Statement of Executive Director Margaret Fung, As New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo Announces Expansion of the Civil Rights Bureau
Today, AALDEF Executive Director Margaret Fung spoke at a special meeting convened by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to announce an expansion of the Civil Rights Bureau and his agenda for pursuing civil rights cases.
Fung was invited to speak about civil rights issues affecting New York’s Asian American communities. She highlighted four priority issues for the AG’s civil rights enforcement efforts:
litigating cases on behalf of low-wage Asian immigrant workers who are denied minimum wage and overtime;
new efforts to ensure that all state agencies provide language access to their services, including translated materials in several Asian languages and more multilingual staff;
in the aftermath of September 11, clear guidelines for state and local police officers to refrain from racial and ethnic profiling and selective targeting of Asian communities, especially when they are asked to collaborate with federal immigration agents; and
protecting the voting rights of language minorities when the State implements the federal Help America Vote Act, which mandates new voting machines and other election reforms.
The directors and legal staff of three other national legal organizations—Cesar Perales of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund; Theodore Shaw of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Jennifer Brown of Legal Momentum—were also invited to address the audience of over 70 civil rights, social justice and advocacy leaders and members of the Attorney General’s staff.
Fung said: We are glad that the Attorney General recognizes the importance of developing a strong civil rights agenda that addresses the concerns of New York’s growing Asian American communities. We hope that today’s meeting is the beginning of an ongoing dialogue between the Attorney General and the civil rights community.
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