City of Detroit partners with coalition to commemorate 40th Anniversary of Vincent Chin murder

City of Detroit partners with coalition to commemorate 40th Anniversary of Vincent Chin murder 

  • Detroit ACE will co-sponsor murals and artistic experiences that speak to the humanity of Asian American culture and life

Detroit, March 23, 2022 - Forty years after the murder of Vincent Chin and the subsequent miscarriage of justice that ignited the modern Asian American Civil Rights Movement, a coalition of national and local groups plans a four-day commemoration in June in Detroit to honor the civil rights legacy that began with the Chin case and declare a commitment to the struggle to end hate crimes.

The City of Detroit is proud to partner on The Vincent Chin 40th Remembrance & Rededication, which is planned amid a climate of anti-Asian hate and violence that hearkens back to 1982, when the men who beat Chin with a baseball bat were set free after his death.

The commemoration will take place June 16-19, 2022, and will feature:                   

  • A National Conversation on Democracy and Racial Justice
  • The Vincent Chin 40th Commemorative Film Series in partnership with the Freep Film Festival
  • Community dialogues
  • The commissioning of new murals in old Chinatown
  • A two-night spectacular of cultural and performing arts experiences that speak to the richness of Asian American art and culture

The film series will open with a special screening of the acclaimed, restored, Academy Award-nominated film, “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” The commemoration also is being held in conjunction with the Midwest Asian American Documentary Filmmakers conference. The Kresge Foundation is the presenting sponsor of the events.

“The horrific beating death of Vincent Chin in 1982 on the eve of his bachelor party led to a landmark civil rights movement led by Asian Americans,” said Helen Zia, executor of the Vincent and Lily Chin Estate and a co-founder of American Citizens for Justice (ACJ), which formed in 1983 to seek justice for Chin. “The present-day wave of anti-Asian hate violence has rekindled awareness of Vincent’s legacy. Our hope is that these events will engage present and future generations in the commitment to social justice and the fight against racism and hate.”

Rochelle Riley, Director of Arts and Culture for the City, said Detroit ACE has been working with the coalition for months to stage the powerful and necessary events.

“We must never forget Vincent Chin. But as important, we must not ignore what is happening across America today, the crimes against persons because of their race and culture,” she said. “Anything that reminds us of our shared humanity is a welcome exercise right now. This commemoration is not just a remembrance of a moment of injustice, but a pledge to ensure that it never happens again.”

“It also is a chance for us to get better acquainted with the creative and cultural brilliance of our Asian American fellow citizens,” she said. “This entire series of events is going to be uplifting and groundbreaking.”

The official Vincent Chin 40th Remembrance and Rededication events are being organized by a planning committee that includes: the Vincent and Lily Chin Estate; ACJ; the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) and the City of Detroit Office of Arts, Culture, and Entrepreneurship (ACE). The Kresge Foundation is the presenting sponsor for the landmark events.

“Detroit has been a major focus of the long-road struggle for a just America for all,” said Wendy Lewis Jackson, Managing Director of Kresge’s Detroit Program. “The Kresge Foundation is honored to support this milestone of the Asian American Civil Rights movement in the aftermath of Vincent Chin’s murder. We look forward to public education, essential conversations, and rededication to our collective stand against hate and violence.”

Civil rights attorney Jim Shimoura, chair of the Vincent Chin 40th Planning Committee and co-founder of ACJ said: “Our movement is committed to equal justice for all and a stand against racism and discrimination of any kind.”

“These events are about remembrance of a hate crime that defined our civil rights movement,” added Roland Hwang, president and co-founder of ACJ, and a member of the Planning Committee.

The programming will examine the impact of Vincent Chin’s murder on America as well as celebrate the deep roots of Asian Americans in Detroit through arts, culture, and a history tour. Additionally, the committee will produce and distribute a teaching toolkit and discussion guide about why Vincent Chin’s legacy and the subsequent civil rights movement matter. For a schedule of events, sponsorship, and partnership opportunities – and for more information about Vincent Chin and his legacy – visit www.VincentChin.org.