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History & the Law: Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Context

The rise in violence against the AAPI community, largely ignited by racist and xenophobic rhetoric amid COVID-19 and punctuated by the Atlanta massacre, has placed the issue of anti-Asian violence at the forefront. But the issue of anti-Asian hate is not new. Since the first Asian immigrants arrived on American shores in the late eighteenth century, Asians in America have contributed to the fabric of America, while also surviving repeated oppositions to citizenship and legalized violence. This program explores the history of Asian progress in America, including the creation of “Asian” as a racial construct, the history of scapegoating Asian communities, and the legal approaches used to justify exclusion and violence.


  • Lorraine Bannai, Director, Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality, Seattle University School of Law; Professor of Lawyering Skills, Seattle University School of Law 
  • Deepa Iyer, Strategic Advisor, Building Movement Project; Director, Solidarity Is
  • Tim Ma, Co-Founder, Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate; Chef, Lucky Danger
  • John C. Yang, President and Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice


  • Paul M. Igasaki, Former Chair, ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice

Joint Sponsor: ABA Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice

Co-Sponsors: ABA Center for Human Rights, ABA Center for Public Interest Law, ABA Commission on Disability Rights, ABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & Responsibilities, ABA Commission on Homelessness & PovertyABA Commission on Immigration, ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, ABA Council for Diversity in the Educational Pipeline, ABA Criminal Justice Section, ABA Diversity and Inclusion Center, ABA Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division, ABA International Law Section, ABA Law Student Division, ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, ABA Section of State and Local Government Law, ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress, ABA Standing Committee on Public Education, ABA Young Lawyers Division

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