Who We Are
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Who We Are

Who We Are

NAPABA is the preeminent professional development organization and voice for 50,000 Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations.

  • We are the national voice for the Asian Pacific American legal profession.
  • We promote justice, equity, and opportunity for Asian Pacific Americans.
  • We foster professional development, legal scholarship, advocacy, and community involvement.

Our History

In 1988 a coalition of Asian Pacific American bar leaders from around the country came together to create a national voice of engaged and active lawyers to support their community.

Learn more about our history
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President's Message

Daniel Sakaguchi   |   2018-19

Aloha Kākou,

Before law school, I studied German literature—and was taken with Franz Kafka in particular. Some things carried over into the practice of law. For example, the absurd ordeal of K., the protagonist in The Trial, was a useful preparation for becoming a public defender. And I have long remembered something Kafka said, in a conversation with his friend and editor Max Brod: “There is an infinite amount of hope, but not for us.”

I’ve been thinking lately about why I find something in that bleak phrase to be oddly inspiring.

I was driving a carpool some weeks ago and asked my son’s classmate what other schools their baseball team played against. He mentioned two or three, but the one school name that stuck out was Korematsu—Fred T. Korematsu Middle School—named after one man’s long and lonely fight for what was right.

Fred Korematsu was all too well acquainted with hope of the “not for us” variety. During World War II, almost no one spoke up for those who were suffering, and folks didn’t talk about it much afterward, either. Fred Korematsu’s resolve to resist the injustice of mass incarceration of Japanese Americans not only brought him a wrongful conviction in 1942, but also alienated him from his own community, and he lived in quiet isolation for decades.

It wasn’t until 1983, when Dale Minami, Don Tamaki and others helped overturn Korematsu’s 40-year-old conviction, that the shame of the U.S. government’s wrongful acts began to be lifted from the community. It was several more years before the State issued a formal apology and paid reparations. And it was not until the summer of 2018—74 years after Korematsu v. United States was wrongly decided—that the Supreme Court expressly overruled its own ignominious precedent, only to uphold the equally unjust Muslim ban.

Today, the injustices continue to mount, and we continue to raise our voices––against the mistreatment of Muslims, migrants and others. This past week alone, we saw vulnerable children detained in squalid and unsafe conditions at the border, being made to care for infants and each other while deprived of basic necessities. But we also saw Nisei Japanese Americans, some of whom were born into incarceration during World War II, assemble with others at Oklahoma’s Fort Sill and elsewhere. They organized to speak out in protest against the former internment camp’s proposed use as a detainment center for migrant children. They gathered not just to remember the past, but also to urge us to consider how we tend to our present and future.

And maybe that’s the point—and why I’m inspired by that phrase, “hope, but not for us.” Hope, like justice, has never been about just us, but is for the entire greater community, for all rather than for just some. And like the moral arc of the universe, it is long—which is all the more reason for us to act now.

It is in this spirit that NAPABA opposed the addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 Census—so that everyone shall be counted in the next decade, and so that immigrant communities and people of color will be represented at every level of government. We are proud of this work, and of our other collaborations in the interests of this greater community to which we belong.

To those that blazed the trail, often in isolation and at considerable personal cost, we recognize and thank you again for your vision and perseverance. And to those adding your voices to our common cause, we thank you also.

Imua!

NAPABA Officer Profiles

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Daniel Sakaguchi

President
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Bonnie Lee Wolf

President-Elect
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Jeffrey Javinar

Secretary
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Bruce Ishimatsu

VP for Finance & Development
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Charles Jung

VP for Programs & Operations
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Alen Hsu

VP for Membership
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Avanti Bakane

VP for Communications
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Gary Zhao

Treasurer
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Pankit J. Doshi

Immediate Past President

Regional Governors

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Victor Diune

Northeast Region Governor
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Brendan Wong

Northeast Region Governor
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Gregory Schwartz

Central Region Governor
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Christopher J. Chan

Southeast Region Governor
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Daniel Hu

Southwest Region Governor
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Craig Nakanishi

Northwest Region Governor
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Puneet Kakkar

Central California Region Governor
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Robert C. Kim

Eastern California/Nevada Region Governor
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Thy Bui

Southern California Region Governor
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Hogene Choi

Northern California Region Governor

At-Large Members

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Carolynn K. Beck

At-Large Member
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Kristy Gonowon

At-Large Member
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Kristy Haugen

At-Large Member
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Christopher Sukhaphadhana

At-Large Member

Meet Our Staff


Priya Purandare

Interim Executive Director

Navdeep Singh

Policy Director

Robin Glenn

Administration 
& Finance Manager

Pang Dao Moua

Meetings Manager
2019 NAPABA Convention

Learn. Network. Engage. Join us this November in Austin, TX for the 2019 NAPABA Convention--the largest gathering of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law students, legal scholars, and elected officials from around the country.

Learn More

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

1612 K Street NW, Ste. 510
Washington, DC 20006

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