We Cannot Afford to Lose on Goodwin Liu, Ed Chen Judicial Appointments

If you ever want to see an Asian American appointed to the Supreme Court, join us now to support Goodwin Liu and Judge Ed Chen.

President Obama’s appointments of Judge Ed Chen to the federal district court and of Goodwin Liu to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has been held hostage by Senate Republicans for reasons that can only be described as petty politics. While these appointments certainly should not be rubber-stamped by the Senate, the appointments should at least be presented for a vote by the full Senate.

“A determined Republican stall campaign in the Senate has sidetracked so many of the men and women nominated by President Barack Obama for judgeships that he has put fewer people on the bench than any president since Richard Nixon at a similar point in his first term 40 years ago,” reported the Washington Post.

If we cannot support the President’s appointments of extremely qualified Asian Americans to the lower courts against political obstruction, how can we ever expect him to appoint an Asian American to the highest court in the land?

Several activities and events are in high gear this week to stress the importance of ending the Senate gridlock and obstructionism of these nominations.

Tuesday, September 21: “STICK” Up for Goodwin! Movement Meeting

Join David Biderman, Joan Haratani, Dale Minami, Edwin Prather, Priya Sanger, Malcolm Yeung and others on Tuesday, September 21, 2010, at 12:00 noon, for a statewide coordinated event at the Law Offices of Edwin Prather, 461 Bush Street, Suite 350, San Francisco, to support the confirmation of Professor Goodwin Liu to the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

In an effort to engage the grassroots, educate the mainstream about diversity on the bench, and change the media frame on Goodwin Liu’s nomination to the 9th Circuit, the Asian American Justice Center, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and local Asian Pacific American (APA) bar organizations have launched a “Stick” Up for Goodwin! initiative and companion website (http://www.confirmnow.org).

The website provides the story behind the initiative, the lack of APAs in the federal judiciary, why Prof. Liu is important to the APA community, and other action items such as the nomination of Magistrate Judge Edward Chen for the District Court in the Northern District of California. The website also offers social media tools and traditional action alerts to help engage community members, such as uploading photos on how the stickers are used to increase visibility for the “Stick” Up for Goodwin! initiative and to build momentum toward confirming Goodwin Liu, as well as Ed Chen.

A similar gathering takes place on the same day in Los Angeles: Tuesday, September 21, 2010, at noon, at Jenner & Block LLP, 633 West 5th Street, Suite 3500, Los Angeles (lunch and refreshments provided). RSVP to the LA event by emailing contactapaba@gmail.com.

Friday, September 24: Press Conference with Asian American Electeds on Judge Ed Chen’s Appointment

Chinese for Affirmative Action plans on holding a press conference at 10:30 a.m. to discuss Judge Ed Chen’s appointment to the federal district court and what steps members of the community can take to end the roadblock on the Senate vote on his appointment. More details will be published here when available.

Wednesday, September 29: Alliance for Justice Brown Bag Lunch Briefing on Judicial Nominations During the Obama Administration

This brown bag lunch briefing by Alliance for Justice will include information on what you can do to help ensure the swift confirmation of Goodwin Liu and Judge Edward Chen to the federal bench.  The gathering is on Sept. 29, 1:00p.m. – 2:30p.m., at Howard Rice, Three Embarcadero Center, Seventh Floor, San Francisco.

Nan Aron, Alliance for Justice president, will be the guest speaker. Light refreshments will be provided.

Senate Republicans recently prevented twenty-two out of twenty-six of President Obama’s judicial nominees from receiving an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor — despite the fact that the majority of those nominees have been waiting for several months and in two cases, a full year.  Two of those nominees, Goodwin Liu and Edward Chen, must now be renominated and reapproved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

During this brown bag lunch you will learn more about the status of judicial nominations during the Obama Administration, the lack of diversity on the federal bench (especially for Asian American judges), and what you can do to help ensure Goodwin Liu and Edward Chen receive a vote on the floor of the Senate.

RSVP here

Finally, if you haven’t already done so, please sign a letter supporting Judge Chen on FairJudges.net and join other supporters of Goodwin Liu at ConfirmNow.org.

API Equality Groups Applaud Court Ruling Against Prop. 8

Today, federal district court judge Vaughn Walker ruled that California’s Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution in denying gay and lesbian couples the right to marry. Civil rights and advocacy groups, including Asian and Pacific Islander (API) organizations and leaders, praised the judge’s decision. Today’s win is particularly gratifying for those in the API community who have been at the forefront of efforts to gain marriage equality both in California and nationally.

“API Equality-LA and our partner, API Equality-Northern California, applaud the judge’s meticulous and carefully reasoned decision that Proposition 8 violates the basic constitutional rights of lesbian and gay couples,” said Doreena Wong, Co-Chair of API Equality-LA. “The judge’s conclusions add to the growing consensus in courts and legislatures across the country that no good reasons exist for continuing to exclude same-sex couples from marriage. Instead, the evidence and legal arguments showed that Proposition 8 harms loving gay and lesbian couple and their families, while helping no one,” added Heidi Li, API Equality-Northern California Steering Committee Member.

Judge Walker’s decision is important to Asian and Pacific Islanders (APIs) in California, where the more than 66,000 APIs who identify as gay or lesbian comprise the largest community of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI) APIs in the United States, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.

“Victories like today’s decision inspire important conversations about the harms of discrimination and the need for equality under law for all people,” said Tawal Panyacosit, Director of API Equality-Northern California. “But, we cannot rest on our laurels. These critical dialogues must continue, as we must also speak to the many other ways LGBTQI APIs are harmed by injustice, like Shirley Tan and Jay Mercado, a same-sex Filipina couple who face continued threat of separation due to an unfair immigration system. We know from our years of work educating the API community about these issues that it is these discussions within our own communities that changes hearts and minds.”

Added Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong, Director of API Equality-LA, “All across the nation, APIs have played an integral role in advancing the right of same-sex couples to marry-as plaintiffs, judges and witnesses in legal cases and as elected and community leaders in the court of public opinion. APIs personally know the history and impact of marriage discrimination and today, we cheer Judge Walker’s decision as being on the right side of history, where discrimination is overcome by justice and fairness.”

API Equality-Northern California is a coalition of Asian Pacific Islander (API) and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, and Intersex (LGBTQI) organizations and individuals serving Northern California.  API Equality-Northern California is dedicated to empowering community members, advancing civil rights protections, and promoting respect and understanding for cultural and community diversity.

API Equality-LA is a coalition of organizations and individuals who are committed to working in the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities in Greater Los Angeles for equal marriage rights and fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) families through community education and advocacy.


Support API Wellness Center at the Academy of Friends Gala March 7

Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center has been invited to be a beneficiary of the Academy of Friends Gala on Sunday, March 7th, 2010.

This year marks Academy of Friends’ 30th year fighting HIV and AIDS. Their sell-out Oscar party is the second largest in the country and one of the largest HIV/AIDS fundraisers in the Bay Area. Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center is honored to be a returning beneficiary.

There are a number of ways you can help A&PI Wellness Center meet its requirements as an Academy of Friends beneficiary.

BUY RAFFLE TICKETS – Buy a premium raffle ticket for your chance to win a two year lease on an Audi A4, from Royal Motor Sales. Each ticket is $40.00 or Three (3) tickets for $100.00. Or purchase general raffle tickets to win one of three exciting packages. A SF weekend package, including a 2 night stay at CLIFT, $150 for dinner at Asia de Cuba, and $100 for drinks at the Redwood Room. — A $1000 shopping spree at Westfield San Francisco Centre. — Or 2 Roundtrip Tickets Anywhere on Southwest. General raffle tickets are $10 per ticket or three (3) for $25. To purchase raffle tickets contact Sara Kunitake, Development Coordinator, at (415) 292-3420 ext. 373 or sara@apiwellness.org.

TICKETS & SPONSORSHIPS – We ask that you name Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center as the referring organization for your Academy of Friends ticket or sponsorship purchase. After registering as a new donor or signing in as a returning donor at www.academyoffriends.org, indicate “A&PI Wellness Center” as your beneficiary. This will help us meet our goals. A ticket to the Gala is $250 and joining a sponsorship circle ranges from $350 to $20,000.

VOLUNTEER – A&PI Wellness Center also has various volunteer goals at outreach events leading up to the Gala and the fabulous event itself. Work with us to meet these goals. Volunteer any number of different ways including general office help, gift bag set-up, ticket outreach, and more. For more information email Ruben Garcia at ruben@apiwellness.org.