AAPI in New Jersey A Melville “De” Miller, Jr. Justice Series Webinar

May 31, 2023

On May 31, 2023, LSNJ presented a webinar on Asian American and Pacific Islander discrimination and other issues as part of its ongoing Melville “De” Miller, Jr. Justice series, intended to raise awareness of important social, legal, and economic justice issues.

The panel, moderated by LSNJ board member and partner at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden P.C., Jhanice V. Domingo, Esq., featured Rose Cuison-Villazor, Interim Dean and Professor of Law at Rutgers Law School; Fannie Chan Jarvis, Community Relations Specialist and AAPI Liaison at the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights; Dr. Ying Lu, Associate Professor at NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development and co-founder of E Pluribus Unum Project and; Maria Vallejo, Esq., partner at Chasan, Lamparello, Mallon and Cappuzzo. Almost 900 people were in attendance for the zoom webinar.

The panelists, all experts in their respective fields, shared their wealth of knowledge and provided their important and unique perspectives. They each gave a window into the many facets of bias and discrimination in the AAPI community and discussed actions to help lift up and address these issues. In opening remarks, LSNJ Senior Vice president Akil Roper reminded the audience that, “we must remain present and intentional.”

Attorney Domingo, who moderated the session, provided context for the AAPI discussion, including recent publicized attacks on people in the AAPI community. She then posed a series of questions to each of the panelists.

Dean Cuison-Villazor discussed AAPI history and recent scholarship; and then provided insight on the connection between AAPI discrimination, the “model minority myth,” and critical race theory. She explained the origins of exclusionary immigration and alien land laws and their lasting impacts.

Fannie Chan Jarvis discussed the role of the Division on Civil Rights in connection to enforcement of anti-discrimination laws including New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination and the Fair Chance in Housing Act. She stressed the importance of community partnership and support.

Dr. Lu discussed efforts to require AAPI history and culture to be taught in public schools, the connection to African-American history and the importance of representation in education. Through her organization, E Pluribus Unum, she promotes pluralistic education that embraces all cultures, rather than a Eurocentric “diversity” model.

Attorney Vallejo discussed the importance of representation at various levels of organizations, particularly law firms. She made the point law firms have traditionally been resistant to change.

This webinar was part of the Melville “De” Miller, Jr. Justice Series, named in honor of LSNJ’s co-founder and former president. These free events are open to the public and intended to raise awareness of important social, legal, and economic justice issues. They feature guest lecturers and members of the community who speak on topics of appeal to both lawyers and non-lawyers. Continuing credits are offered for lawyers. For information on sponsoring an upcoming Justice Series event, email [email protected].

The opinions and ideas expressed by the invited speakers, panelists, and community members are broadcast to inform and educate, to expand thought and stimulate discussion, and may not necessarily represent the position or views of LSNJ. Nothing contained herein is it meant by LSNJ to attempt to influence government decision making, enacting, changing, or removing legislation, rules, or other covered government actions, nor is it meant to encourage others to contact government officials with that position.


Additional documents (PDF format) used in the training are below: