Tea & Justice: Defying Stereotypes, Changing Law Enforcement


Committed to creating a bridge between the Asian community and the police, 20-year-old college student Agnes Chan, immigrant daughter of a Chinatown seamstress, became NYPD's first Asian woman officer in 1980.

Rookie Christine Leung was insulted by a middle-aged Caucasian woman: “I'm paying taxes for a little shit like you!”

Trish Ormsby worked for a Japanese Wall Street firm and had to serve tea to her male bosses. She quit in disgust and became a cop.

In TEA & JUSTICE, Officer Ormsby and Detectives Chan and Leung share stories about their careers, their personal lives, the stereotypes they defied and how they persevered. Intrigued by the image of Asian women in a non-traditional career, filmmaker Ermena Vinluan explores her own mixed feelings about cops while honoring the challenges these women embraced and the changes they accomplished.

TEA & JUSTICE includes interviews with ordinary New Yorkers and anti-police abuse activists — some of whom believe that reducing police abuses will require hiring more women cops, since they tend to avoid using excessive force.

The film's humorous cartoons, lively graphics and original music enhance the three women's stories and its complex look at race, gender and power.

Photo credit:
Ann Fremont Smith