Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association


  • Tue, March 15, 2022 1:55 PM | Deleted user

    MNAPABA leadership is seeking input from members regarding events and programming. Please take a minute today to answer this membership survey

  • Mon, November 08, 2021 4:25 PM | Stephanie Chen

    The Eighth Circuit has appointed MNAPABA member Kesha Tanabe to the federal bankruptcy bench for the District of Minnesota. Judge Tanabe's 14-year term on the bench will commence on January 7, 2022. She will become the first Asian American woman on the federal bench in Minnesota. 

    MNAPABA congratulates Judge Tanabe, a seasoned bankruptcy attorney and trustee in Minneapolis, on the historic appointment. The Eighth Circuit's appointment represents a first for an Asian American on the bankruptcy bench in the District of Minnesota and the Eighth Circuit, and she is the second Asian American ever appointed to the federal bench in Minnesota (after Magistrate Judge Tony Leung). 

    While MNAPABA naturally celebrates another first among its members, Judge Tanabe's appointment comes after many years of experience in her field. Judge Tanabe has excelled in diverse forums—making partner in “big law” and also opening her own thriving solo practice. She represented the State of New York as a public servant in tobacco litigation and up until her appointment, made it a priority to take on pro bono matters assisting businesses in the Twin Cities, including those recently plagued by the economic realities of the pandemic and those affected by the protests of the summer of 2020. 

    MNAPABA supported Judge Tanabe's appointment with an endorsement which read in part, "we are proud to endorse her application and hopeful that, while her appointment would make history in at least one sense, the public and community will find themselves with a fair new judge of excellent temperament, agile docket management skills, and the will to represent Minnesota and the Eighth Circuit as a service-minded member of the judiciary on a Court with a sterling reputation for the same."

    MNAPABA seeks to represent the interests of more than 500 Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, and law students in the State of Minnesota. That includes the work of pursuing a career on the bench. If you are interested in learning more about MNAPABA's endorsement and candidate preparation assistance, please contact judicial committee member Ben Kwan (ben@hallerkwan.com) or MNAPABA President Mayura Noordyke (mnoordyke@cozen.com).
  • Wed, November 03, 2021 3:48 PM | Stephanie Chen

    On October 5, 2021 the Minnesota Coalition of Bar Associations of Color hosted its Second Annual Twin Cities Legal D&I Data Project Reveal to share and discuss its study of the representation of women and racial/ethnic group members in large law firms and corporate legal departments in Minnesota. The presentation featured LaToya Burrell (Executive Director, The Anderson Foundation and ZinPro Corporation's DEI Champion) as the keynote speaker, along with distinguished panelists Dotun Obadina (Partner, Jones Day), Don H. Liu (Executive Vice President and Chief Legal and Risk Officer, Target), and Maggie Dalton (Partner, Stoel Rives).

    MN-CBAC is a coalition formed in 2020 by MNAPABA, the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association (MHBA), Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL), and the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association (MAIBA) to advance issues of common interest and concern; provide mutual support and professional development; and collectively improve the legal profession and access to justice in Minnesota. MN-CBAC believes the transparency of diversity and inclusion representation data will promote accountability.

    A full recording of the presentation is available here.

  • Thu, October 14, 2021 10:45 AM | Stephanie Chen

    On October 7, MNAPABA was recognized among other local leaders as a 2021 Diversity & Inclusion Honoree by Minnesota Lawyer. Honorees were chosen by an independent panel for making a significant impact with respect to diversity and inclusion in the greater community or within their organizations. MNPABA is proud to have received this recognition, and looks forward to continuing this important work to support and advance AAPI attorneys. 

    The full press profile from Minnesota Lawyer is available here.

  • Tue, April 20, 2021 6:06 PM | Stephanie Chen

    On behalf of the MNAPABA board of directors, please see the below joint statement by MNAPABA and NAPABA. While there remains much more work to be done, we hope today’s verdict in the Chauvin trial creates momentum for the broader changes needed to ensure equality before the law.


    April 20, 2021

    MNAPABA and NAPABA Statement on the Verdict in the Trial of Derek Chauvin

    Over the past year, in the wake of the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, amongst others, MNAPABA and NAPABA expressed their support of and solidarity with the Black community in Minnesota and across the nation.  Today, a jury in Minneapolis has convicted Derek Chauvin on all counts charged in the killing of George Floyd.  MNAPABA and NAPABA acknowledge the pain and anguish of the Floyd family and the Black community, and we recognize this is but one chapter in the ongoing endeavor to improve accountability, training, integrity, transparency, and improvement of this country’s criminal justice system as we have called for in NAPABA’s Resolution in Support of the Black Community.

    At this critical inflection point in race relations in the United States, and as our own communities face a surge in reported hate crimes and bias-motivated incidents, MNAPABA and NAPABA reiterate their commitment to stand in solidarity with the Black community in Minnesota and across the nation in our shared goal of combating racism, discrimination, hate crimes, and other forms of bigotry.  NAPABA recognizes the long history of systemic inequality faced by the Black community in this country and reaffirms its resolution calling for accountability and improving standards of professionalism and conduct in law enforcement. NAPABA has called for building trust between law enforcement and communities of color including by promoting diversity, inclusion, and better training for law enforcement.  Community and government leaders must work together to create that trust and fairness in the legal system by combating bias and safeguarding civil rights, civil liberties, and access to justice for all.  While there remains much more work to be done, we hope this outcome helps the country heal and put greater faith in the rule of law.

    The statement may also be accessed here.

  • Tue, February 16, 2021 4:34 PM | Stephanie Chen

    MNAPABA condemns all forms of racism, violence and scapegoating against our brothers and sisters in the Asian community.

    According to a study by the Asian American Bar Association of New York and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, “there were more than 2,500 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents related to COVID-19 between March and September 2020” in the United States. “And this number understates the actual number of anti-Asian hate incidents because most incidents are not reported,” according to the study.

    This recent increase in acts of harassment and violence against Asians has been prompted by hate speech and xenophobic rhetoric playing on unfounded fears and stereotypes linking the global pandemic to the Asian community. President Biden has already issued a “Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States” denouncing these actions. 

    MNAPABA calls on Minnesota public officials, businesses, and those persons who hold leadership positions in this State to join the chorus of voices denouncing the growing tide of anti-Asian sentiments and rhetoric.
  • Tue, February 02, 2021 11:16 AM | Deleted user

    MNAPABA, along with the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association (MHBA), Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL), and the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association (MAIBA) have joined together to form the Minnesota Coalition of Bar Associations of Color (MN-CBAC) to advance issues of common interest and concern; provide mutual support and professional development; and collectively improve the legal profession and access to justice in Minnesota.

    On December 2, 2020, MN-CBAC held its launch event to introduce the collaboration and publish diversity and inclusion data for the large law firms and corporate legal departments in Minnesota. MN-CBAC believes the transparency of diversity and inclusion representation data will promote accountability.

    To view the data and other presentation slides from the launch event, please click here

    UPDATE (Feb. 2, 2021): Please note that an error has been identified in the previously shared data, and the above link now reflects the corrected version.

  • Fri, September 11, 2020 4:56 AM | Deleted user

    MNAPABA joins the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association, and Executive Committee of the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association to denounce this blatant practice of criminalizing Black and Brown victims of violence. Please read our full statement below.

    Statement Against Criminalization of Black and Brown Victims

    On May 25, 2020, four Minneapolis police officers killed George Floyd. Minnesota, the rest of our country, and the world witnessed the last minutes of Mr. Floyd’s life; Floyd, a father, a son, and, more importantly, a human being, lay with his head pressed into the cement, empty hands bound with cuffs, pleading for mercy and the comfort of his dead mother. The source of his distress: four Minneapolis police officers. Eventually, the four officers were charged with crimes for their acts and omissions. Because we are a nation of laws, they deserve a fair trial. Nothing should interfere with that sacred right.

    We should be clear, however, that it is those accused of killing George Floyd that are on trial—not George Floyd. Recent court filings by the attorneys representing some of the criminal defendants would suggest otherwise. For instance, the attorneys for Officer Thomas Lane exhumed records of Mr. Floyd’s prior encounters with law enforcement and convictions dating back some seventeen years. They call him “an addict” and a liar who should not be believed. And they seek to justify the killing of Mr. Floyd by pointing to the location of his arrest as if where you frequent should have any bearing on whether you have a right to be free from violence at the hands of law enforcement.

    The smearing of Mr. Floyd’s character is nothing more than racial stereotyping masquerading as historical and objective facts. Since the birth of the Eugenics movement in 1883[1], junk science theories have been used to propagate negative stereotypes that people of color are less intelligent, sub-human, and that Black men in particular, are prone to savagery and deserve to die or be killed with impunity. To promote this bias and rhetoric, in cases such as Mr. Floyd’s, some historical facts such as Mr. Floyd’s criminal history are offered to incite prejudice, distract from important decision-making, and bias the ultimate decision-makers.

    Today, the sexual history of victims of sexual assault is all but off-limits in the courts because, though historical and objective, it is wholly irrelevant to the question of whether the defendant committed the alleged crime. The focus on the sexual history of victims in those cases—before laws were passed barring their revictimization—is clear: distract from the ultimate question (i.e., did the State prove that the defendant committed the crime with proof beyond a reasonable doubt?) and (2) play on long-held stereotypes and biases of the jury that the victim is less worthy of justice. 

    George Floyd’s criminal history and struggles with substance abuse were offered with the same goals: to distract, dehumanize, and play on deeply-rooted and indelible racist stereotypes. This is not right. We believe that all Americans are protected by the same Constitution, irrespective of where they live, their prior encounters with law enforcement, or their past struggles. 

    We also see that this strategy takes on a special ugliness when engaged by those who defend the police officers who have been accused of killing Black and Brown Americans. It is a strategy used to try to justify the senseless killings of people of color time and again.  We need look no further than what occurred in the aftermath of the death of Eric Garner (as if selling loose cigarettes warrants the death penalty); Michael Brown (suggesting a teenager’s physical size and unproven and unrelated criminal conduct justified his killing); Akai Gurley (suggesting that Mr. Gurley was more of a threat because he was killed in the vicinity of public housing and because of his physical stature); Tamir Rice (as if a twelve-year old child’s physical size and his mother’s lifestyle excuse his killing); Freddie Gray (emphasizing where he lived, his physical stature, and prior interactions with law enforcement to exonerate his killers); and countless others. This is not a new phenomenon or a new tactic. Nor is it a creative, new argument Officer Lane’s lawyers happened upon. It is a phenomenon so familiar and prevalent; we all know it when we see it.[2] While the strategy may not be new, the pain it causes cuts deep every time it is wielded and unmistakably screams to every person of color: “your Black and Brown bodies do not matter and you are less deserving of the protections of the law.”   

    The strategy of attempting to distract from law enforcement’s conduct by inciting prejudice and dehumanizing the victims of violence is racist. Lawyers know better and must be better. And we should hold them to account when they do not. 

    The Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association, Executive Committee of the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association, and Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association denounce this blatant practice of criminalizing Black and Brown victims of violence. It is clear that this strategy is intended to fuel racial prejudice in a case being watched across the country.  

    We encourage everyone to resist the smoke and mirrors that stoke ugly biases that have been deliberately developed against Black and Brown victims in America for centuries. Let each of us check our own biases and abandon notions that a Black or Brown victim’s parentage, or his/her family or personal history somehow grant permission for him/her to be killed on our streets. 

    We believe it is time that the Minnesota State Legislature enact a victim’s rights bill focused on the rights of the victims of police brutality and violence. The legislation should limit the use of prior medical histories, criminal histories, and substance abuse histories by law enforcement to justify police brutality and violence, much like rape shield laws (blocking the admission and introduction of past sexual history of victims of sexual violence, except in limited circumstances).  

    If not now, when?


    [1] “Eugenics” was a term coined in 1883 by England’s Francis Galton. He combined the Greek words for “good” and “born” to refer to the social philosophy advocating the improvement of human heredity through selective breeding. Eugenics became the bedrock of white supremacist movements, most notably, the Nazi eugenics effort to “stamp out mental inferiority among the German people,” and it was hoped by some that Hitler’s “efforts along that line will be a great success and will advance the eugenics movement in other nations as well as in Germany.” Letter from Dr. Charles F. Dight, President, Minnesota Eugenics Society, to Chancellor Adolf Hitler (August 1, 1933).

    [2] See CalvinJohn Smily and David Fakunle, From “brute” to “thug:” the demonization and criminalization of unarmed Black male victims in America, J Hum Behav Soc Environ. 2016; 26(3-4): 350–366 (2016) (analyzing media coverage of police killings of Black males and the recurring narratives designed to incite prejudice and play upon stereotypes) and Kristin Dukes and Sarah E. Gaither, Black Racial Stereotypes and Victim Blaming: Implications for Media Coverage and Criminal Proceedings in Cases of Police Violence against Racial and Ethnic Minorities: Victim Blaming and Race, Journal of Social Issues 73(4):789-807 (2017) (discussing how the use of racially charged stereotypes in the media impact public perception and juror perception of victims of police violence).

  • Tue, June 02, 2020 1:00 PM | Anonymous

    On behalf of the MNAPABA Board of Directors:

    The unjustifiable loss of George Floyd’s life in Minnesota saddens us immensely. We stand with the Black community, the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL), and all local and national leaders who call for justice for George Floyd and demand changes in the culture and policies of institutions and systems that have failed the Black community for generations. Please read our full MNAPABA and NAPABA statement here.

    Vincent Pham, President of MNAPABA 2019-20

  • Mon, June 01, 2020 1:00 PM | Anonymous

    Open Letter to Community:

    A call for unity and solidarity in the face of violence

    May 29, 2020

    Dear Community,

    Earlier this week, George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was murdered by the Minneapolis police. George Floyd’s death is a continuation of the long history of criminalization, dehumanization, and oppression of Black lives in this country since its founding. As immigrants and refugees to the U.S., our families may not always understand this history, but we inherited its legacy. Our communities have also benefited from Black freedom struggles that paved the way for our own fights for freedom and equal treatment in America. So, in this moment, it matters that we commit to Black liberation and raise our voices to say that #BlackLivesMatter. We emphatically call on our Asian communities to center George Floyd’s life and continue to amplify the demands from his family and community for justice.

    Already, Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities (BIPOC) in Minnesota were disproportionately suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our families and small businesses are struggling, the health impacts on communities of color have been disproportionately high, our family members are disproportionately on the front lines in essential jobs, and racist and xenophobic stigmatization early on resulted in the increase of anti-Asian violence. So, we write this knowing that BIPOC communities are hurting badly from the pandemic. Now, as Asian community members are targeted and businesses are damaged, our communities are in pain. We recognize that pain will continue to be there for Asian communities. Yet as we care for each other, we cannot let our pain distract us from George Floyd’s life and the community’s demands for justice.

    We also cannot ignore the role of Officer Tou Thao who stood watch as George Floyd was dying. To see someone who looks like us behave as a bystander to Black death is devastating and painful. This is yet another reason that we must recognize our silence in the face of anti-Black racism, and commit to the ongoing work to dismantle anti-Blackness.

    Throughout history, there have been attempts to pit Asian and Black communities against each other, a tactic that encourages us to turn on each other rather than tackle our common oppression: the systems of white supremacy. These efforts distract us from the real solution of building cross-racial solidarity to root out racist oppression. And while Asian communities have been rewarded for our assimilation into whiteness with the lie of the “model minority” myth, it is at times like this crisis that we should remember that our status is always conditional and subject to being taken away by xenophobia.

    That is why in this painful moment, we ask our Asian communities to choose our shared liberation. Let us remain focused on the systems responsible for the loss of George Floyd’s life and too many other Black lives, most recently including Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. Let us support and uplift Black-led organizing happening through NAACP Mpls, Black Visions Collective, Black Immigrant Collective, Black Lives Matter MN, Reclaim the Block and MN Freedom Fund. We amplify their demands to Minneapolis City Council Members, Mayor Frey, County Attorney Freeman, and other authorities to charge all of the officers involved and to divest from the MPD and other systems of oppression.

    Let us stand united for Black lives not only when lives are lost, but in everyday recognition that our liberation is tied together. Let us also commit to the ongoing work of addressing the anti-Blackness in our own communities and choose to fight for Black lives the way we would our own. Our struggles must be linked to truly achieve our vision of a Minnesota and a country where all our communities can thrive.

    In solidarity,

    Asian Minnesotan Organizations

    Asian American Organizing Project (AAOP)

    Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance-MN (APALA-MN)


    Coalition of Asian American Leaders (CAAL)

    Cultural Society of Filipino Americans (CSFA)

    Filipinx for Immigrant rights and Racial justice MN (FIRM)

    Hmong American Partnership (HAP)

    Japanese American Citizens League, Twin Cities Chapter (TC JACL)


    Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association (MNAPABA)

    National Association of Asian American Professionals – Minnesota (NAAAP MN)

    Pan Asian Voice for Equity-MN (PAVE-MN)

    Philippine Study Group of Minnesota (PSGM)

    India Association of Minnesota (IAM)

    Release MN8

    Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (RISE)


    SEIU Asian Pacific Islander Caucus

    Siengkane Lao MN

    Theater Mu

    The Southeast Asian Diaspora (SEAD) Project

    Transforming Generations

    United Senior Lao-American

    UMN Asian American Studies Program

    Vietnamese Social Services of Minnesota

    For more information about the Asian Minnesotans Against Racism & Xenophobia Collaborative, please email info@caalmn.org.

Mailing Address:
MNAPABA c/o Minnesota State Bar Association
600 Nicollet Mall, Suite 380, Minneapolis, MN 55402

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