May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2022, and one of the most consequential events in APA history is the killing of Vincent Chin, whose murders never got the justice they deserved. The documentary, ‘Who Killed Vincent Chin?’ will air nationally again on PBS on Monday, June 20, 2022 at 10pm ET.
“POV, now in its 35th year as America’s longest-running independent documentary series, presents a Special Encore Presentation of the gripping 1987 Academy Award® nominated film, Who Killed Vincent Chin?, by filmmakers Christine Choy and Renee Tajima-Peña, on Monday, June 20, 2022 at 10pm ET. Who Killed Vincent Chin? was recently restored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and also selected for the National Film Registry.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the racially motivated murder of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American, murdered by two white men, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz, in Detroit, Michigan on June 19, 1982. The documentary, which originally aired on POV in March 1987, details the incident from initial eye-witness accounts, the ensuing murder trials to the lenient sentences the assailants received, and the repercussions for the families and community involved. Who Killed Vincent Chin? also chronicles how the case brought the disparate Asian American communities of Detroit together for the first time, and how they transformed themselves from a grassroots advocacy group into a national movement.
Their efforts helped bring public attention to the anti-Asian hate that led to Vincent Chin’s murder, and encouraged Asian American groups across the country to fight for equality and justice. The U.S. Department of Justice brought federal civil rights charges against the killers, who were ultimately acquitted on appeal, on grounds of pre-trial publicity and errors made with witnesses.
In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Chin’s death, a series of Remembrance & Rededication activities organized in a partnership between the American Citizens for Justice, the Vincent and Lily Chin Estate, Detroit Public Television (DPTV), Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), and City of Detroit Arts and Culture (ACE) are scheduled to take place throughout the U.S. Here’s a list of the Vincent Chin 40th Rededication and Remembrance Events from June 16-19:
- Vincent Chin 40th Commemorative Film Series – Detroit Film Theater, June 16th-17th
- Midwest Asian American Documentary Filmmakers Convening – International Institute of Detroit, June 16th-17th
- National Conversation on AAPIs, America, And Democracy – Detroit Film Theater, June 17th
- An Evening of Asian American Arts, Music and Joy – St. Andrews Hall at Wayne State University, June 18th
- Community Dialogues: Remembrance and Rededication – Detroit Film Theater, June 19th
- Interfaith Remembrance Ceremony – Location TBD June 19th
For more information on these events, please visit VincentChin.org.”
The killing of Vincent Chin and the aftermath created a galvanizing moment in the United States and helped spawn the modern day Asian American movement. In my opinion, it should be required viewing by all Americans.
With the rise of hate crimes against AAPIs the past few years due to COVID-19, it is even more important to remind ourselves that AAPIs are Americans too and that hate crimes affect AAPIs as well.