June 11, 2007
Written by C.N.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the murder of Vincent Chin. For those who aren’t yet familiar, he was a Chinese American living in Detroit, MI in 1982. The night before his wedding at a local bar, he got into a confrontation with two White autoworkers who mistook him for Japanese and blamed him for the recession in the auto industry at the time. These two men subsequently bludgeoned Vincent to death with a baseball bat.
The second part of the tragedy was that neither man spent one day in jail for his murder, as Vincent’s case galvanized the entire Asian American community against institutional discrimination in the criminal justice system and systematic discrimination against Asian Americans in general. Many scholars point out that the modern pan-Asian American identity was solidified by the events surrounding Vincent Chin’s murder, as Asian Americans finally saw that hatred directed against any Asian group could easily be directed at them as well.
Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, a small grassroots organization who nonetheless recently conducted a telephone conference with John Edwards’ wife and were featured in a Christian Science Monitor article, is one group who is commemorating the anniversary by holding several town hall meetings across the country. One of their co-founders, Curtis Chin, sent me the following announcement:
These five cities have confirmed. There are another five who will be doing something as well. The event will be a screening of Who Killed Vincent Chin, to be followed by a panel on hate crimes.
1) Date/Time – June 19, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
2) Location – MOCA (70 Mulberry Street, 2nd Floor)
3) Panelists – John Liu (New York City Councilman), Debra Ouyang (staff attorney, AALDEF/ Executive Vice President, OCA), Darwin Davis (President and CEO, New York Urban League)
4) Co-sponsors – Museum of Chinese in the Americas, grooted.org
5) Organizers – Nancy Bulalacao & Ron Kim
GRAND RAPIDS, MI
1) Date/Time – June 19, 6:00-8:00 PM
2) Location – St. Mary Magdalen Family Center, 1213 52nd St., Kenwood
3) Panelists – Dan Levy (Chief Legal Officer, Michigan Dept. of Civil Rights) Pravina Ramanathan (Asian American Liaison, Michigan Dept. of Civil Rights), Ingrid Scott-Weekly (Director, City of Grand Rapids Equal Opportunity Dept.)
4) Co-sponsors – Asian Victims Relief Fund
5) Organizers – Christina Fong
1) Date/Time – June 20, 6:30 – 9:30 PM
2) Location – Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, 800 South Halsted, Chicago
3) Panelists – Bill Yoshino (Midwest Director, JACL), Diana Lin (Attorney), Myron Quon (Legal Director, Asian American Institute)
4) Co-sponsors – Japanese American Citizens League, Organization of Chinese Americans
5) Organizers – Theresa Mah
1) Date/Time – June 23, 10:30 AM
2) Location – Martin Luther King Jr. Library, 901 G. Street (Chinatown)
3) Moderator – Eric Byler (director, Americanese and Charlotte Sometimes)
4) Co-sponsors –
5) Organizers – Clarence Tong, Ha Hoa Dang
1) Date/Time – June 24, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
2) Location – Japanese American National Museum
3) Panelists – Hamid Khan (Executive Director, South Asian Network), Stewart Kwoh (Executive Director, APALC), Robin Toma (Executive Director, LA County Human Relations Commission), Renee Tajima (Director, “Who Killed Vincent Chin?”)
4) Co-sponsors – National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, South Asian Network, Muslim Public Affairs Council
5) Organizers – Vivien Hao
Kudos to the organizers and participants of these town hall meetings and their efforts to keep Vincent Chin’s memory alive and well, and to everyone out there who is still involved in the fight for justice and equality for Asian Americans.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Marking 25th Anniversary of Vincent Chin’s Death" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2007/06/marking-25th-anniversary-of-vincent-chins-death/> ().
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