APALA-NJ'S Statement on George Floyd and the Fight Against the Criminalization of the Black Community


May 30, 2020


NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – Many of us simply want things to go back to “normal” as a global pandemic and economic crisis looms and upsets everything we know. We cannot go back to “business as usual” without systemic changes in our criminal justice system, workplaces, homes, schools and recreational spaces. For many Americans “normal” means being explicitly or implicitly targeted, based on the color of your skin and on account of your race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or ability– whether it be wearing a facemask in public, shopping at Walmart, jogging in your neighborhood, bird watching in the park, or being placed under arrest. Normal should not and cannot be a handcuffed, unarmed black man dying face down on the street under the knee of a police officer. In America. In 2020.

This is a systematic failure to protect black lives.

The Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ) stands in solidarity with George Floyd, his family, the black community, and all those fighting to end racism and hate. We cannot and will not remain silent and ostensibly complicit in police brutality against black and brown lives. As lawyers, we learn about the importance of criminal procedure, due process, and probable cause.  In order for there to be systemic change, we must not only call on the legislature or the highest court of the land, but also within our own communities.

We cannot simply condemn such obvious injustices, but must do more. As Angela Davis said, “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be antiracist.” We must have honest discourse with people of all races and ethnicities. We must ask ourselves in public and in private "what have I done to help end racism?" And it is time for all of us to have an answer other than "nothing." Although Black and Asian solidarity is deeply rooted in American history, it often goes unnoticed. APALA-NJ is not a monolithic group. Even within our executive board, we have an officer who is Latina and a director who is a mother of a black daughter. What happened to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Ahmaud Arbery, Atatiana Jefferson, and Christian Cooper not only can happen to our friends and colleagues but also our own families. 

APALA-NJ joins in the fight to stop the criminalization and commodification of black bodies.  APALA-NJ further joins those calling for a systemic reform on the use of deadly force by law enforcement agencies, and increased review of discriminatory practices that infer racial bias. We must fundamentally change our broken system.

APALA-NJ holds this truth to be self-evident that all persons are created equal. We pledge ourselves with a renewed sense of urgency to work alongside our friends and colleagues in other affinity bar associations, in the New Jersey State Bar Association, to make that truth reality.

APALA-NJ, founded in 1985 and incorporated in 1993, is the largest specialty bar association that collectively represents the interests of Asian Pacific American lawyers in the State of New Jersey.



June 5, 2020


Newark, New Jersey – Gov. Phil Murphy formally announced his first pick for the New Jersey Supreme Court since taking office. And it is a historic one.

Today, Murphy nominated Fabiana Pierre-Louis, a partner at Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads, to be the next Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. If confirmed by the Senate, Pierre-Louis will be the first black woman, and the first Haitian-American to sit on the state’s highest court. The Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ) fully and wholeheartedly supports Pierre-Louis’s nomination and believes this is the right step towards a more diverse judiciary. New Jersey is strong and prides itself on its diversity as one of the most racially and ethnically diverse communities, including people of color and immigrants; it is time our Supreme Court reflects the diversity of the state. APALA-NJ is proud to stand witness to history.

At only 39, Pierre-Louis’s accolades are extensive and speak for themselves. She is a graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick and earned her law degree from Rutgers Law School, magna cum laude. Following law school, she clerked for Justice John Wallace Jr. (ret.). From there, she went to Montgomery McCracken before moving to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey in 2010. In 2012, she moved to the Trenton office and would be the first woman of color to be Attorney-in-Charge of the office. In 2018, she became the first woman of color to serve as Attorney-in-Charge of the Camden office. She supervised all aspects of criminal matters: criminal trials, investigations and prosecutions of large-scale mail and wire fraud offenses, healthcare and government fraud matters, and narcotics, firearms, and violent crime offenses. She also investigated and prosecuted her own caseload, focusing on public corruption matters, federal narcotics offenses, export control violations, defense contracting fraud, national security matters, and child exploitation offenses. In addition to working in both Trenton and Camden, Pierre-Louis worked in the Newark Office in the General Crimes Unit and the Organized Crime and Gang Unit.

“I am a Black woman. I am the child of immigrants from Haiti. I am someone who is a first generation American citizen here in this country, [the] first person in my family to attend law school, to become a lawyer, someone who’s also lived in a variety of inner cities throughout my life, beginning with my early childhood in Brooklyn, then followed by the remainder of my childhood in Irvington, New Jersey,” Pierre-Louis is quoted as saying to Essence Magazine. “All those experiences bring a unique perspective to the Court that currently is not there.”

APALA-NJ, founded in 1985 and incorporated in 1993, is the largest specialty bar association that collectively represents the interests of Asian Pacific American lawyers in the State of New Jersey.


APALA-NJ's 2020-2021 Officers and Directors Virtually Sworn in

On May 28, 2020, APALA-NJ's officers and board of directors were installed at the Annual Meeting and Elections via Zoom. The Honorable Zahid N. Quraishi, U.S.M.J. for the District of NJ, Trenton Vicinage administered the oathvof office.

President - Jenny Chung
President-Elect - Qing Guo
VP of Membership - Gregory Yen, RPh, Esq
VP of Communications - Janice V. Arellano
Secretary - Ashwath Trasi
Treasurer - Punam Alam
Board of Directors: Arupa Barua, Esq., Bo Han, Irene Hsieh, Sudha Raja and Richard Ramones

Officer Elections 2020 - Candidate Statements

Click a name below to view the Candidate's statement (PDF format):




For President-Elect

For Vice-President of Membership

For Vice-President of Communications

For Treasurer

For Secretary

For Directors