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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

June 19, 2012

Written by C.N.

Remembering Vincent Chin

Today, June 19, marks the 30th anniversary of the day Vincent Chin was beaten into a coma because he was Asian. As summarized in my article “Anti-Asian Racism,” Vincent Chin was a 27-year-old Chinese American living in Detroit, Michigan. On this date in 1982, he and a few friends were at a local bar celebrating his upcoming wedding. Also at the bar were two White autoworkers, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz.

Portrait of Vincent Chin

Ebens and Nitz blamed the Japanese for the U.S. auto industry’s struggles at the time and began directing their anger toward Vincent. A fight ensued and eventually spilled outside the bar. After a few minutes, Ebens and Nitz cornered Vincent and while Nitz held Vincent down, Ebens repeatedly bludgeoned Vincent with a baseball bat until he was unconscious and hemorrhaging blood. Vincent was in a coma for four days until he finally died on June 23, 1982.

Ebens and Nitz were initially charged with second degree murder (intentionally killing someone but without premeditation). However, the prosecutor allowed both of them to plea down to manslaughter (accidentally killing someone). At the sentencing, the judge only sentenced both of them to three years probation and a fine of $3,780. The sentence provoked outrage among not just Asian Americans, but among many groups of color and led to a pan-racial coalescing of groups demanding justice for Vincent.

Vincent’s supporters got the U.S. Justice Department to bring federal charges against Ebens and Nitz for violating Vincent’s civil rights. In this trial, Ebens was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in prison while Nitz was found not guilty. However, the verdicts were thrown out because of a technicality and a second trial was ordered. The defense successfully got the trial moved away from Detroit to Cincinnati OH. In this second federal trial, an all-White jury acquitted both Ebens and Nitz of violating Vincent’s civil rights.

Vincent’s death and the injustices he, his family, and all Asian Americans suffered still stand as a stark and sober reminder that, in contrast to the image of us as the “model minority” and the socioeconomic successes that we have achieved, Asian Americans are still susceptible to being targeted for hostility, racism, and violence. We only have to look at recent incidents in which Asian American students continue to be physically attacked at school, and other examples of Asian- and immigrant-bashing and White backlash to see that we as society still have a lot of work to do before Asian Americans (and other groups of color) are fully accepted as “real” or “legitimate” Americans.

The silver lining in Vincent’s case was that it was a watershed moment in Asian American history because it united the entire Asian American community like no event before. For the first time, different Asian groups began to understand that the discrimination committed against other Asians could easily be turned towards them. In other words, for the first time, Asians of different ethnicities, cultures, and nationalities united around an issue that affected them all.

As a result, the Asian American community mobilized their collective resources in unprecedented ways and Vincent’s death was the spark that led to the creation of a network of hundreds of non-profit organizations working at local, state, and national levels to combat not just hate crimes, but also other areas of inequality facing Asian American (i.e., housing, employment, legal rights, immigrant rights, educational reform, etc.). Vincent’s death has had a powerful legacy on the Asian American community — as a result of the collective action demanding justice, it contributed to the development of the “pan-Asian American” identity that exists today.

This is why it is important for all Asian Americans, and all of us as Americans, to remember Vincent Chin — to mourn the events of his death, to reflect on how it changed the Asian American community forever, and to realize that the struggle for true racial equality and justice still continues today.

June 22, 2011

Written by C.N.

Links, Jobs, & Announcements #45

Here are some more announcements, links, and job postings about academic-related jobs, fellowships, and other related opportunities for those interested in racial/ethnic/diversity issues. As always, the announcements and links are provided for informational purposes and do not necessarily imply an endorsement of the organization or college involved.

Position: Program Coordinator

Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL) is a leading, national non-profit organization working toward social justice in the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities. The organization’s mission is to champion social justice and achieve parity and empowerment for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders by supporting and mobilizing community-led movements through advocacy and leadership development on critical public health issues.

Under the supervision of the APPEAL Executive Director and Program Manager, the Program Coordinator is responsible for coordinating activities of the ADEPT Project, a data dissemination project funded by the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program and some activities of the APPEAL PROMISE Network, a national network of individuals and organizations working towards a tobacco-free AA and NHPI community. This position will include the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Compile and analyze data on AA and NHPI tobacco control and related social justice issues
  • Disseminate data on AA and NHPI tobacco control to community organizations, policymakers and ethnic and mainstream media
  • Plan, implement, monitor and troubleshoot project activities and progress
  • Assist with the production and distribution of Network materials including factsheets, toolkits and case studies
  • Provide ongoing technical assistance, support, and follow-up to partner organizations
  • Write and submit required program and documentation of progress and participate in regular communication with funders
  • Represent APPEAL at conferences, meetings and other events
  • Work effectively with diverse communities and marinating consistent communication with community partners, coalitions, and community leaders
  • Coordinate meetings and trainings with other staff and partners (e.g. scheduling, locating meeting venues, coordinating travel, etc.)
  • Commitment to the philosophy of APPEAL, to build community capacity and to provide technical assistance and training in a community competent manner
  • Other duties as requested by the Program Manager and Executive Director

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in public health or other relevant field, plus three years work experience or commensurate experience required
  • Understanding of and experience working with Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities (and other diverse communities) required
  • Experience in program coordination required
  • Ability to work effectively with cross-cultural communities. Experience working with communities of color and LGBT communities is desired
  • Ability to advocate for AA and NHPI communities on issues including those related to tobacco and its risk factors and other social justice areas
  • Strong research and analytical skills desired
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to establish positive relationships with community members and organizations required
  • Self-motivated and having the ability to balance working independently and part of a diverse team
  • Ability to multi-task, provide consistent follow-up, and prioritize effectively
  • Strong verbal communication and writing skills required
  • Proficiency with PC-based computers and Window, experience with Microsoft Office suite: Word, Excel, Outlook and Internet required, PowerPoint desired
  • Some travel may be required

Email resume and cover letter to: PCposition@appealforhealth.org Please include position title in subject line.

OR

Send resume and cover letter to: APPEAL—Program Coordinator
Hiring Committee:
300 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Ste. 620
Oakland, CA 94612

Interviews will be granted according to the qualifications of the applicant. APPEAL is an equal opportunity employer. Women and people of color are encouraged to apply.

Watch for Free: Vincent Who?

To honor the 29th anniversary of the death of Vincent Chin (June 23, 2011), an online version of “Vincent Who?” can be viewed for free. This limited-time offer (until the end of July 2011) is brought to you by Asian Pacific Americans for Progress (APAP) and the producers of “Vincent Who?”

Also on the new site is the latest touring schedule for 2011-12, more research material on the Vincent Chin case and ordering information for your very own V. Chin t-shirts from Blacklava.

Please note that this new site, vincentwhomovie.com, along with the APAP website, are the only sites affiliated with the non-profit efforts of APAP and the film’s producers, including the documentary’s writer/producer, Curtis Chin. Because there may be unaffiliated, for-profit sites, we encourage you to turn to vincentwhomovie.com and APAP.

May we continue to learn from, and honor the memory of, Vincent Chin! Thanks for your continued support!

Curtis Chin
Writer/Producer
vincentwhomovie.com