Education and social justice have long been core pillars of Proskauer’s commitment to public service. Despite the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, our corporate social responsibility programs have enabled lawyers and business services professionals throughout the Firm to connect with student groups across the country for engaging, interactive workshops focusing on college and career readiness topics. Expanding that mission, this week we are pleased to launch a new partnership with the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) and its “Learn and Earn” youth-focused programming.
Founded in 1965, CPC empowers Asian American, immigrant, and low-income communities in New York City by ensuring they have equitable access to the resources and opportunities needed to thrive. Today, CPC is the nation’s largest Asian American social services organization, supporting 60,000 individuals and families. The “Learn and Earn” program is a year-round afterschool enrichment program for high school juniors and seniors. Youth are actively engaged in leadership development, college preparedness, career exploration, community service, internships, and more.
In collaboration with CPC’s leadership and youth-programming staff, we chose to launch our new partnership this month, in recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Our workshops with CPC’s students will continue throughout the summer. For our first session, Pro Bono Partner Bill Silverman moderated a conversation with three Proskauer associates, Bowon Koh, Scott Tan and Annie Zhang which centered on social justice and the intersection of diversity, public service and careers in corporate law.
The panelists shared their own career trajectories and their commitment to social justice, and also addressed the recent rise in hate against the AAPI community. The take away messages from all of our panelists was to be proud of who you are, to seek help when needed, and to view life’s challenges as opportunities for growth. “You don’t have to do it alone,” Scott Tan shared. “It’s okay to seek support and guidance from your friends, family, teachers, and community, just as I rely every day on my colleagues at Proskauer.”
With more than 75 students tuning in, we recognize that many students in the audience have likely faced immense hardships over the past year. We hope that the conversation with our panelists helped illuminate that success in education and career pursuits is attainable while also embracing every facet of one’s identity and heritage. “I hope they always remember that they should not be afraid of failures and hardships since those will only make them stronger and wiser,” says Bowon Koh. “If they learn from it and keep moving forward, that they can become anyone they want to be.”
We are excited to continue our new partnership with CPC and to support these students in their individual journeys. While we as a Firm are deeply concerned by the recent rise in hate against the AAPI community, we are grateful to our nonprofit partners like CPC that continue to provide crucial services and support to our AAPI neighbors in need.