PABA YEAR IN REVIEW
With the COVID-19 pandemic, and with social justice issues showing us that we can all do better to stand up against hate in all forms, the Philippine American Bar Association (PABA) pivoted much of its programming to address top concerns during these unprecedented times. In 2021, PABA continued to fulfill its mission to foster the professional growth of its members, to sponsor and encourage service to the Filipino American community, to develop and sustain cooperation with other legal and community organizations, and to provide a unified voice for its members regarding social, economic, and legal matters affecting the Filipino American community.
In furthering its mission in 2021, PABA has not only served the Filipino American community, but also the greater Asian American Pacific Islander community, both locally and nationally, by encouraging and sponsoring public service.
PABA’s 2021 Community Service Efforts
- April 8, 2021: PABA hosted a virtual group discussion, Let’s Talk About the Rise in AAPI Hate, a Decompression Session to discuss the recent hate crimes perpetrated against the AAPI community. The forum was a safe space for everyone to speak and share their experiences, fears, anger, and frustrations.
- May 18, 2021: PABA partnered with the Los Angeles County Department of Health and other community-based organizations for a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic held at the Los Angeles Downtown Medical Center aimed at vaccinating residents of Historic Filipinotown, an area of Los Angeles experiencing low vaccination rates.
- May 22, 2021: PABA was a community partner with the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Department of Public Works for a Community Day of Service in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The Community Day of Service focused on cleaning AAPI neighborhoods within Los Angeles, including Koreatown, Little Bangladesh, Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Thai Town, and Historic Filipinotown. Many PABA members and their families picked up brooms and shovels to pick up trash and beautify the streets of Historic Filipinotown.
- August 19, 2021: PABA cosponsored a program Alamin ang Inyong Karapatan, a Virtual Discussion on Migrants’ and Workers’ Rights hosted by the Philippine Consulate General’s Office, with Board Member Marlon Baldomero appearing with Consul General Edgar B. Badajos and Pilipino Workers Center Aquilina Soriano Versoza, to discuss criminal and immigration rights of Filipino migrants.
- From April to October 2021, PABA partnered with the City of Los Angeles on a six-month virtual Know Your Rights series. During each of the six sessions, PABA President-Elect Adrian Roxas discussed victim and bystander legal rights, reporting, and resources on how to stop and prevent hate in our communities, and PABA President Abigail Zelenski discussed rights and reporting resources for discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Each month, they were also joined by the Los Angeles Police Department and special guest speakers who discussed rights of those who experienced or witnessed hate crimes and hate incidents.
- April 15, 2021: PABA teamed up with LA Public Works Commissioner Jessica Caloza and LAPD Deputy Chief Blake Chow, with a focus on resources for the local Filipino American community.
- June 29, 2021: PABA teamed up with Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang and Chief Chow, with a focus on resources for the LGBTQ+ community.
- July 27, 2021: PABA teamed up with LA Human Relations Commissioner Stacey Twiley, retired Judge David Wesley, who works with the Parents, Educators, & Students in Action (PESA), and Chief Chow, with a focus on resources for children in elementary, middle, and high schools.
- August 31, 2021: PABA teamed up with LA City Human Relations Commission Brooke Wirtschafter, Anti-Defamation League investigative researcher Emily Kaufman, and Chief Chow, with a focus on resources for the Jewish community.
- September 28, 2021: PABA teamed up with LA City Councilmember Gil Cedillo, LA Civil Rights Commission President Araceli Campos, Pilipino Workers Center Executive Director Aquilina Soriano Versoza, and LAPD Commander Ruby Flores, in recognition of Filipino American History Month and Latinx Heritage Month.
- October 26, 2021: PABA teamed up with Umar Hakim from the ILM Foundation, attorney Amjad Khan, and Chief Chow with a focus on resources for the American Muslim community.
- PABA participated in various in-person Stop AAPI Hate rallies throughout Southern California with PABA members attending in solidary.
- March 27, 2021: PABA President Abigail Zelenski marched with the Los Angeles Civil Rights Department at the Rally in Support of Stop Asian Hate in Koreatown in Los Angeles.
- March 27, 2021: PABA Board Members Pam Palpallatoc and Jonathan Cruz marched at a Community Rally denouncing hate against the AAPI community.
- March 28, 2021: PABA President-Elect Adrian Roxas spoke at the Stop AAPI Hate Carson Community Rally at Carson City Hall.
- April 3, 2021: Abigail spoke at the Filipino Lawyers of Orange County’s Rally for Solidarity to Stop Asian Hate in Fountain Valley, California and Board Members Pam Palpallatoc and Josephine Brosas joined in the community’s efforts to combat AAPI hate.
- April 10, 2021: Abigail spoke at Asians in America’s Rally to Fight for Asian American Studies in Our Schools in Koreatown.
- June 19, 2021, Adrian and PABA Foundation Chairperson Sandy Roxas joined Cerritos residents in a community walk as a sign of solidarity in support of Cesar Echano, a Filipino-American who was brutally attacked at a park in Cerritos.
- June 26, 2021: PABA Treasurer Josephine Brosas, Board Member Jonathan Cruz, and Adrian joined a Stop Asian Hate rally in Cerritos to show further support for Mr. Echano.
PABA’s 2021 Professional Growth, Mentorship, and Networking Efforts
On April 6, 2021, PABA held its 34th Annual Installation and Awards Gala, virtually, with honorees the Honorable Teresa Magno for Distinguished Jurist, Mia Yamamoto for Trailblazer, Toni Jaramilla for Distinguished Advocate, and Jessica Caloza for Community Champion. Especially during these times, PABA was proud to recognize four Asian American women whose accomplishments have greatly helped our communities.
This year’s Gala raised an unprecedented $28,000 in scholarship funds to award to twenty-one deserving law students and recent graduates. The event was well-attended by over 200 “live” guests who logged on virtually to celebrate our awardees and our scholarship recipients.
With over 250 current members, including over 80 lifetime members, as well as over 430 non-members who subscribe to PABA’s newsletter, PABA has also continued to foster the growth of its members through programming, mentorship, and networking.
- In February 2021, PABA launched its three-month virtual Entertainment Law Series, Fil-Ams in the Biz: A 3-Episode Limited Series on Lawyers Working in the Entertainment Industry.
- February 25, 2021: This episode focused on Production Companies and Streaming Service Companies featuring Joy de Guzman, Business and Legal Affairs at Netflix, Ben Hofileña, Business and Legal Affairs at Netflix, Camille Rustia, Business Affairs at Apple, and Michelle van Oppen, Litigation Counsel at ViacomCBS.
- March 25, 2021: This episode focused on Sports, E-Sports, and Digital Media featuring Lauriebeth Bugawan, Senior Product & Technology Counsel at Pandora, Alan Enriquez, Senior Counsel at Activision Blizzard, Rhean Fajardo, Associate General Counsel at Oakland Athletics, and Elywill Paja, Associate General Counsel at Webtoon.
- April 29, 2021: This episode focused on Outside Firms Who Service the Entertainment Industry featuring Maribeth Annaguey, named Partner at Browne George Ross O’Brien Annaguey & Ellis, Philip Nulud, Senior Counsel at Buchalter, Ernie Ocampo, Partner at Reed Smith, and Zathrina Perez, Associate at Gibson Dunn.
- May 27, 2021: In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, PABA hosted Fil-Ams on the Bench: Celebrating Filipino-American Judicial Officers in Southern California featuring fourteen judicial officers representing the Counties of Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Ventura, and the Ninth Circuit of Appeals, including (in alphabetical order), Hon. Patrick J. Bumatay, Hon. Michael M. Castillo, Hon. Lisa Mangay Chung, Hon. Winston S. Keh, Hon. Bernie C. LaForteza, Hon. Godofredo (O.G.) Magno, Hon. Teresa P. Magno, Hon. Ricardo R. Ocampo, Hon. Rafael A. Ongkeko, Hon. Julian C. Recana, Hon. Sheila O. Recio, Hon. May Santos, Hon. Deborah C. Servino, Hon. Rob B. Villeza, and Hon. Rohanee A. Zapanta.
- June 7, 2021: PABA President Abigail Zelenski, President-elect Adrian Roxas, and Board Members Marlon Baldomero, Pam Palpallatoc, Ernie Ocampo, Phil Nulud, and Maridex Abraham formally met with the Philippine Consulate General’s Office to discuss ways on how PABA can help migrant Filipinos and Filipino Americans, including collaborations on future legal seminars on immigration rights, family law, criminal law, and employment law.
- September 11, 2021: PABA held its Annual Summer BBQ safely outdoors. The flagship event was attended by over 80 guests, including judges, students, and attorneys, who enjoyed breathtaking ocean views and delicious Filipino food generously sponsored by Adrian and Sandy Roxas.
- October 2021: PABA virtually celebrated Filipino American History Month with month-long features on social media and e-newsletters on PABA members past and present, including the late Jose Lauchengco, Judge Mel Red Recana and Judge Julian Recana, and Emma Hilario.
- November 9, 2021: PABA held its Annual Career Night and Networking Event featuring a panel of practitioners who were eager to share their diverse backgrounds and experiences in big law, government, civil rights, and administrative law. The esteemed panel included LA County Public Defender Eden Zabala, Lewis Brisbois Partner Pam Palpallatoc, Administrative Law Judge Tiffany Nocon, Kiesel Law Associate Melanie Palmer, and Stubbs Alderton Associate Alexander Manglinong.
- December 9–11, 2021: PABA members gathered at the NAPABA Annual Convention to learn and network with AAPI attorneys from around nation in Washington, D.C., which culminated in a big celebration during the Gala honoring Roxas Law as APA-Owned Law Firm of the Year.
- November/December 2021: PABA partners with UCLA Pre-law Pilipinx (3P) to create a formal mentorship program partnering up practicing attorneys with college students.
The year ahead…PABA looks forward to furthering its mission in serving the Filipino American community in 2022! Our work could not be possible without your support!