Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Vincent Chin's Death - 29 Years and Counting

On June 23, 1982, Chinese American Vincent Chin died from injuries he suffered from a beating just outside a Detroit strip club four days before. The atmosphere of anger stemmed in part by the rising success of the Japanese auto industry in symphony with the decline of U.S. fortunes many believe contributed to the motive behind the beating by laid off White auto workers. I can never ever imagine Vincent's thoughts to see the angry mob approaching ready to commit a heinous assault just because of his race. Unfortunately, the scales of justice did not work for various reasons especially with nobody serving a significant amount of time in jail. On the positive end, Chin's death opened the floodgates to a social movement that will last for generations to come .

After the beating and subsequent passing, many Asian Americans joined the cause to seek justice for Vincent and his family. This period of time can be historically tabbed when Asian Americans got involved with social activism in mass numbers. Just imagine a world with no form of social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube as tools to generate instant buzz for your cause. Back then it was basically things like snail mail (letters), the phone and newspapers. Five years later the art form of filmmaking was used with the Oscar nominated documentary "Who Killed Vincent Chin?" and most recently the 2009 "Vincent Who?". I believe it's a pretty safe bet to draw the the conclusion that many of the Asian based activist organizations still around today were organized because of this movement. The unexpected legacy Vincent Chin's death should and will always be perpetual...29 years and counting.

Side Note:
Thanks to director Curtis Chin and the group Asians Americans For Progress you can view Curtis' 2009 documentary "Vincent Who?" online.


  1. would have just passed without knowing it was this day 29 years ago that it happened. thanks for this blog entry.

  2. we do need to pause to remember. thanks eric

  3. With history spotlighting the civil rights movement of the 60's, the Asian civil rights movement has been left in the shadows. Not much is known about this movement since it's not covered extensively in the media. I'm glad it's been getting some recognition lately.