In Memory of Pres. George H. W. Bush and Recalling
the making of the first batch of AsAm Presidential appointees
Q: Is a presidential appointee a BIG deal?
A:Yes! This person needs to be appointed by the president & confirmed by the Senate to earn that title. There are only 1212 such positions
Q: The U.S. was 213 years old, when Pres. H. W. Bush was elected, how
many AsAm presidential appointees had there been before then?
A: None, except for federal judges, to the best of my knowledge,
Q:So what made Pres. Bush Sr. take this precedent setting move?
A: Two factors. (a) The enlightened political philosophy of Pres. Bush, Sr.
which we've been hearing so much about these days. (b) The bold &
innovative political efforts of a group of AsAm pioneers.
Q: Who were this group of AsAm pioneers?
A: In the Spring of 1988, S.B. Woo, perhaps the best known AsAm Democrat at the time, and Anna Chennault, perhaps the best known AsAm Republican at the time, wanted to use that year's presidential election to advance AsAm interests.
As Woo has always stressed: "Every presidential election year offers
the best opportunity for for a minority to use their votes to bargain for a
Woo and Chennault were the co-chairs of an Ad hoc AsAm Comm. The comm. was composed of just about the best known Chinese Ams at the time, including Yuan Tseh Lee, a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry in 1986, Chia-Wei Woo, President of San Francisco State university, David Lam, CEO of Lam Research Corporation and many others. The group wrote a letter to candidate Bush asking for appointments, if he would be elected. Dr. John B Tsu, a good person & an astute politician working for the Bush campaign, volunteered to be our liaison to the Bush campaign. Soon, a very short hand-written reply signed by Bush* arrived. It stated that he'd consider our request, when elected. Tsu used that letter to raise money for Bush from AsAms. A few months later, Bush won.
Civil Rights commissioner; David Lam - US commissioner on Minority
Business Development; Elaine Chao - Deputy Secretary of
Transportation, and a few other appointments.
A Journey of a 1,000 Miles Begins with the 1st Step
AsAm appointment rose in ranks & numbers thereafter. For example, Norman Mineta become the 1st AsAm full Secretary under Pres.Clinton (Commerce) and Pres. Bush (Transportation). Bush also appointed Elaine Chao as the Sec.of Labor. Obama appointed 3 AsAms as cabinet members and numerous sub-cabinet members. Trump appointed Elaine Chao as the Sec. of Transportation.
Another illustration of a 1st step leading to a long journey is 80-20's success in working with Pres. Obama to increase drastically the number AsAm federal District Court judges and Appeals Court judges. One day soon there will be an AsAm Supreme Court Justice!
To be balanced, however, we can't just look at the rosy side of the political arena only. Let's remember that we are NOT equal citizens yet. The saddest feeling I have is that those AsAms, who have "made it" through our collective efforts, don't normally step up to help our community back.
Let's think Big (3) - win JUSTICE with AsAm lawyers plus others
"Let's Think Big and Long-Term (1)" Stirred IMAGINATION!
Many supported the idea by commenting on the Poster Board. 9 others supported with their money - becoming new donors within 24 hours. The key points of that e-newsletter are summarized below:
The AsAm community is the best educated and has the highest per person and per family income. Shall we strive to establish an effective org. to lift ourselves by the bootstraps to equal citizenship? Such an organization will need:
2. A strong connection with our own AsAm legal community, since our rights are often stepped on. We don't have that connection right now. The lawyers who served our community's needs in recent years are almost all non-AsAm lawyers* - Ed Blum and his legal team, and Peter Zeidenberg are examples. 80-20 EF will work with other AsAm orgs.,
as equals, to create a win-win situation for the AsAm lawyers & our community. Together we shall overcome.
3. Sufficient political know-how and contacts (80-20 may have the best).
*Mike Park, a Korean Am., of Consovoy McCarthy Park PLLC is on Blum's legal team, & has been nominated to be a Circuit Court Judge by Pres. Trump.
To win Justice - a stronger bond between our community & AsAm lawyers!
a) Learning from the best -- the Jewish-Am community
There is an AAJLJ (The Am Assoc. of Jewishlawyers & Jurists) whose aim is to "defend Jewish interests and human rights in the U.S. and abroad". It also presents an annual "Pursuit of Justice" award, often held at the U.S.Supreme Court to honor Jewish lawyers who have excelled in the community service. That is, talented Jewish lawyers defend Jewish interests, the community in turn honors such lawyers annually - a win-winsituation.
b) Forming our own equivalence of AAJLJ
Is there an equivalence to AAJLJ in our community? Unfortunately, NO! Do we have the assets to form a similar community? YES!
There are more than 50,000 AsAm lawyers, comparable to the number of Jewish lawyers, 66,000. There is one difference - ours are not in thetop ranks yet. But that should only work to our advantage. We can educate our people to trust our own lawyers, while letting AsAm lawyers know that serving our community could advance them in ranks faster, because AsAms honor those who serve our community with distinction.
c) An earlier win-win example
On 2/16/2016, EF, NACA and NAL held a banquet in D.C. to honor Pete Zeidenberg, who defended Sherry Chen & Prof. Xiaoxing Xi with distinction. EF also set a 2nd goal - to raise $18,000 for Sherry to help pay off her entire legal debt to Zeidenberg. Our event didn't raise enough money. However, EF still cut a check of $18,000. Zeidenberg was honored and got his fees paid. Ms. Chen got her debt relieved. A win-win. :-) :-) :-)
d) How to take the first concrete step?
That depends on YOU. Many of our readers are lawyers. Others are parents of AsAm lawyers. There are also prominent AsAm legal organizations. Of which NAPABA (Nat'l Asian Pacific Am. Bar Assoc.) is perhaps the largest. We look to leaders of NAPABA and all other AsAms with legal connections to comment on our Poster Board to help us turn this dream into reality. We can't do it alone. We need YOUR help.
Lawyers & parents of lawyers are urged to post views here.