Today is the 25th anniversary of the day Vincent Chin, died after he was attacked on June 19th in Detroit by two laid-off auto workers who mistook him for being Japanese.
Longtime readers of mine know that as an Asian American living in Michigan then, this case affected me deeply.
It was one of the first moments as a young boy that I understood the dangers of racism and ignorance, and the threat of violence against Asian Americans in the United States.
Eventually, this case was one of the key turning points in the pan-Asian American movement that crossed long-standing culture lines.
For Southeast Asian American refugeess just starting to arrive in the 1980s, it was a very sobering message about justice in this country:
Vincent Chin's killers never spent a day in jail and were only fined $3,000, less than the cost of a used car back then.
As many commentators have said in the past, it was essentially a license to kill Asians.
We've made some progress since then, but across the country there's still work to be done.
Kundiman is holding their Vincent Chin Memorial Chapbook Competition with a deadline for June 30th (Coming up fast) Visit Kundiman for more details.