This month, One Detroit hosted a virtual town hall called How We Got Here: The Asian American Experience in Metro Detroit.
We talked about an array of issues affecting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders here including the legacy of Vincent Chin.
Chin was killed in 1982 but the perpetrators did not serve any time in prison.
That incident sparked activism by Asian Americans demanding justice but where are we now with a rise in anti-Asian hate across the country and how far have we come?
Attorney Jim Shimoura, who help lead the legal fight back in the 1980s said, “We’re seeing the same kind of dynamic now in 2021.”
In the 1980s there was a backlash against the Japanese as import cars were hurting Detroit’s Big Three.
“I thought after forty years things would have changed,” Shimoura said, “It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better in this current political environment.”
Author Paula Yoo recently finished a book about the Vincent Chin story for young adults called “From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry – The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement.”
Yoo, speaking at One Detroit’s town hall said, “I really started thinking about Vincent Chin in 1993 when I was writing for the Seattle Times and I got a job offer to come to the Detroit News.”
In talking to her friends they all wondered, “Is Detroit the best place for an Asian American to be in?”
Yoo said more education about Asian American history is the key
Roland Hwang, also an attorney who worked as part of the Vincent Chin legal team said, “I think the Vincent Chin case should be part of the curriculum because it is such a complex case where many elements of law can be discussed.”
“Part of the invisibility of the case is the invisibility of the Asian American AAPI community,” Hwang said, “that’s something we have to work on in K-12 curriculum.”
Hear more in this highlight from the virtual town hall hosted by One Detroit’s Bill Kubota here.
Watch One Detroit every Thursday at 7:30pm ET on Detroit Public TV.