Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

Building upon the legacy of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

Conversations about Vincent Chin: 35 Years Later

Monday, June 19th 2017

Thirty-five years ago, on June 19, Vincent Chin was out at a local bar for his bachelor party. While he was enjoying himself with his friends, two men, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz, confronted Chin. The two men were Chrysler workers and they confused Chin for being Japanese. During the confrontation, they were heard shouting racial slurs and saying, "It's because of you little motherf--ers that we're out of work." 

After the bar security dispersed the initial fight, Ebens and Nitz later found Chin in the area. It was then they took a baseball bat and beat Chin, cracking open his skull. Four days later, Chin died. 

Eben and Nitz were charged with second-degree murder, but were convicted of manslaughter in a county court. They were sentenced to no jail time and only fined $3,000 and ordered to serve 3 years of probation. 

The Asian American community was in an uproar. This case is often cited as a turning point for Asian American activism and civil rights engagement. 

This week marks the 35th anniversary of Vincent Chin's tragic beating and subsequent death. Asian Americans Advancing Justice commemorates this anniversary by sharing conversations with people who were involved with or were affected by Vincent Chin's case. 

We asked our interviewees what the case meant to them, important lessons to learn about the case, how it affected the AAPI community, and the legacy of the case, 35 years later. 

Q&A with Aamina Ahmed, executive director of APIA Vote Michigan. 

Q&A with Curtis Chin, producer and director of the documentary "Vincent Who?", which examines the legacy of Vincent Chin 25 years after his death. 

Q&A with Marita Etcubañez, director of strategic initiatives at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC

Q&A with Roland Hwang, vice president of Asian American Center for Justice/American Citizens for Justice, a nonprofit civil rights organization formed after the death of Vincent Chin, and chapter president of OCA Detroit. 

Q&A with Cayden Mak, executive director at 

Q&A with Renee Tajima-Pena, director and producer of the Academy Award-nominated documentary "Who Killed Vincent Chin?", which tracks the incident of Vincent Chin through the trial and its aftermath. 

Q&A with Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, former executive director of American Citizens for Justice who teaches Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies at University of Michigan. 

Q&A with Frank Wu, distinguished professor at University of California, Hastings College of Law and Chair of the Committee of 100. He is writing a book about the Vincent Chin case. 

Q&A with Helen Zia, writer, journalist, and activist who was one of the founders of American Citizens for Justice and was very involved in the Vincent Chin case. 

Op-Ed by Advancing Justice Executive Directors




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