This week, the Michigan Bar Association association is remembering Vincent Chin by dedicating a plaque as part of their statewide Legal Milestones series, citing his case for spurring key legal changes in the state of Michigan law which include victim impact statements and mandatory minimum sentences.
Chin’s attackers received no jail time, and had only three years of probation and $3,000 in fines. That was what an Asian American’s life was worth in 1982.
Additionally, a second plaque by Ferndale, Michigan officials cites the city as “the birthplace of the Asian-American civil rights movement,” Mayor Craig Covey said. Both plaques are next to each other near the Post Bar (then, the Golden Star restaurant) where Chin’s supporters first met after Chin’s death.
With the rise in China, I do wonder if we will start to see the rise of hate crimes against Asian Americans as Americans increasingly see the Chinese as an economic and possibly military threat. I can remember a distinct fear of Japan taking over the United States back in the mid-to-late 1980s – despite the fact that countries like the United Kingdom and other European countries owned or invested vastly more amounts of capital with the United States.