I hope to be a voice for accessibility for those who have been historically disenfranchised and excluded from our system. As a member of society, I hope to build a closer bond and understanding between our courts and our community so that I can increase transparency, trust, and faith in our system of justice.  And of course, I hope to be invited every year to swear in AABA’s new board of directors,” said Hwang.

  • 26 Jun 2016 8:36 AM | Anonymous

    June 26, 2016

    The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) congratulates Roger C. Chan on his appointment to the San Francisco Superior Court.

    Since 2009, Chan, 43, of San Francisco, has been executive director at East Bay Children’s Law Offices, a non-profit appointed by the court to represent children in the Alameda County juvenile and probate courts. He practiced dependency and delinquency juvenile law as a deputy public defender at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office for seven years and as an attorney at the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office for four years. Chan earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley.

    Chan, who is a gay Asian-American of Chinese and Korean descent, is an active member of AABA and serves on the AABA Public Law / Public Service Committee Leadership Advisory Council.

    “AABA applauds Governor Brown for appointing Roger Chan to the San Francisco bench. His extensive experience in juvenile delinquency, child welfare, criminal law, and other areas will make him a valuable addition to the courthouse. His background as a public defender also gives him a deep understanding of courtroom dynamics, particularly with underrepresented minorities. Roger’s appointment not only increases diversity on the bench, but also reinforces AABA’s commitment to promoting diversity of background and legal experience in judicial appointments.” stated Hung Chang, President of the Asian American Bar Association.

    For more information, contact AABA at info@aaba-bay.com.

    AABA has a long history of active involvement in civil rights issues and community service, and is dedicated to fostering the exchange of ideas and information among its members and the public. AABA is one of the largest local Asian American bar associations in the country, and counts lawyers, judges, law students, and community leaders among its members, representing the entire spectrum of political, social, and legal concerns in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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