January 29, 2009


Celebrated activist noted for his work in the Asian-American community

NEW YORK-The New York State Bar Association's Committee on Civil Rights and Committee on Minorities in the Profession will present Dr. Parveen Chopra with its 12th annual Haywood Burns Memorial Award.

"As a community leader and activist, Dr. Parveen Chopra has worked determinedly to elevate and improve the status of Asian Americans and Indian Americans in the United States , New York and his adopted home of Long Island . He has a long history of partnering and driving change across a broad spectrum of political, ethnic, religious and faith traditions, which is demonstrated by the diversity of the awards he has received from the Ellis Island Medal of Honor to the Dr. Martin Luther King Award." said Civil Rights Committee Chair Fernando A. Bohorquez, Jr. of New York (Baker Hostetler LLP). "He is a fine example of Haywood Burns' lasting legacy of civil rights advocacy and we are pleased to recognize his work."

Dr. Chopra is the first Asian American to receive the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, which recognizes unheralded persons or groups working in the United Statesin the tradition of Dr. King. In addition, Dr. Chopra has been honored by One Hundred Black Men for his efforts in advancing the cause of civil rights.

Dr. Chopra serves on the board of directors of New York Civil Liberties Union - Nassau. He served for more than two decades on the Nassau County Commission on Human Rights, as vice-chair and then chair; and as president of the Asian American Coalition (a New York-based alliance representing individuals and organizations from 14 Asian countries). He also has served with distinction as Nassau County Planning Commissioner.

Dr. Chopra is a lifelong educator and professor in graduate schools of business. He holds several advanced degrees.

The Haywood Burns Memorial Award was created in 1998 and is presented annually to honor the late civil rights lawyer and academic, Dean W. Haywood Burns. Throughout his career, Burns used the legal system to address social injustice. He is best known for his work with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his defense of Attica prison rioters and black activist Angela Davis.

The award, given by the State Bar's Committee on Civil Rights, is presented to an individual, not necessarily a lawyer, who has contributed to New Yorkin a manner that reflects and honors Dean Burns' commitment to the struggle for justice and the qualities that made him an outstanding advocate for civil rights and the empowerment of the powerless.

Previous award winners are: Donna Lieberman of New York (Executive Director, New York Civil Liberties Union); Hon. Cornelius Blackshear of New York (Retired, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York); Laurie M. Lambrix of Rochester (Monroe County Legal Assistance); Leroy Wilson, Jr. of White Plains (Wilson Jacobson, P.C.); Juan A. Figueroa of New York City (Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund); Hon. Ellen M. Yacknin of Rochester (Rochester City Court); Rockwell J. Chin of New York City (New York State Division On Human Rights); Hon. Pam Badoria Jackman Brown of New York (Housing Part, New York City Civil Court); Prof. Randolph M. Scott-McLaughlin of Pace University School of Law; and John Boston of New York (Legal Aid Society).

The 76,000 member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New Yorkand the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, State Bar programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.