Home Essential support Recalling Vincent Chin’s 1982 murder, hopes for a new commitment to justice

Recalling Vincent Chin’s 1982 murder, hopes for a new commitment to justice

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Earlier this week I joined a press conference with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Michigan State Senator Stephanie Chang, author-activist Helen Zia, President of American Citizens for Justice Raymond Hwang and other representatives and supporters of the 40th Remembrance and Rededication of Vincent Chin. It was a moving event as we revisited the events of 1982: the tragedy of Vincent Chin’s murder followed by a miscarriage of justice and a civil rights movement that sprung up in response. From June 16-19, the commemoration, of which Kresge is the main sponsor, will include a series of films (including Oscar-nominated “Who Killed Vincent Chin”), community dialogues, the commissioning of new murals in the neighborhood historic Chinese in Detroit (where the event took place) and other activities. I was honored to be part of the press conference and to share my tailored remarks below.

(Courtesy of the City of Detroit)

Mayor Duggan is right when he says there are cases that haunt you as a person, haunt us as a community and a nation. The death of Vincent Chin is one of them.

His horrific death and murder in 1982 and subsequent miscarriage of justice ignited the modern Asian American civil rights movement and started us down the path that brings us here today. We have come full circle. The Kresge Foundation is honored to support the Chin family; American Citizens for Justice; Mayor Duggan; the City of Detroit Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship; Detroit Public Television and this incredible coalition of national and local groups who have come together to commemorate Asian American and Pacific Islander Month and announce upcoming plans for Vincent Chin’s 40th remembrance and rededication in June.

The current wave of anti-Asian hate violence has reignited awareness of Vincent’s legacy, and the fact that today’s commemoration and rededication is being planned in a climate of anti-Asian hate and violence that dates back to 1982 is significant. We hope today’s commemoration will spark a national conversation about democracy, racial justice, and Asian American culture. We hope that these events will engage present and future generations in the commitment to social justice and the fight against racism and hatred.

Detroit has been a major epicenter of the long struggle for a fair America for all. The Kresge Foundation is honored to support this important step in the Asian American civil rights movement following the murder of Vincent Chin. We look forward to public education, essential conversations, and renewal of our collective stand against hate and violence.

Next month’s lineup will examine the impact of Vincent Chin’s murder on America and celebrate the deep roots of Asian Americans in Detroit through arts, culture and a historic tour. The commemoration will bring together original organizers and activists from the Vincent Chin movement and today’s racial and social justice leaders. In the process, we hope to create new pathways for a just Detroit.

That’s why the legacy of Vincent Chin and the civil rights movement that followed matter today more than ever. Anyone who cares about America’s promise and diversity in our country must see in the Vincent Chin case the possibility of social change resulting from tragedy.