Vincent Chin

This past weekend, I read a moving op-ed piece in the New York Times. It was in regard to the brutal slaying of a Chinese American man in 1982. Significantly, his death and the legal events that followed so angered the Asian American community that it demanded substantive changes.

The author, I happily noted, was Frank Wu, who is an accomplished scholar—and the Dean of my alma mater (UC Hastings College of Law). His piece is titled “Why Vincent Chin Matters.”

I previously wrote about the Vincent Chin case here and here. It was brought to my attention by great Arizona lawyers, who featured a documentary about the case at the 2011 Minority Bar Convention.

Here is how Dean Wu opens his editorial:

“On June 23, 1982, in Detroit, a young man named Vincent Chin died. Four nights earlier, he had been enjoying his bachelor party with friends at a local bar when they were accosted by two white men, who blamed them for the success of Japan’s auto industry. ‘It’s because of you we’re out of work,’ they were said to have shouted, adding a word that can’t be printed here. The men bludgeoned Mr. Chin, 27, with a baseball bat until his head cracked open.

“I was a Chinese-American teenager growing up near Detroit then. I remember the haunting photograph of a smiling, fresh-faced Mr. Chin, shown repeatedly in newspapers and on TV, and the tears of his mother, Lily Chin, who lamented that his killers had escaped justice. Mr. Chin was buried on the day he was to have been married.”

So congratulations to my dean for writing on a matter of great importance—and in the New York Times, no less. Well done.

Later this week, I will share two remaining posts arising from the State Bar Convention last week. Both were phenomenal speaker opportunities, the kind that stay with you long after the applause fades.

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Vincent Chin

Yesterday, I reported on the anniversary of the Civil War, 150 years old on April 12. Today, I alert you to a program that signals the long, hard slog this country has trod on its path toward racial justice.

The State Bar of Arizona’s annual Minority Bar Convention will be held this Thursday and Friday. That is when a variety of great programs are featured. Those panels touch on many topics, and members who attend—whatever their ethnicity, age or gender—typically report back that the continuing education on offer was great.

You can see the complete list of topics and speakers here. But today, I point you to a special program that will be featured Thursday afternoon.

I hope that you have not forgotten the Vincent Chin murder case. The crime occurred in Detroit in 1982. The awful act was followed by the failure of the court system to render justice. As the materials describe it:

“Equating the sentiment in Arizona today, where the meaning of the 14th Amendment is yet again being called into question, this re-enactment of the Detroit 1982 Vincent Chin Murder Trial will be an eye opening look at prejudice, political activism and civil rights in the modern age.”

At the convention, lawyers and law students will use the trial transcripts to convey the tenor of the trial and the times, when a young Chinese American man was beaten to death solely due to his race.

More information about the events, and the presentation, are here.