This Week on One Detroit:
Rise of Anti-Asian Hate Revives Asian American Civil Rights Movement Sparked by Vincent Chin’s Murder
Nearly 40 years after the racially motivated murder of Chinese American Vincent Chin in Detroit, which sparked the modern Asian American civil rights movement, the hate crime is seeing a new light alongside a more recent rise in anti-Asian hate across the country; one that looks similar to Chin’s case, but some experts say is much worse.
Back in 1982, when Vincent Chin was murdered by two autoworkers, a wave of anti-Asian sentiment swept over Detroit and the nation as it was mired in recession and Detroit automakers were losing market share to Japanese car company Toyota. Today, the murder of Vincent Chin resonates with a new wave of anti-Asian hate, heard through rhetoric around the COVID-19 pandemic and seen in the tragic Atlanta spa shootings and other racially motivated killings that have targeted Asian Americans.
As the story of Vincent Chin’s murder sees a resurgence and connects to the continued anti-Asian hate still seen, One Detroit’s Senior Producer Bill Kubota explores how Vincent Chin’s legacy has shaped a new wave of Asian American civil rights activists. He talks with members of the American Citizens for Justice (ACJ), who began the fight for justice in Detroit as Chin’s case erupted into the national spotlight, and Asian American student activists from the University of Michigan about how Chin’s legacy informs their activism and advocacy for the Asian American community.
Then, Kubota talks with a few organizations — Whenever We’re Needed and Eastern Michigan University’s Healthy Asian Americans Project — about the work they’re doing to help, and he looks at the increasing population of Asian Americans in Michigan, including large communities of Bangladeshi and Burmese refugees and a new Chinatown forming in Madison Heights. Plus, he explores how Vincent Chin’s story is being used as a vehicle to educate K-12 students about Asian American history with State Senator Stephanie Chang, University of Michigan Asian American history professor Roland Hwang and ACJ activist Mary Kamidoi.
Some of the nation’s top African American museums and historical organizations, co-sponsored by local and national media partners, are coming together to celebrate the nation’s newest federal holiday: Juneteenth. Juneteenth celebrates the freedom of enslaved people in the United States after the Civil War. The organizations will come together for a virtual program called “We the People,” sponsored in part by Detroit Public TV, PBS Books and Amazon.
As one of the institutions involved in the “We the People” Juneteenth event, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History President and CEO Neil Barclay joins “American Black Journal” host Stephen Henderson to share details on the national collaboration and to talk about how the museum plans to celebrate the upcoming federal holiday locally.
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This week, One Detroit’s Bill Kubota explores the legacy of Vincent Chin’s murder, how its intertwined with a new wave of Asian American civil rights activism across the nation, and how Chin’s murder case will be in education around Asian American history in schools. Plus, One Detroit contributor Stephen Henderson sits down with the Charles H. Wright Museum CEO Neil Barclay to learn about a national Juneteenth collaborative celebration and how the museum plans to celebrate the Black holiday locally.
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