CAPAC Members Mark 38th Anniversary of the Murder of Vincent Chin

Jun 23, 2020

Washington, D.C. – Today marks the 38th anniversary of the racially motivated murder of Vincent Chin. During a period of strong anti-Asian sentiment in Detroit, Michigan due to the rise of the Japanese automotive industry, Chin was assaulted and beaten to death by two autoworkers who believed Chin was Japanese and blamed him for the loss of their jobs. Neither assailant served any time in prison for their crimes, which sparked outrage from the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and led to the emergence of a pan-ethnic Asian American and Pacific Islander movement. Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:

“The anniversary of the racially motivated murder of Vincent Chin hits especially hard this year as we combat dual crises: the coronavirus pandemic that has killed over 122,000 Americans and the murder of George Floyd and countless other Black Americans that have exacerbated the need to address police reform and racial injustice in our nation. Unfortunately, history has shown us how communities of color have been used as scapegoats in times of crisis, and we are seeing that again today. Over the past few months, Asian Americans have faced thousands of incidents of racist and xenophobic attacks as they have been wrongfully blamed for the coronavirus pandemic. This hatred has been exacerbated by Donald Trump and Republican leaders who have referred to the coronavirus as the “Chinese plague,” “Chinese virus,” and “kung flu” despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization that doing so will perpetuate stigma and leave communities at risk. Unfortunately, what we are seeing today is the same irrational hatred and prejudice that needlessly ended Vincent’s life, at the hands of murderers who blamed him for the economic challenges they were facing simply because of the way he looked. Today, as our country grapples with the coronavirus crisis and calls for racial justice, we remember Vincent Chin, who paid the ultimate price for somebody else’s hate. We must also resolve to do better now and in the days, months, and years ahead to root out bigotry and ensure that all Americans feel safe in this country.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), CAPAC First Vice Chair:

“Vincent Chin’s brutal murder 37 years ago transformed the discourse on civil rights to include multiethnic and multiracial alliances and mobilized the Asian American civil rights movement. The injustice felt then when the public learned that Vincent’s assailants would never spend a day in jail is much too relevant to the anguish we feel today, of a broken criminal justice system for Black, Latinx, and AAPI communities. Progress demands that we stand strong and united in the face of hate, xenophobia, and intolerance. We must remember our past to make sure we do not carry mistakes into the future.”

Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), CAPAC Whip:

“Thirty-eight years ago, Vincent Chin, a 27 year-old Chinese-American man, was brutally murdered by two autoworkers who mistook him as Japanese and blamed him for the loss of American manufacturing jobs. This horrific, racially charged incident is remembered today as a turning point for many in our community. Today, fears over the coronavirus have led to an increase in harassment and assault against Asian Americans and Asian-owned businesses. These instances of racism and bigotry have been exacerbated by Donald Trump’s use of the term “Chinese virus” to describe COVID-19 and reminds us once again that there is much more work we must do to combat xenophobia in America. Right now, many across our nation are rising up and speaking out against systematic racism in response to the killing of George Floyd and countless Black Americans by the police. As we honor the memory of Vincent Chin, we continue on in our fight against racial injustice in all of its forms.”

Congressman Gil Cisneros (CA-39):

“Today, we remember Vincent Chin, who was brutally murdered in a hate crime 38 years ago. His death sparked a movement for Asian American civil rights and inspired generations of AAPI leaders to fight for equality and justice. Despite the progress that’s been made, the AAPI Community is facing increased hate, xenophobia, and discrimination because of the pandemic. Now more than ever, we need to stand with Asian Americans across the country and call out hate wherever we see it.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17):

“After a year already filled with so much animosity and racial intolerance, the 38th anniversary of Vincent Chin’s death is a stark reminder of the longstanding legacy of violence communities of color carry in our country. As we push back against anti-Asian sentiments surrounding COVID-19, and as we call out the immense injustice of police brutality against Black Americans, we stand united against xenophobia and hate in every form.”

Congresswoman Susie Lee (NV-03):

“The murder of Vincent Chin 38 years ago reminds us that hate and racism can be deadly. Vincent was targeted and murdered because he was an Asian American. Our country must face, acknowledge, and learn from the racial injustices that so many Americans have endured for centuries, and continue to endure today. Although we mourn Vincent’s death and honor his life, his legacy lives on in the form of the modern Asian American and Pacific Islander movement. We cannot let tragedies like this happen again and I will continue to use my role as a member of Congress to fight against racism and hate in all their forms.”

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12):

“This year marks thirty-eight years since the brutal and senseless murder of Vincent Chin. His killing sparked a movement against anti-Asian bigotry and hate; one that we are unfortunately still fighting today. As we see a spike in anti-Asian hate speech and incidents during the COVID-19 crisis, we all must remain committed to stamping out intolerance wherever and whenever we see it.”