The Black and Chinese community in San Francisco came together in remembering Vincent Chin, a Chinese American who was viciously beaten to death by two White men in 1982.
Members from the two communities, as well as from the volunteer group San Francisco Peace Collective that patrols the city, gathered on June 26 at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association in a memorial for the 38th anniversary of Chin’s death, AsAm News reported.
U.S. autoworkers suffered a rise in unemployment during the ’80s, but Japanese auto manufacturers also saw growth in the country, NBC News reported.
Chin, who was 27 at the time of his death, was fatally assaulted by 43-year-old Ronald Ebens and his 22-year-old stepson, Michael Nitz, during a night out with friends for his own bachelor’s party in Detroit on June 19, 1982.
Ebens got into a scuffle with Chin and blamed the latter for losing their jobs at Chrysler even though he was of Chinese descent.
The fight continued in the parking lot after they were thrown out of the strip club. Chin ran away from the two assailants, but he was later caught while Ebens and Nitz drove around for about 20 minutes looking for him, according to History.
Nitz reportedly held Chin down while Ebens beat him repeatedly with a bat. The victim was rushed to a hospital but died from his injuries four days later.
Both Ebens and Nitz were found guilty of manslaughter and only received a fine of $3,000 each and probation with no jail sentence. Wayne County Circuit Judge Charles Kaufman ruled Chin’s death as an outcome of a barroom brawl.
“These aren’t the kind of men you send to jail,” Kaufman said at the time. “We’re talking here about a man who’s held down a responsible job for 17 or 18 years, and his son is employed and is a part-time student. You don’t make the punishment fit the crime, you make the punishment fit the criminal.”
“The Vincent Chin case forced Asian Americans into the civil rights discourse,” Roland Hwang co-founder and former president of American Citizens for Justice told NBC News in 2017. “The Vincent Chin case transformed a biracial discussion on race relations to be a multiracial one. So the Vincent Chin case, along with other cases, each serve as a wakeup call to address anti-Asian bias and racial intolerance.”
Feature Image via @LeannaLouie28