MADISON HEIGHTS (WWJ/AP) – A weekend event in Metro Detroit marks the 30th anniversary of the beating death of Chinese-American Vincent Chin, who was targeted because of his race at a time when Japanese automakers were making big inroads in U.S. markets.
American Citizens for Justice (ACJ) and the Association of Chinese Americans are sponsoring the 30th Year Remembrance of Vincent Chin on Saturday. It runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Chinese Community Center in Madison Heights.
The keynote speaker is Frank H. Wu, chancellor and dean of the University of California’s Hastings law school in San Francisco.
Earlier this week, Oakland County Commissioner Craig Covey, a longtime proponent of speaking out against hate crimes, presented a proclamation to an advocacy group working towards greater inclusion of all Americans – a goal towards which we still have a way to go.
“Even in 2012 in a diverse county like Oakland County where you have a large population of Laotian folks, Filipinos, Chinese Americans, black population, [and] growing Latino populations in Pontiac,” said Covey. “We still have people in this county that don’t understand diversity.”
The Proclamation embraces diversity and rejects on American biases in our society. It also declares June 23 Vincent Chin Remembrance Day in Oakland County.
Local community advocate and activist Prasanna Vengadam, President of American Citizens for Justice, was on hand to receive the proclamation.
Vengadam believes the Vincent Chin case has done a lot to focus attention on hate crimes.
“I feel Vincent Chin’s [and] ACJ’s movement in galvanizing the community; ensuring solidarity, has built that voice and that momentum,” said Vengadam.
Only 16 of the county’s 25 commissioners signed Covey’s proclamation.
On June 19, 1982 two unemployed autoworkers confronted Chin at Highland Park strip club where he had been celebrating his bachelor party. That same night the pair, a man and his step son, beat him with a baseball bat outside a McDonald’s restaurant.
Chin was in a coma for four days before he died at Henry Ford Hospital.
After a plea deal was reached, the pair who had killed Chin served no jail time. They were sentenced to probation, which outraged Asian-Americans nationwide. The men later were acquitted of federal civil rights violations.
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