Asian-American legal organizations to provide pro bono services to victims of anti-Asian hate crimes –

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photo by Jason leung to Unsplash

Leading US civil rights and law organizations will provide pro bono legal services and resources to victims of anti-Asian hate.

The Alliance for Asian American Justice (The Alliance) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA) have announced their services amid the increase in incidents since the start of the pandemic.

The Alliance will launch the national pro bono legal initiative by providing legal consultations, advice and representation in several Asian languages, mainly Cantonese, Mandarin, Tagalog, Korean, Vietnamese and Thai.

Advancing Justice – LA will offer monthly clinics and workshops on housing, citizenship and immigration rights, as well as free witness intervention training.

“I have spoken to members of the community who are afraid to leave the house, to go for a walk, to go to the grocery store,” Connie Chung Joe, general manager of Advancing Justice – LA, said on Tuesday at the meeting. ‘a press conference. May 18. “Asian Americans are more afraid of hatred against them than of the pandemic.”

Joe said the organization has received several reports of Asian immigrants whose families have been assaulted in recent months and their problems receiving appropriate assistance due to language and cultural barriers. Interpreter services have been shown to dramatically improve services for non-English speakers, but some public service organizations such as the DMV have attempted to eliminate 25 language options from driver’s license tests. Lack of language access prevents non-English speakers not only from learning about policies and laws, but also from reporting incidents, according to Joe.

The mayor of Buena Park, Pro Tem Sunny Park, also highlighted the importance of language accessibility in services for people with limited English proficiency, especially with education awareness. Hospitals are a place where interpreters are essential, as those with limited fluency in English find it difficult to understand medical jargon and instructions that are not in their native language.

“We have victims who have to face medical and legal proceedings on their own,” Park said.
Some initiative partners will also provide financial support in addition to pro bono legal resources, such as DLA Piper. Financial support will be provided to the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), two of the organizations that will directly provide legal services to victims.

In order to see what action to take if someone has been the victim of an anti-Asian hate crime and would like to consult a pro bono lawyer, NAPABA has a resource page on what to do and how to report a hate crime. to the organization. Advancing Justice-LA has a page for reporting a hate incident or hate crime and a calendar page for training webinars on topics such as witness intervention, conflict de-escalation, and how to respond to harassment.

Alliance board member Brian Sun said the underreporting of anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents prevents public and judicial authorities from seeing the scale of the problem.

” We need to talk. Because if you don’t speak, there’s nothing we can do about it.
Those responsible for the initiative are aware that this won’t solve the problem if AAPI hates it, but they are committed to providing assistance where they can.

“It’s not a nine-to-five job,” Los Angeles City Council member Mark Ridley-Thomas said at the press conference. “It not only affects the Asian American community, but all of us.”

People of Asian descent have been discriminated against for centuries, with the first recorded act of xenophobia in American history being the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, a 10-year ban on Chinese labor immigration. Asian Americans have also historically been conditioned as “perpetually strangers,” which has led them to be viewed as threats to the country.

“It won’t take overnight, but we’ll get there,” Sun said. (Caroline Giovanie / AJPress)

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