Hello Members by Jennifer Chow

Letter to the Editor: A response to the October 2015 issue

Hello Members by Jennifer Chow

I usually read BarTalk in my office in downtown Vancouver when it arrives in its pristine plastic wrapping. I flip through the glossy pages and dwell on anything that catches my eye. I received my October issue electronically on my laptop at the Harvard Law Library, where I spend most of my time in pursuit of an LL.M. this year.

I will never forget the first thing I saw when I opened the link: it was a message from the new CBABC President, Jennifer Chow. This message from the President was unforgettable to me for two reasons.

One, Ms. Chow is the first visible minority president of CBABC. Female. Asian. Spunky. A beacon of inspiration for young female Asian lawyers like myself. Personification of a sea of change in a city known as the most “Asian” outside Asia, where a million ethnically Asian residents walk the streets, and zero sit on the Court of Appeal Bench.

Two, Ms. Chow embraces diversity as “the new gold standard.” She cherishes “every colour of the rainbow.” She celebrates PRIDE and Hello Kitty! Born in China, raised in New Zealand, and educated in Canada, I had never, before that moment, been more proud to be Canadian. Having now lived for four months in the nation of Campus Gun Carry, Ms. Kim Davis, and the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act of 2015, I cannot wait to get home to Canada.

Ms. Chow is absolutely correct that the new generation of lawyers holds high expectations. We expect to work in a society of inclusion. We expect to practise in a community of equality. We expect to live in a country that prides itself on its ability and compassion to help those in dire need – those who, by no fault of their own, were not lucky enough to be born, raised or educated in this great country of ours. We, as the most privileged members of this inclusive society, must advocate against Mr. Trump’s outlandish remarks, the SAFE Act and similar attempt at exclusion, in favour of safety and acceptance for our Syrian counterparts. There is a lot that we, individually as lawyers and collectively as the legal community, can do to assist these people in dire need. Groups of five or more can sponsor a refugee or a family of refugees to come to Canada. Many aid agencies are receiving donations. We are a helping profession and these people need our help now.

                — Yun Li-Reilly

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