More than 100 people gathered at the Chinese Community Center in Madison Heights, near Detroit, for speeches and personal recollections about Vincent Chin, 27, who was celebrating his upcoming wedding with pals when he was attacked and killed in Ferndale because of his race. Instead of going to a wedding in June 1982, Chin's family went to his funeral.
"If you're below 40, you were in grade school when this happened. If you are below 30, it's not part of your existence," said Jim Shimoura, a Detroit-area lawyer. "The case has almost reached the status of an urban legend. Right now, it's not just cars, it's the entire economy that seems to be under threat. Any of us, even in 2012, could just as easily be targeted just as Vincent was 30 years ago."
The success of Japanese automakers in the U.S. had stirred hostility against imported cars and Asians. Two men, including an autoworker, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Chin's death and were placed on probation, a sentence that outraged Asian-Americans.
"When my teachers said, 'Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you,' I knew they were exactly wrong," said Frank Wu, a Detroit-area native and dean of Hastings law school at the University of California. "The words lead to the sticks and stones. The killing of Vincent Chin and the aftermath made all that clear."
1982 killing of Vincent Chin remembered » Michigan » Traverse City Record-Eagle
30th anniversary of Vincent Chin's death marked - San Jose Mercury News