Dean Camille Nelson, Assistant Budget Director Justina Chu, and the law school’s Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA) were honored with a special appreciation award by the Harry H. Dow Legal Assistance Fund during the organization’s 29th Anniversary celebration. See more photos from the event.
Since its inception in 1985, more than 1,000 Asian immigrant women have received comprehensive legal assistance through the Fund’s Asian Battered Women Project. The Fund’s Community Internship Project has supported dozens of bilingual and bicultural college and law students who have assisted clients with employment, housing, immigration, benefits and family law issues.
In Spring 2014, Jessie Yip ’15, Sarah May ’14, Dominic J. Yee ’15, and Cynthia Siu ’14, representatives from Suffolk Law’s APALSA, with the leadership of Dean Nelson and Justina Chu, established the Harry H. Dow Memorial Scholarship Award and Lecture Series. Maria Sing-Yi Hwang ’16, an aspiring immigration attorney serving victims of domestic or workplace abuse, was presented with the first Fund scholarship this fall.
The keynote speaker at the Fund dinner, Vijay Prashad, a professor of International Studies at Trinity College, and a prolific author, spoke on "Predicaments of a Post-Tax Society--Black Bodies, Broken Worlds."
"What money goes to interface between the people and the State is toward police and prisons," Prashad said. "Three quarters of those who entered jail in the past two decades came for non-violent drug offences. The scandal of the US jail expansion is this: that prisons have become the holding pens for the chronically unemployed population. Ferguson's depleted municipal budget has come to rely more and more on levies generated by such things as traffic fines (the second highest item in its revenue stream). In 2013, the police issued 32,975 arrest warrants to Ferguson's population of only 21, 135. The police write tickets to people for harmless infractions. These tickets come with high fines, which are priced beyond the poverty wages in the city (the poverty rate is at 20 percent). When these tickets are not paid, the police issue arrest warrants and put the population into the prison pipeline. The population is not a part of society; it is seen as a threat to law and order."
On Harry H. Dow: "He never sought accolades."
At the inaugural ceremony of the Harry H. Dow Lecture series in March 2014, Frederick Dow, an Asian studies scholar and senior investigator with the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, presented a slide show and narrative of his father Harry's life.
Harry H. Dow ’29 was accepted for admission to Suffolk Law in 1925 by the school’s founder Gleason Archer. In 1929, Dow became the first Chinese American to be admitted to the bar in Massachusetts. Frederick Dow spoke of his father's strong family upbringing and military service in World War II as a captain in the Army Intelligence Corps, and later his service in Korea; and his success in the 1940s and 1950s running a law firm focusing on immigrant issues in Boston and New York City.
Fredrick Dow also described the bitter racial discrimination that drove his father from his New York practice in the 1950s, and his father’s cheerful resilience. After Harry Dow retired from the law in 1965, he spent the next two decades as an activist and mentor in Boston’s Chinatown, and as a role model for Suffolk lawyers taking up cases during the civil rights movement. Through it all, his son said, Dow remained a modest and energetic man whose mission was to champion the poor, the diverse and the elderly, and who never sought or expected honors and accolades. “These are the fortunes of my father,” Frederick Dow said. “He would have been humbled by these gestures.”
Suffolk Law Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Ilene Seidman teared up when she recalled Dow’s impact on her early career, recalling how he “understood and valued our work” and gave her and other young lawyers “a moral compass.”