National Asian Pacific American legal organization recognizes Chiu as a fierce advocate for AAPI communities
SAN FRANCISCO (December 22, 2021)—The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the nation’s largest Asian Pacific American legal organization, honored City Attorney David Chiu with its Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award at NAPABA’s 33rd Anniversary Gala on December 11. The award recognized Chiu, the first Asian American City Attorney of San Francisco, for years of successful advocacy on behalf of AAPI communities.
“This is a difficult time for Asian Americans as we grapple with the disturbing rise in hate incidents in the wake of COVID,” said City Attorney Chiu. “I was heartened to come together with so many in the legal community to recommit to lifting up Asian American voices and continuing the fight for justice. I am humbled and honored to receive this award named after an American hero, the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye.”
As a state legislator, Chiu previously served as Chair of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus and used that platform to draw early attention to the increase in hate incidents targeting Asian Americans in the wake of COVID. Under Chiu’s leadership, the Caucus fought against federal attempts to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census and to institute a “public charge” rule that would have denied permanent residency to immigrants receiving public assistance.
During his time in the California State Assembly, Chiu passed significant legislation benefiting AAPI communities, including securing an unprecedented $156 million for victims of hate incidents, expanding language access services in the state’s unemployment department, making it easier for immigrant entrepreneurs to open small businesses, protecting immigrant workers from illegal workplace ICE raids, establishing anti-retaliation protections for immigrant tenants, and increasing training resources for teachers to address bullying in classrooms.
Chiu was the first Asian American to represent the eastside of San Francisco in the state legislature, the first Asian American President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and the first Asian American to represent San Francisco’s Chinatown, the nation’s oldest and largest Chinatown.
The Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award is NAPABA’s highest honor and is given to attorneys who have made lasting contributions to the AAPI community and paved the way for the advancement of other AAPI attorneys. Chiu was recognized alongside fellow honorees Andrew T. Hahn, Sr., Louise Ing, Amy Lin Meyerson, Jay V. Prabhu, Gina Shishima, and John C. Yang. Prior award recipients include Vice President Kamala Harris, Senator Mazie Hirono, and California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.
NAPABA was founded in 1988 and is the largest AAPI membership organization in the United States. It represents over 60,000 attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students.