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Open Letter from CABA President

March 26, 2021

Dear CABA members and friends:

Asians in the U.S. are experiencing increased fear and anxiety as animosity and violence toward us have grown over the past year, and continue to rise. In the last two weeks especially, many of those in our community have asked what they can do to combat anti-Asian hate. In this respect, I would like to share some of the initiatives that CABA has undertaken to help in these troubling times.

  • Demanding government action against hate crimes.

    • CABA worked with other affinity bar organizations, as well as Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul to bring the issue of rising Anti-Asian sentiment to their attention and discuss resources available to hate crime victims. Recognizing that the target communities are largely unaware of these resources, we summarized this information in Chinese and English flyers and distributed them to the public through our community partners, such as Chinese American Service League (CASL) and Chinese Mutual Aid Association (CMAA) to ensure that our flyers are distributed to those in our community.

    • CABA is working with other organizations to support legislation on federal and state levels to address hate crimes. CABA is a supporter of the NO HATE Act that is being reintroduced to U.S. Congress, which would create grants, managed through the Department of Justice, to empower State and local governments to improve hate crimes reporting. The bill will also allow courts to require that hate crime offenders engage in education about or service to the affected communities as a term of release from prison.

    • CABA is also a supporter of the creation of a Hate and Extremism Task Force in Illinois to promote hate crimes prevention awareness and develop training programs for law enforcement agencies and public schools throughout Illinois, assist in community outreach, and issuance of an annual report containing Illinois hate crimes data and methods implemented for prevention and reduction of hate crimes on a State-wide level.

  • Promoting better representation in leadership positions. Asian Americans are the largest growing group of minorities in all sectors of the legal profession, however, we are underrepresented in leadership positions and have the highest attrition rates from major law firms. CABA is committed to helping our members gain a seat at the table by supporting Asian American candidates in government and providing programs geared toward assisting Asian American attorneys in attaining leadership positions in law firms and corporations.

  • Being a resource of our community partners. We will continue to be a resource for our community partners such as the Chinese American Service League (CASL), Chinese Mutual Aid Association (CMAA), and the Pui Tak Center by providing whatever assistance we can through volunteering at pro bono clinics and providing legal forums to the public. It is also our plan to join these organizations in future lobby days in Springfield to advocate for Asian American interests.

For over 30 years, CABA has been committed to serving the Pan-Asian community in the Chicagoland area. Many of you have reached out to me for action steps. On an individual level, you can provide pro bono services, assume leadership positions, and educate the community about hate crime resources and the NAPABA hate crimes pro bono resources. I also highly recommend that everyone sign up for the Bystander Intervention Training organized by Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Chicago.

Finally, please do not hesitate to reach out if you are experiencing sadness, anxiety, or just want someone to talk to. We are in this together.


Ivy Lee

CABA Chicago President

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