Minami Tamaki LLP attorneys Dale Minami, Don Tamaki, Sean Tamura-Sato, Lisa Mak, and Seema Bhatt recently attended the annual National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) National Convention in Chicago. The Convention had over 2,000 Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law students, and elected officials attending from around the country.
This year, Dale, Don, and Karen Korematsu (Founder & Executive Director of The Fred T. Korematsu Institute) were awarded the NAPABA President’s Award. This award recognizes NAPABA members who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to NAPABA, the legal community, and the broader APA community.
Dale, Don, and Karen received this year’s award for their work on the “Stop Repeating History” campaign (StopRepeatingHistory.Org), which educates the public on the dangers of unchecked presidential power and the parallels between the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and the current administration’s policies targeting minority groups based on race or religion. In his award acceptance remarks, Don urged APA attorneys to lead on this issue due to our communities’ experience with racist and xenophobic immigration policies.
Don and Karen also spoke on a panel with Hoyt Zia (an original founding member of NAPABA), and moderated by Dale, about the parallels between the Korematsu v. United States and Trump v. Hawaii cases. Don and Dale were members of the legal team that overturned Fred Korematsu’s conviction for his defiance of Japanese American exclusion orders during World War II.
The panel discussion was preceded by a screening of the powerful film, “And Then They Came For Us,” which compares the Japanese American incarceration with the Muslim travel ban. The film, produced by Peabody award-winning director Abby Ginzberg, won the 2018 ABA Silver Gavel Award, and has been a cornerstone of the “Stop Repeating History” campaign.
Lisa was a panelist for a convention plenary luncheon session entitled “Beyond #MeToo: How Asian Americans Can Challenge Sexual Harassment in the Workplace,” with about 1,000 attendees. The all-women panel discussed the impact of the #MeToo movement in the workplace, strategies to improve equality for women in the legal industry, and the unique challenges of addressing sexual harassment in APA communities. During her remarks, Lisa emphasized the importance of being upstanders and allies for harassment victims in order to create a cultural change for the fair treatment of women.
Our firm also helped to sponsor the NAPABA Solo & Small Firm Network (SSF) stipend program, which provides funds for SSF committee members to attend the conference and future NAPABA events. “Minami Tamaki is a longtime proponent of SSF’s work, including the committee’s CLE Bootcamp that provides legal skills training and business advice to SSF attendees at the Convention. The firm is proud to contribute to SSF’s mission of building and supporting APA-owned law firms,” said Partner Sean Tamura-Sato.
This year, the late San Francisco Mayor Edwin Mah Lee was honored with the Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award, NAPABA’s most prestigious award which recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment, and leadership of lawyers who have paved the way for the advancement of other APA attorneys. The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) spearheaded the nomination of Mayor Lee for this award.
Our firm congratulates outgoing President Pankit Doshi from San Francisco for his successful leadership this year. Daniel Sakaguchi, also from San Francisco, was sworn in as the new NAPABA President. Both Pankit and Daniel are members of AABA, which was co-founded by Dale Minami over 40 years ago.
Minami Tamaki is proud to continue supporting NAPABA and its efforts to address civil rights issues, promote professional development, and increase diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.