Recently, NPR interviewed Vincent Chin’s best friend and best nan, Gary Koivu, to remember Chin, on the 35th anniversary of his death:
“Gary Koivu met Chin when they were in the first grade and their teacher introduced Chin to the rest of the class. They were friends for more than 20 years and Chin asked Koivu to be the best man in his wedding.
There was an auto worker,” Koivu says. “He said to Vincent, ‘Because of little mother f****** like you, a lot of Americans are losing their jobs.’ Vincent wasn’t Japanese. He was Chinese [American], but that didn’t matter. … He was Asian.”
Chin died four days later on June 23, 1982.
Ebens and Nitz were sentenced to three years’ probation and fined $3,000.
After his death 35 years ago [today], the federal case against Ebens and Nitz was the first time the Civil Rights Act was used in a case involving an Asian-American victim. Chin’s death went on to become a rallying cry for stronger federal hate crime legislation.”
I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I first blogged about remembering the 25th anniversary of Chin’s death.
In the age of Trump and his hateful rhetoric, it’s no surprise that violence against Muslims and Hispanics is way up. I grew up in the Eighties, so I do remember the rhetoric against the Japanese as Americans feared that Japan was overtaking the United States as an economic superpower (how did that turn out?)
A must watch for anybody interested in Asian American history.