Here To Stay: The Asian American Immigrant Experience


NEW YORK, May 15, 2018 — Asia Society and the Asian American Bar Association of New York present firsthand accounts of immigrant journeys to the United States followed by an expert panel discussion about the immigration debate today. Storytellers included Antonio Xu Liu, Xiaodeng Chen, Stephanie Ji Won Park, and Tereza Lee. Panelists included Steve Choi, the executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, and Rose Cuison Villazor, professor of law at UC Davis. The conversation was moderated by Chris Kwok, co-chair of the Asia Practice Committee at the Asian American Bar Association of New York. (1 hr., 9 min.)

The positive impact that immigrant populations bring to their adopted countries is now well documented and widely accepted. This is perhaps most evident in the U.S., where immigration has proved a remarkable engine of economic and demographic growth. However, the current political climate and the ongoing debate on immigration reform have not only questioned these contributions but has also led to what some have described as a “criminalization” of immigrants — in a country long known as “a nation of immigrants.”

Please join Asia Society and Asian American Bar Association of New York for a special gathering to mark Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, when we will hear an array of moving personal stories and firsthand accounts of journeys to America. “Here To Stay” will present both the human impact of the modern immigrant journey, the tensions of the current moment, as well as an understanding of how these individuals are contributing to enrich the fabric of American life - just as so many have before. Personal stories will be followed by a moderated panel of experts to discuss the context of the immigration debate today.


Steve Choi

Steve Choi is Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, a coalition of nearly 200 member groups that represents New York State’s immigrant communities. He is the recipient of the 2013 New York Law Journal’s “Rising Stars” Award, the 2012 National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Best Lawyers Under 40 Award, and the Korean American Association’s “Man of the Year” Award. He also serves on the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

Xiaodeng Chen

Xiaodeng Chen is a political science student at Brooklyn College. Originally from Fujian Province of China, he arrived in the U.S. 11 years ago, and just like those who had left behind everything to build new lives in the U.S., he previously worked as delivery worker and security guard. Upon graduation, Xiaodeng hopes to work for an organization that promotes and safeguards multiculturalism.

Tereza Lee

Tereza Lee is a pianist and immigrant rights activist. She is known as the original inspiration for the DREAM Act. Tereza and Ann Monaco, the late artistic director of Merit School of Music, contacted Senator Dick Durbin to ask for help regarding her immigration status, which led him to begin working on the original version of the DREAM Act in 2001. She is currently working on her doctorate in music at the Manhattan School of Music.

Antonio Xu Liu

Antonio Xu Liu is Resource Coordinator at the National Grid, where he currently coordinates gas construction in New York City. Originally from Venezuela, he came to the U.S. with his family, who were seeking to apply for political asylum. He also volunteers for Heritage of Pride on the New York City Pride March management team as the Events and Recruitment Lead.

Stephanie Park

Stephanie Ji Won Park is Community Organizer at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Inspired by her own experiences as an undocumented DACA recipient, she works to empower other undocumented, Asian American youth through educational workshops, Know Your Rights clinics, and direct action.

Rose Cuison Villazor

Rose Cuison Villazor is Professor of Law and Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall Research Scholar at UC Davis School of Law. She teaches, researches and writes in the areas of immigration and citizenship law, property law, Asian Americans and the law, equal protection law and critical race theory.

Chris Kwok

Chris Kwok (moderator) is Co-Chair of the Issues Committee and Asia Practice Committee for the Asian American Bar Association of New York. He is a mediator with JAMS. Formerly, he was the Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator at the U.S. Equal Employment Commission in the New York District office.

This program made possible in partnership with the Asian American Bar Association of New York.

Partner Logo - AABANY

Event Details

Tue 15 May 2018
6:30 - 8 p.m.

Asia Society
725 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021

Buy Tickets
Members $8; Students/Seniors $10; Nonmembers $12
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