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Click here to download a PDF copy of the press release.

May 18, 2012

HNBA Contact: Emily Bengston (202) 223-4777
NAPABA Contact: Emily Chatterjee (202) 775-9555
NBA Contact: Erika Owens (202) 842-3900
NNABA Contact: Jeremy Aliason (405) 761-1723


WASHINGTON - This week, members of the Coalition of Bar Associations of Color (CBAC) from around the country gathered in Washington, DC, for its Annual Meeting to discuss key issues affecting communities of color, including voter suppression efforts, judicial vacancies, and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

CBAC was established in 1992 and is comprised of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the National Bar Association (NBA), and the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA). CBAC members adopted 19 resolutions on a range of legislative and policy priorities, including opposition to Arizona S.B. 1070, support for anti-human trafficking efforts, increased funding for tribal justice systems, the reauthorization of VAWA, and the DREAM Act.

"Our participation in CBAC provides a unique opportunity for NAPABA and all of our bars to collaborate on issues that are important to Asian Pacific Americans and all communities of color," said Nimesh M. Patel, president of NAPABA. "Through CBAC, we can address issues of mutual concern such as pushing for stronger laws to prevent human trafficking and the exploitation of women and persons of color."

"The lack of knowledge about federal Indian law and tribal law affects how Native Americans fare in the federal court system," said Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, president of NNABA and host of this yearís Annual CBAC Meeting. "CBAC provides an important opportunity to help educate decision makers about some of the legal issues that affect our day-to-day lives."

"While members of CBAC were providing a united voice of support for the strengthened version of VAWA that passed the Senate, the House passed a version that omitted key provisions that would protect tribal communities, women of color, and LGBT individuals," said Peter M. Reyes, Jr., president-elect of HNBA. "We hope that members of Congress will demand legislation that will keep all women safe from violence in their homes and workplaces."

Daryl Parks, president of NBA stated, "A key area for all of the bars of color is the inclusion of women and persons of color in the federal judiciary. CBAC looks forward to continuing to work with the Senate and the White House to recommend diverse candidates for the federal judiciary, and urges the speedy confirmation of pending nominees."

CBAC meets annually every spring so that leaders from its member organizations can discuss issues of mutual concern and advocate in support of their shared interests with the executive branch and with elected officials. This yearís Annual CBAC Meeting included visits with the White House and the Department of Justice, and with the offices of Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL). More information about CBAC can be found here.


The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) is an incorporated, not-for-profit, national membership organization that represents the interests of the more than 100,000 Hispanic attorneys, judges, law professors, legal assistants, and law students in the United States and its territories. From the days of its founding three decades ago, the HNBA has acted as a force for positive change within the legal profession. It does so by encouraging Latino students to choose a career in the law and by prompting their advancement within the profession once they graduate and start practicing. Through a combination of issue advocacy, programmatic activities, networking events and educational conferences, the HNBA has helped generations of lawyers succeed.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 64 local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members represent solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes professional development of minorities in the legal profession.

Founded in 1925, the National Bar Association is the nationís oldest and largest national network of minority attorneys and judges. It represents approximately 44,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students and has over 80 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and around the world. The organization seeks to advance the science of jurisprudence, preserve the independence of the judiciary and to uphold the honor and integrity of the legal profession. For additional information about the National Bar Association, visit www.nationalbar.org.

Representing Indian Nations not just Indian Lawyers, the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA) shares many of the same goals of diversity and increased understanding of our communitiesí unique cultural and legal issues with minority bar associations. However, most of NNABAís lawyers are both U.S. citizens and citizens of their respective Tribal nations. Our members, therefore, also share the communal responsibility, either directly or indirectly, of protecting the governmental sovereignty of the more than 560 independent Native American Tribal governments in the United States.


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