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Wayne Law presents documentary Vincent Who? April 5

March 29, 2012

Film commemorates 30th anniversary of murder of Vincent Chin

DETROIT (March 29, 2012)—Wayne State University Law School's Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, in collaboration with the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, is pleased to welcome award-winning filmmaker and producer Curtis Chin to the Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium from 6-8 p.m. April 5. Chin will screen his documentary film Vincent Who?, winner of the 2009 National Association for Multicultural Education Media Award. Following the screening, Chin will answer questions from the audience. This event is free and open to the public.

The event commemorates the 30th anniversary of the death of Vincent Chin, a Chinese-American beaten to death outside a fast food restaurant in Highland Park, Mich. by two unemployed auto workers in 1982. Witnesses heard the attackers blaming Asians for the loss of their jobs. The murder generated public outrage over the lenient sentencing the two men originally received in a plea bargain. The case became a rallying point for the Asian American community and the attack and was considered a hate crime by many, but it pre-dated hate crime laws in the United States.

"The murder of Vincent Chin was a national tragedy that highlighted the problem of hate crimes and discrimination against the Asian American Community,” says Peter Hammer, professor of law and director of the Keith Center. “The 30 year anniversary of the incident provides an opportunity to reexamine these issues.”

“As we commemorate the tragic death of Vincent Chin, we can celebrate the strides that not only the state of Michigan has taken in cultural equality, but the United States as a whole,” says Kyle Kamidoi, president of the Wayne Law Asian Pacific American Law Students Association. “The city of Detroit was the epicenter for the Asian Pacific American equality movement, and that is something this city takes pride in. Although the APA community still faces racial obstacles today, Vincent Who? shows the successes of the past and gives continued hope for the future.”

Vincent Who? explores the legacy of Chin’s murder through interviews with the key players at the time as well as a new generation of activists whose lives were impacted by him, according to the film’s website. It also looks at the case in relation to the larger narrative of Asian American history, in such events as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Japanese-American internment during World War II, the 1992 L.A. riots, anti-Asian hate crimes, and post-9/11 racial profiling.

Curtis Chin is an award-winning writer and producer who has written for ABC, NBC, Fox, the Disney Channel and others. As a community activist, he co-founded the Asian American Writers Workshop and Asian Pacific Americans for Progress. In 2008, he served on Barack Obama's Asian American Leadership Council, where he participated in helping the campaign reach out to the Asian American Pacific Islander community. He has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, NPR, Newsweek and other media outlets.

The Keith Center honors the life and legacy of Judge Damon J. Keith, civil rights icon, one of our country’s leading jurists and a 1956 Wayne Law alumnus. By developing programs and opportunities that promote his vision of equality and justice under the law for all people, the Keith Center is advancing learning at Wayne Law, encouraging community engagement, and promoting civil rights in one of the most culturally rich and diverse cities in the United States. For more information, visit http://keithcenter.wayne.edu/.

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Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 400 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.

For more information about the Wayne State University Law School, visit law.wayne.edu.