Sunday, June 29, 2014

18MillionRising | | In Search of Justice: Another Way to Remember Vincent Chin

beautiful reflection from 18 Million Rising New Media Director Cayden Mak on the legacy of Vincent Chin--and how it could change how we define "justice."

18MillionRising | | In Search of Justice: Another Way to Remember Vincent Chin

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Vincent Chin 30, SF Bay Area, 1/3 - YouTube

From the national online townhall, coordinated by Asian Pacific Americans for Progress in 2012 on the 30th anniversary of the death of Vincent Chin
Published on Jul 31, 2012Watch the 3 part discussion + Q&A here:
In 1982, Vincent Chin was the victim of a hate crime murder in Detroit. Thirty years later, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders continue to face discrimination and bullying. In light of recent tragedies like the extreme hazing and subsequent death of Pvt. Danny Chen and the continuing effects of 9/11, what can Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders do to stand up against racism and discrimination?
Events took place around the country on June 23rd, 2012 in memory and in reflection of Vincent Chin. A national online townhall, coordinated by Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, was watched by viewers around the country:
6/23/2012: Asian Pacific Americans for Progress (SF Bay Area) and the Center for Asian American Media co-hosted the San Francisco event. APEX Express contributor R.J. Lozada moderated a panel with:
Angela Chan, Staff Attorney of the Asian Law Caucus
Vincent Pan, Executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action
Ling Woo Liu, Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute
Zahra Billoo, Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter.
The panel delves into hate crimes, the short comings of recent legislation, and how each group is working together to change the culture of law and order.
Introductions by Helen Zia (Asian American activist/author), Norman Fong (Chinatown Community Development Center, Executive Director) and Ed Lee (Mayor of San Francisco)
1 hour podcast of event from APEX Express:
Vincent Chin 30, SF Bay Area, 1/3 - YouTube

Vincent Chin Trial Recreation - APABA-DC / DOJ PanAsia - YouTube

The Asian Pacific American Bar Association in Washington DC recreates the Vincent Chin trial in 2011 (New York did it first, looking for the link now).

Vincent Chin Trial Recreation - APABA-DC / DOJ PanAsia - YouTube

from PowerPAC+

From Washington D.C. ·

Friday, June 27, 2014

Who Killed Vincent Chin? | POV | PBS

And if you haven't seen Renee Tajima-Pena and Christine Choy's Academy Award nominated documentary film, "Who Killed Vincent Chin?" that is where you should start.

On a hot summer night in Detroit, Ronald Ebens, an autoworker, killed a young Chinese-American engineer with a baseball bat. Although he confessed, he never spent a day in jail. This gripping Academy Award-nominated film relentlessly probes the implications of the murder in the streets of Detroit, for the families of those involved, and for the American justice system.
Who Killed Vincent Chin? | POV | PBS

Vincent Who? - OFFICIAL MOVIE SITE - A Film On Vincent Chin

and the more recent film about all that has happened since the case, from Curtis Chin:

Vincent Who? - OFFICIAL MOVIE SITE - A Film On Vincent Chin

Love Letter from Helen Zia!

I shared the links to 18 Million Rising's post and the #iamvincentchin Tumblr as well as all the materials here at with Helen Zia and the folks at American Citizens for Justice (ACJ) and...
Thanks so much for all the links to the final mural art and such moving testaments to Vincent, his mother and the movement to bring him justice. It all speaks to the importance of ACJ's work in advocacy and as keepers of the legacy of both Vincent and the movement that ACJ started.
Thanks to you all,
:) So let's keep working...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

more from Jon Jang:

more from jazz musician Jon Jang, reprinted with permission:
Just for the record, excuse the pun, all of the Asian American musicians who were on my recording ,Are You Chinese or Charlie Chan?, not only became leaders and recorded their first recording after this recording and the only time the five of played together, but were the same or close to the age of Vincent Chin: Glenn Horiuchi was two months older than Vincent and not on the recording, Mark Izu and Jon Jang a year apart from Vincent, Francis Wong, Fred Ho and Anthony Brown two years. It revivifies a new meaning to the statement,"It could have been me." According to Emeritus Professor Olly Wilson, the nascent awareness of institutionalizing of African American music studies came forth during a conference after the assassination of Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968.
What strikes me are the parallels between all those who were 27 at the time, and this new generation of young activists who are now 27. I'm honored and humbled to stand in between these conversations.

Blacklava V Chin (Vincent Chin) T Shirts

Do you have your V Chin T-shirt? Sure fire conversation starter. Keep telling the story throughout the year. Thanks Ryan Suda!

V Chin (Vincent Chin) Women's T Shirt

V Chin (Vincent Chin) T Shirt

V Chin (Vincent Chin) 1 inch Pin Back Button

2002 Rededication to Justice Vincent Chin T-shirt

From Emily Lawsin, image and note reprinted with permission:

Tshirt designed by Ha-Hoa Hamano for 2002 Rededication to Justice: Vincent Chin 20th Year Remembrance, a 3-day Teach-In and Pilgrimage to the Gravesite in Detroit. The face includes names of hate crime victims. Rest in Peace, Vincent Chin (5/18/1955-6/23/1982).

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Vincent Chin: Some Lessons and Legacies | Hyphen magazine - Asian American arts, culture, and politics

From Chris Fan at Hyphen magazine - Asian American arts, culture, and politics, 2012:
What we can confidently say is this: nuance would not have saved Vincent Chin. The violence Ebens inflicted on Chin was a fatal performance of how racialization always works. Indeed, the tragedy of Chin’s death is not that Ebens was mistaken. On the contrary, Ebens and Nitz made Chin Japanese. The lesson of racialization that Chin’s murder makes so utterly clear is that race doesn’t exist outside the dynamics of power and violence.
This brings me to something that has always bothered me about narrations of Chin’s murder that has to do with this point about race and power. Nearly every account of the events of June 19 mentions Ebens’ misidentification of Chin’s ethnicity. This perplexes me not only because it is so dramatically beside the point, but also because it suggests that had Ebens known the truth of Chin’s race (whatever that would mean), things might have turned out differently. Chin might still be with us. He might have married his fiancée Vicki Wong, and he might have lived into ripe old age, as Ebens has. (Nitz was killed in a motorcycle accident.) The very premise of such a claim undermines the theories of racialization and power undergirding the Asian American movement.
And yet something about this narrative convention does make sense. The necessity of calling Ebens' attribution a mistake betrays a specific ideological desire. Lurking behind the coalitional power of the Asian American label is the promise that its efficacy will one day obsolesce, and on the heels of that glorious moment, the content of the ethnicities it strategically held together would be redeemed in a kind of multicultural Utopia.
It’s a beautiful idea. An inspirational one. But the fundamental question it poses is extremely difficult to contend with: Can we construct our own racial identity?
Because race never belongs exclusively to the oppressed or the oppressor, the answer can only be a brutish "no." I'd argue, however, that one of the central legacies of Chin’s murder is that sometimes impossibility must be forced into the realm of possibility. If Chin's death and Kaufman's decision gave birth to the impossible community of Asian America, then our task now is to use all the tools at our disposal -- cultural, legal, social -- to brutishly wrench that "no" into a determined "yes." If we owe Chin anything, we owe him that.
- See more at:

Vincent Chin: Some Lessons and Legacies | Hyphen magazine - Asian American arts, culture, and politics

#IAmVincentChin: Never Forget - Project Ava

From Vanessa Teck at Project Ava:
In order to commemorate the legacy of Vincent Chin, Project Ava has partnered with Reappropriate and Fascianasians to gather stories of how Vincent Chin has impacted our friends, families, and communities.
#IAmVincentChin: Never Forget - Project Ava

letter from Stephanie Chang

Excerpted from a June 23, 2014 letter from Stephanie Chang who is running for State Representative in Michigan House District 6 (Detroit, River Rouge, Ecorse), reprinted with permission:
On this day in 1982, Vincent Chin, a Chinese American man, died four days after a brutal baseball bat beating by two white men in Highland Park.

This took place during times of heightened tension due to the struggling U.S. auto industry at the time. Instead of going to his wedding, his friends and family attended his funeral. Asian Americans across ethnic lines came together and organized for justice when they realized his attackers never served a full day in jail. The incident galvanized a pan-Asian American movement.
Learning about the details of the Vincent Chin case when I was in high school spurred me to want to become more active on civil rights and social justice issues. I wanted to learn and do more, especially across ethnic and racial lines. Reading about the case was a catalytic moment for me as a young activist. Learning about the Chin case led me to learn more about and later work on issues such as affirmative action, voting rights, education equity, and more.
Fifty years ago, several young men lost their lives in the name of freedom and the right to vote. In 1962, less than 7 percent of eligible Black voters were registered in Mississippi. Freedom Summer activists made great personal sacrifices so that all people could have the right to vote, as they worked alongside local residents in Mississippi. Volunteers organized Freedom Schools, registered voters, and more. At least four activists were killed, more were wounded, and over a thousand were arrested. I know that the rights we have today are due to the blood and tears shed by many who came before us.
Making sure that everyone has access to our country's democratic process became one passion of mine. I have registered people to vote, organized Election Day efforts in the Asian American community to protect the right to vote, testified on voting rights issues and redistricting, and met with several local clerks about translating election materials so that everyone can accurately cast their vote.

As long as there are efforts to suppress the vote, we have more work to do. I will be a strong voice for voting rights when elected to the Michigan State House.
Will you encourage 10 of your friends to vote in the August 5th primary this year?

With gratitude,

Stephanie Chang
To learn more about this Stephanie Chang's campaign, please check out

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Blog: Remembering Vincent Chin: The Passion and Agony of a Community - AALDEF

from Emil Guillermo (oh that hair!) at Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund:
Vincent Chin and I were both Asian Americans who grew up at the same time.
We were the same age. Even shared a hairstyle.
Blog: Remembering Vincent Chin: The Passion and Agony of a Community - AALDEF

Remembering the significance of the Vincent Chin case and how we keep carrying it forward:

Remembering the significance of the Vincent Chin case and how we keep carrying it forward, by Frances Kai-Hwa Wang at the State Bar of Michigan Legal 34th Milestone, 2009:
Key to this awareness and mobilization was education and media coverage--education of the Asian American community about their rights in America, education of the general public about what Asian Americans are really like, education of the legal community about whether or not Asian Americans are even covered by civil rights laws, education of elected officials about the impact of racially suggestive campaigns directed against Asian imports. Without this national mobilization, and national and international media attention, there never would have been a federal hate crime trial, and we would have been left with only Mrs. Chin's words:
"What kind of law is this? What kind of justice? This happened because my son is Chinese. If two Chinese killed a white person, they must go to jail, maybe for their whole lives & Some thing is wrong with this country."
Since then, the history of the Vincent Chin case has become a staple in Asian American Studies, Ethnic Studies, American Cultures, and law courses around the country. The Academy Award winning documentary film by Christine Choy and Renee Tajima-Pena, Who Killed Vincent Chin? has been shown to generations of college students. There have been remembrance events--vigils, dinners, conferences, poetry slams--organized around the country on the 10th, 20th, and 25th year anniversaries of Vincent Chin's death. Now there is a new documentary film produced by Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, Vincent Who? about how too many college students--who at this point are all born after 1982--do not know about this case or its importance, even as they take being Asian American and being a part of Asian American clubs and communities for granted.
Published at Harvard Kennedy School Asian American Policy Review, 2010: - AAPR.pdf

Also here at 5:48 mark Frances Kai-Hwa Wang on Role of the Media in Vincent Chin Case State Bar of Michigan Legal Milestone - YouTube At 5:48 Mark

We Are Vincent Chin #IAmVincentChin

Check out the beautiful faces and powerful voices of #IAmVincentChin curated by
Jenn Fang Reappropriate Remember 32 years of Vincent Chin with #IAmVincentChin! Help trend it! | Reappropriate,

Vanessa Teck Project Ava #IAmVincentChin: Never Forget - Project Ava,

Juliet Shen Fascinasians
on Twitter #IAmVincentChin

and at Tumblr

We Are Vincent Chin

Updated: with more links.

Vincent Chin: 30 Years Later | Bao Phi |

from Bao Phi in Star Tribune, 2012:
There is no way for me to make sense of this case. I try to write intelligently about it, and all I have is unbridled, bottomless anger. I feel provoked, to my core. That one of my earliest memories is that kids were calling me chink and I had to ask my dad what it meant. To have a lifetime of micro-aggressions and not-so-micro aggressions directed at you, stacked on top of people telling you your experience and insisting that racism doesn’t exist towards your people, and to top it all off, that people can murder you in the street in front of McDonalds and get a slap on the wrist for it. And though Vincent Chin’s tragic murder is relatively invisible, it’s horrifying to think his case is actually one of the more visible, known cases of anti-Asian violence. I feel that there is no room for love, or reason, in a world like this. I feel tired, and defeated. Stupid and useless.

Of course, if there is any bright side at all to this, it is that the memory of Chin and the blatant injustice has galvanized many Asian Americans to activism. I asked some respected Asian American activists and community workers to talk about this case for my blog.
More voices at Vincent Chin: 30 Years Later | Bao Phi |

from Roland Hwang at Vincent Chin's gravesite at dusk

from Roland Hwang, one of the founding members of  American Citizens for Justice / Asian American Center for Justice, today at #vincentchin's gravesite at dusk.

Vincent Chin is buried next to his parents, Lily and CW Hing Chin, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, 11851 Van Dyke Ave., Detroit, MI 48234-4137, section 42. (313) 921-6960.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Reflections from 18MillionRising

from 18MillionRising, reprinted with permission:

I went to Vincent Chin's grave today, cleaned it, left fruit and incense at both his and his parents' headstones.
I've been thinking a lot about you lately, brother. I'm the same age now as you were when you died, and as I grow and change, I think a lot about the impact Detroit has had on my life, and on yours. You didn't expect to be an icon for a generation of struggle, and you certainly didn't deserve to become an icon like this. I just want you to know that we remember.
And to Lily Chin: thank you for your heart and your organizing. You are missed. I hope you see that we remember your son, and you, and everything you gave us. Rest in power. - CM
Check out the good work they do at 18MillionRising | Activating Asian America

Original link: 18MILLIONRISING (I went to Vincent Chin’s grave today, cleaned it,...)

from poet Bao Phi

from poet Bao Phi, reprinted with permission:
On June 23, 1982, Vincent Chin died from wounds sustained in an attack from two racist working class white men who assaulted him, one holding him in a bear hug so the other could strike him in the head with a baseball bat, four times. As his brains leaked onto the sidewalk, Chin's last words were reportedly "it isn't fair." His wedding guests attended his funeral instead. The men who killed him to this day have not spent a day in jail nor paid any of the $3,700 fine. The judge presiding over the case said "These aren't the kind of men you send to jail."
Listen carefully: this is how white people tell you
"you can be anything you want as long as you work hard enough"
does not apply to you or your children.
If you forget, they will apply pressure
on the sidewalk, in front of witnesses.
Lily and David Chin, in laundries and restaurants, in a brush factory
worked all their lives to see their son murdered twice.
If ever I am to stand in front of a judge
to measure the dollar amount of my life
and he cannot decipher
what kind of man I am
and how I will haunt history
I will tell him
I am what I always have been:
I am a dead man.

Start Here

via Nancy Leong on Twitter (Thanks!): "Wondering who's Vincent Chin? Start here: It's important bc it's American history. HT @reappropriate #IAmVincentChin"

Interviews with Helen Zia and Jon Jang

Thanks to Francis Wong for finding this. Rick Quan's video interview of Helen Zia for the Chinese Historical Society of America touches on her role in Vincent Chin case. #iamvincentchin

Helen Zia - YouTube

And then, as an added bonus, I found this great Rick Quan video interview of Jon Jang, also for the Chinese Historical Society of America at

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Francis Wong on #iamvincentchin

From jazz musician Francis Wong, reprinted with permission:
#iamvincentchin As with so many at that time the killing of Vincent Chin and the absolution of his murderers hit close. I was 25 at the time just two years younger than Vincent. And while what seems a world away from the unemployment and challenging conditions of Detroit, I had faced many potentially violent confrontations with white male students on campus in my undergraduate years at Stanford, particularly as I was doing my political organizing around issues such as the defense of affirmative action and divestment in South Africa. Particularly scary was being accosted by a group of white men in a pick up truck as I posted flyers by myself on campus for Asian American Student Association activities. (I never did that again alone). I became acutely aware of my vulnerability and developed sensitivity for situations that could get out of hand leading to dire consequences. In the decades since, this sense of danger has not abated; facing blatant and hateful behavior on occasion in my travels as a musician in our country. Of course, while I try to be careful, this has not deterred my participation in efforts to assert our humanity in our society. The killing of Vincent Chin led to a very passionate and transformational movement that I am forever grateful to have been a part of. Especially important to me was the opportunity to have a direction in my early career as a musician playing in Jon Jang's ensembles as a means to participate in a watershed period of development in our community. Thanks for listening/reading, I know this is a little long.

Jon Jang on "Are You Chinese or Charlie Chan?" #iamvincentchin

From jazz musician Jon Jang, reprinted with permission:

My personal statement about the murder of Vincent Chin on my second recording Are You Chinese or Charlie Chan? in 1983. This is the first and only recording that has Jon Jang, Francis Wong, Fred Ho, Mark Izu and Anthony Brown. After this recording, all of the Asian American musicians on this recording made their first recording as a leader: Fred (1985), Mark (1992), Francis (1993), Anthony (1996).The confluence of different struggles such as Redress & Reparations, Vincent Chin, Pilipino national movement (Marcos passing in 1986), anti-immigrant legislation, etcJon Jang & the Pan Asian Arkestra formed in 1988.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang on Role of the Media in Vincent Chin Case State Bar of Michigan Legal Milestone - YouTube

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Executive Director American Citizens for Justice, "Role of the Media in the Vincent Chin Case and the Birth of the Asian American Civil Rights Movement" at The State Bar of Michigan's 34th Michigan Legal Milestone commemoration of the Vincent Chin Case "From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry," Friday, June 19, 2009.

Finally got this video cut and uploaded!

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang on Role of the Media in Vincent Chin Case State Bar of Michigan Legal Milestone - YouTube

Remembering Vincent Chin video from Ankur Dholakia then of Detroit News

Thanks to Ankur Dholakia, then at Detroit News, for this clip of the Vincent Chin memorial plaque installation in Ferndale, Michigan, in 2010, which includes a short summary of the case and its significance at the beginning by former American Citizens for Justice Executive Director Frances Kai-Hwa Wang (me).

Here's another video clip of the installation ceremony from WXYZ News that does not want to embed:
Video: Dec 2010 WXYZ News: Plaque honoring murdered Asian man, Vincent Chin, unveiled in Ferndale

New Vincent Chin mural in Detroit by gaiastreetart

Check out this new Vincent Chin mural being painted in Detroit by artist Gaia at Grand River Creative Corridor (on Grand River and Rosa Parks), who writes:
Still working through the first day on this piece for@grccdetroit . The primary focus of the piece is a memorial to #VincentChin who passed in 1982 in an altercation that possessed attributes of a hate crime and whose perpetrators who were given lenient sentencing in a plea bargain. Always dreamt of creating this piece, thankful to be able to finally produce it on Grand River and Rosa Parks in Detroit.
Photo by gaiastreetart

and here's the artist, Gaia:
Photo by 1xrun

UPDATE: Here's another more updated photo from grccdetroit on Instagram

Friday, June 20, 2014

We Are Vincent Chin

Check out the new site and see what folks are saying this weekend on the 32nd anniversary of the baseball bat beating death of Vincent Chin. #iamvincentchin

We Are Vincent Chin

Remember 32 years of Vincent Chin with #IAmVincentChin! Help trend it! | Reappropriate

From Jenn Fang at Reappropriate:
Yet, there are still those who have forgotten about Vincent Chin. Earlier this year, a columnist for the Detroit News published an op-ed that defended Nitz and Ebens, and blamed Chin for his own death by racial hate crime. Although the Asian American community generated a powerful series of writing refuting the Detroit writer’s revisionist history of the Chin case (including this piece by Frank Wu), the fact that a writer would write such a fallacious article thinking it would not impact an entire community of Asian Americans is proof that we cannot let Vincent Chin’s death be forgotten.

We must remind the world that Vincent Chin was us, and we are him.
Check out her call for action at: Remember 32 years of Vincent Chin with #IAmVincentChin! Help trend it! | Reappropriate

Twitter / reappropriate: Want more resources on the ...

Thanks for the tweet, Jenn Fang at Reappropriate, "Want more resources on the Vincent Chin tragedy? @fkwang curates the definitive blog.  #IAMVincentChin"

Twitter / reappropriate: Want more resources on the ...

Vincent Chin’s hate crime attack was 27 years ago today | NIKKEI VIEW: The Asian American Blog - GIL ASAKAWA'S JAPANESE AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE ON POP CULTURE, MEDIA & POLITICS

from Gil Asakawa 2009 Vincent Chin’s hate crime attack was 27 years ago today | NIKKEI VIEW: The Asian American Blog - GIL ASAKAWA'S JAPANESE AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE ON POP CULTURE, MEDIA & POLITICS

Why Vincent Chin Matters -

from Frank Wu 2012 Why Vincent Chin Matters -