Vincent Chin 30: Standing Up Then and Now

Scene of the Crime, Detroit. Vacant since the murder.

Vincent Chin 30: Standing Up Then and Now

A nationwide Google Hangout* townhall with leading civil rights leaders from around the country

Saturday, June 23, 2012
2 pm EST/11 am PST/8 am HST

featuring Congressmember Judy Chu (CA-32), CAIR-SF Executive Director Zahra Billoo

OCA Executive Director Tom Hayashi, Asian American Justice Center Executive Director Mee Moua and more

Guest Moderator Phil Yu of Angry Asian Man

VC30, presented by APAs for Progress:

In 1982, Vincent Chin was the victim of a hate crime murder in Detroit (check out a previous BCB post for more info on a documentary about this story). Thirty years later, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders continue to face discrimination and bullying. In fact, more than half of Asian Americans report being bullied in the high school class room, the highest of any racial group. In light of recent tragedies like the suicide 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?

Please join APAs for Progress for a one-hour panel discussion with leading voices from the nonprofit, legal and judicial communities to address these timely issues. Viewing parties have been organized in more than 20 cities and individuals can tweet in questions at #VC30. To host a party, all you need is an internet connection, a screen and comfortable seating. Contact APAs for Progress to see how you can be involved.

Viewing parties and cities include: Albany • Atlanta • Austin • Binghamton, NY • Boston • Chicago • Cleveland • Corvallis, OR • Denver • Detroit • Grand Rapids, MI • Hartford, CT • Houston • Ithaca •  Los Angeles • Lowell, MA • Minneapolis • Morgantown, WV • New York • Philadelphia • Phoenix • Raleigh • Sacramento • San Francisco • Seattle • Washington D.C. • Wichita, and more. To join a viewing party, go here.

And get your special limited edition 30th anniversary V. Chin t-shirts available for a limited time, from Blacklava here.

* For more information on Google Hangout, please check out these links: (hangouts on Air Manual)


View “Vincent Who?” Online

To honor the 29th anniversary of the death of Vincent Chin (June 23), an online version of Vincent Who? is available for free viewing.  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 the film via a new website:

Also on the new site is the touring/screening schedule for 2011-12, more research material on the Vincent Chin case, and ordering information for V. Chin t-shirts from blacklava.

I had a chance to check out a community screening of Vincent Who? a couple months ago (see review here), and I highly, HIGHLY recommend you watch the film. It’s online and free, so you have no excuse!

May we continue to learn from and honor the memory and legacy of Vincent Chin.

Thanks Curtis!

Vincent Who?

Earlier this week, I attended a screening of Vincent Who? in South Seattle. Even though I knew a bit about the Vincent Chin incident, I’m so glad that I went — the film was amazingly worthwhile and really illuminated the impact this tragic hate crime had on mobilizing the pan-Asian movement.

Vincent Chin was a Chinese American from Detroit,  murdered in 1982 by two white autoworkers who mistook who him for Japanese. Disgruntled by layoffs caused by what they perceived as a Japanese takeover of the auto industry, they followed Vincent out of a club and beat him with a baseball bat, cracking his skull. At 27, Vincent had recently gotten engaged, and was the only son of Lily Chin.  His last words before slipping into a fatal coma were, “It’s not fair.”

Lily Chin, mother of Vincent and leading activist

Vincent’s attackers literally got away with murder, given a fine of $3,000 and 3 years of probation, serving not a single day of jail time. Outraged, Asian American community members organized and protested, making it the first case regarding an Asian American to receive national attention, and laying the historic and unprecedented groundwork for pan-Asian and multiracial coalitions.

The documentary, made on the 25th anniversary of Vincent Chin’s death, examines the lasting legacy of his case and shows heart-wrenching footage of family members, as well as interviews with activists who were mobilized, politicized, or otherwise influenced by the hate crime and subsequent lack of justice…leaders like Helen Zia (author of Asian American Dreams), Eun Sook Lee (National Korean American Service & Education Consortium), Doua Thor (Southeast Asia Resource Action Center), Corky Lee (photojournalist), Phil Yu (Angry Asian Man), and Eric Nakamura (Giant Robot).

Curtis Chin, producer and family friend to the Chins (Curtis also co-founded the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and APAs for Progress), came up from L.A. for a post-film discussion. Curtis has been presenting Vincent Who? across the country, partly as an activist recruitment tool, and is approaching his 200th screening.

Producer Curtis Chin

Vincent Who? opens by asking contemporary Asian American college students if they know who Vincent Chin is…dozens of them have no idea. Curtis feels that if we as an Asian American community do not know our own history, then we cannot fully realize our power and potential. He presents the film to not only illustrate a pivotal time in our history, but to re-emphasize a vision of what a pan-Asian and progressive community can be.

Given the current reality of ethnic studies being banned in Arizona and efforts to erase Cesar Chavez from Texas textbooks, this message is all the more relevant and urgent. And as far as hate crimes, they are no thing of the past. Vincent Who? draws parallels to attacks on Muslim Americans and those perceived as Muslim after 9/11. Violence against Latinos and Asians also continues, as anti-immigrant scapegoating grows about “illegals” taking our jobs or employment being outsourced to China.

Do we have to wait until the next tragedy to become more galvanized, or can we continue to cultivate a united, progressive movement, believing that our own politicized actions — no matter how small, do matter? In the documentary, Tanzila Ahmed, of the blog Sepia Mutiny, stressed the significance of everything we do being a political act, whether it’s reading political blogs or engaging in direct advocacy.

Vincent Who? was powerful and inspiring, and just might renew your commitment to social justice work and your belief in our ability, and the necessity, to make change happen. I can’t recommend enough attending a local screening — check out the schedule here, or even organize your own. And you can get a copy of the film and Vincent Chin T-shirts here at Blacklava, to help tell Vincent’s story and expand his legacy, along with our own collective power.