March 5, 2015
HNBA Contact: Alba Cruz-Hacker (202) 223-4777
NAPABA Contact: AuriaJoy Asaria (202) 775-9555
NBA Contact: Pamela J. Meanes (314) 552-6349
NNABA Contact: Mary Smith (202) 236-0339

Bars of Color Leaders Meet With White House Officials and Congressional Representatives to Address Issues Affecting Communities of Color

WASHINGTON - This week, the Coalition of Bar Associations of Color (CBAC) gathered in Washington, DC, for its Annual Meeting. CBAC's leaders discussed key issues affecting communities of color, including immigration reform, racial profiling, and judicial vacancies. This year's Annual Meeting included visits with key executive branch officials and members of Congress, including Senator Chuck Grassley, Deputy Assistant and Deputy Counsel to the President Christopher Kang, Special Assistant to the President for Immigration Policy Felicia Escobar, and high-level staffers from the offices of Senators Harry Reid and Patrick Leahy.

CBAC was established in 1992 and is comprised of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the National Bar Association (NBA), and the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA). CBAC meets annually every spring so that leaders from its member organizations can discuss issues of mutual concern and advocate in support of their shared interests.

"Working with other bars of color to promote positive change in our communities, diversity in the judiciary, and diversity in the legal profession in general is a great way to strengthen our voice," said Cynthia Mares, president of HNBA. "We call on Congress to move forward in passing immigration reform."

"It is a priority for NAPABA to work with our sister bars in the Coalition of Bar Associations of Color," said George C. Chen, president of NAPABA. "I was proud to host this year's annual meeting of national bar leaders, and to advocate together on issues affecting all of our communities. We are grateful to the Senators and Administration officials who met with us to hear our concerns, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with them in the future."

"Certainly, the African American community faces issues that are truly unique, and we continue to strive to address those issues. However, it's an indisputable fact that communities of color find commonality in a number of challenges directly related to police brutality, educational opportunity, judicial advocacy and social justice. Accordingly, it is of the utmost importance that all communities of color unify and take the necessary actions to rectify ongoing injustices in all of these areas," said National Bar Association President Pamela Meanes.

"Given the priorities of CBAC, we urge the swift confirmation of Loretta Lynch as the first woman of color who will serve as Attorney General," said Mary Smith, president of NNABA. "We also urge the nomination and confirmation of diverse candidates for the judiciary over the next year."

CBAC was established in 1992 and is comprised of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the National Bar Association (NBA), and the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA).

The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) is an incorporated, not-for-profit, national membership organization that represents the interests of the more than 50,000 Hispanic attorneys, judges, law professors, legal assistants, and law students in the United States and its territories. From the days of its founding three decades ago, the HNBA has acted as a force for positive change within the legal profession. It does so by encouraging Latino students to choose a career in the law and by prompting their advancement within the profession once they graduate and start practicing. Through a combination of issue advocacy, programmatic activities, networking events and educational conferences, the HNBA has helped generations of lawyers succeed.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and approximately 70 national, state, and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA engages in legislative and policy advocacy, promotes APA political leadership and political appointments, and builds coalitions within the legal profession and the community at large. NAPABA also serves as a resource for government agencies, members of Congress, and public service organizations about APAs in the legal profession, civil rights, and diversity in the courts.

Founded in 1925, the National Bar Association is the nation's oldest and largest national network of minority attorneys and judges. It represents approximately 60,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students and has over 80 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and around the world. The organization seeks to advance the science of jurisprudence, preserve the independence of the judiciary and to uphold the honor and integrity of the legal profession. For additional information about the National Bar Association, visit

Founded in 1973, NNABA serves as the national association for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. NNABA strives for justice and effective legal representation for all American indigenous peoples; fosters the development of Native American lawyers and judges; and addresses social, cultural and legal issues affecting American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.