Daniel Sakaguchi | PresidentAloha Kākou,
Last fall, as NAPABA turned 30 years old, a meme was making the rounds on the internet—“By age 30 you should have . . .” People responded to an investment expert’s guidelines for how much savings one should have for retirement by age 30 with tongue-in-cheek rejoinders that went viral—By age 30, you should have: a box full of random cables, that you probably could throw out, but don’t know which ones you might still need; a drawer full of soy sauce packets and disposable chopsticks; a plastic bag full of plastic bags; creaky knees; and my favorite, existential dread.
Now, while there’s no need to question our very existence, it’s also not a bad idea—at age 30—to check-in and reflect on why we find our membership in this voluntary bar association meaningful.
What does NAPABA mean to you? Is it a civil rights organization, championing issues that affect the APA community and advocating for justice? Is it a trade association, for professional development and career advancement—cultivating tomorrow’s leaders and increasing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, the boardroom and the bench? Is it a conference you go to every year, to see old friends, make new ones, get some CLE credit? It is your social and business network? Maybe it’s a mix of these things—or maybe none of the above describe what NAPABA means to you.
Is NAPABA all that you think it can or should be? What are we doing well and what can we improve upon? We would like to hear from you. You, our members, have views from all across many spectrums—cultural, political, generational—and NAPABA is as multifaceted as you are. And it continues to evolve. We will be circulating our membership survey shortly, and hope you share your thoughts with us.
As for what NAPABA means to me, I find it remarkable that our organization is an intentional one, and for all of our different perspectives, we’ve all chosen to be a part of it—and to believe in it. In the words of Professor Mari Matsuda: “Our pan-Asian identity is not a natural, inevitable coalition. It is, like all coalitions, a constructed one. It is nonetheless real and vital.”
And that is really what I want to take a moment to recognize here. Not particular policies, issues or positions that we take, and not even the specifics of NAPABA’s mission statement, but rather: the abiding willingness of Asian Pacific American lawyers from so many different backgrounds and vantages to commit their time, energy and talents to NAPABA and to each other. I believe that in itself is worth celebrating, and so thank each of you for choosing to be a part of NAPABA and investing yourselves in it—whatever your own reasons may be.
Also if anyone can tell us which cables we can throw away now, we would appreciate it.
With Warmest Regards,
2018-2019 NAPABA President