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Pictured are, from left to right, Sukanya Momsen, Grace Kim, Christopher Jison, Nicole Dailo, Mayura Noordyke and Stephanie Chen
Pictured are, from left to right, Sukanya Momsen, Grace Kim, Christopher Jison, Nicole Dailo, Mayura Noordyke and Stephanie Chen

2021 Diversity & Inclusion: Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association

As violence against Asian Americans and people of color grew during the pandemic, a local legal affinity organization began promoting anti-racism programming and activism.

The Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association (MNAPABA) created an anti-racism committee with two distinct sections. “This ended up becoming a much bigger endeavor with a lot more members interested in working on these efforts than we initially realized,” said Sukanya Momsen, the association’s president and associate corporate counsel at Best Buy.

Nicole Dailo, Life Time Inc. corporate counsel and
MNAPABA vice president of outreach, worked with one section of the new committee on programming and anti-racism initiatives. Momsen worked with the other section of the committee to write statements and make decisions on funding other anti-discrimination initiatives.

Since the committee started in 2020, it has helped the organization develop statements on George Floyd’s murder, Derek Chauvin’s conviction, and violence against people of color. The committee has also held listening sessions for its members after the horrific events in Atlanta earlier this year. “I’m really hoping the group can accomplish in the coming years something that’s proactive and addresses the incidents of racist actions against Asian Americans and people of color in Minnesota,” Dailo said.

Begun in 1989, MNAPABA boasts over 300 active members. The group puts together educational and networking events, continuing education courses, and meet-and-greets. It shares news of job openings and award submissions. And it hosts a number of unique committees, from the Women’s Committee to the In-House Counsel Network.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many organizations to find ways to pivot their typical activities to the virtual world, and this was no exception for MNAPABA. But committees stayed active and MNAPABA continued to hold many Zoom events.

“We’re still here helping people create their own success stories,” Momsen said. “We’re still helping APA attorneys find jobs and mentors.”

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