The legacy of Vincent Chin

Thirty-five years ago yesterday, Vincent Chin was murdered in Detroit, at his own bachelor party. His killers were white American autoworkers who hunted him down outside a bar and yelled, “It’s because of you <bleep> that we’re out of work.” He was Chinese, not Japanese, as if that should have mattered.

What does matter is that the killers admitted to the murder, yet they served no jail time and were sentenced to three years probation. “These weren’t the kind of men you send to jail,” the judge said. The case was a rallying point for the Asian-American community to advocate for protecting Asian-Americans in hate crimes legislation.

One of the killers is still alive and a peaceful candlelight vigil was organized last night outside his home. I couldn’t make it to Henderson, Nevada. But I did make a donation to Asian Americans Advancing Justice, an organization that formed after the Vincent Chin murder.

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