CAAMFest 36, May 10-24

'Vincent Who?' DVD Giveaway

February 21, 2011

We're giving away three copies of the documentary film Vincent Who?, produced by Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, to our readers.

How much to want this movie? A lot. Read our review of the film by Viet-Ly Nguyen (printed in Issue 21):

The brutal beating death of Vincent Chin in Detroit in 1982 galvanized students, activists and citizens across Asian America. Vincent Who? is a followup to the 1987 documentary Who Killed Vincent Chin? and was inspired by town hall meetings organized by Asian Pacific Americans for Progress on the 25th anniversary of his death. When the filmmakers interview current college students about the Vincent Chin case, no one is able to give a clear answer; this is used as a means to question where the Asian American movement is today. The film is rooted in compelling interviews with powerhouses such as activist/journalist Helen Zia and civil rights attorney Dale Minami, balanced with the voices of younger activists, students and politicians. Zia and Minami suggest that Asian American activists have made a large impact through policymaking. The next generation claims that activism doesn’t have to come in the form of protests but through less visible acts such as teaching and journalism. The film also touches on hate crimes against South Asians and Arab Americans after 9/11. Archival video footage and newspaper clippings serve as painful reminders of how hate crimes damage a community and, at the same time, can bring people together to seek justice.

You can also purchase a copy from Blacklava.net for $16.

To win a copy, all you have to do is write a comment below about when you first heard of Vincent Chin, and what he means to you. Submit it by midnight PST on Friday, March 4. We'll select three winners, and contact you to get your mailing address. Thanks!

UPDATE (March 8, 2011): Congratulations to our three winners, Ashley, Ramona and Stacey! Thank you for all who participated and wrote your thoughtful comments. The three winners were selected randomly. 

Contributor: 

Momo Chang

Senior Contributing Editor

Momo Chang is the Content Manager at the Center for Asian American Media, and freelances for magazines, online publications, and weeklies. Her writings focus on Asian American communities, communities of color, and youth culture. She is a former staff writer at the Oakland Tribune. Her stories range from uncovering working conditions in nail salons, to stories about “invisible minorities” like Tongan youth and Iu Mien farmers. She has freelances The New York Times, WIRED, and East Bay Express, among other publications.

Comments

Comments

Like many Asian Americans, I first learned about Vincent Chin in an Asian American Studies class in college. I remember being shocked that this had happened in my lifetime. It helped me understand the recent history of anti-APA prejudice in this country and definitely helped spark some righteous anger. It's such an important story and one that I continue to share with students and community members.
first heard of vincent chin in my aa studies class in ccsf; what he means to me is, just that the struggle is still apparent out there, & obviously the fact remains is that even though he was a martyr for white american fusturation his death is still a black eye on the face of asian america.
This is my first time hearing this case. I am very interested to know the story.
I first heard about Vincent Chin in my intro Asian American History class at the University of Maryland. Reading about the murder and how the killers were not brought to justice definitely made me more aware of my position as an Asian American in this country, and made me more active in the community. But after watching "Who Killed Vincent Chin" with my pledge brothers and watching Vincent's mother break down into sobs over her lost son, killed right before his wedding day, it became that much more real. Vincent is almost a martyr figure in how his death galvanized and unified the disjointed Asian American community. I'd love to have a copy of the DVD to keep!
I was an undergraduate and taking an Asian Americans in Politics course. When the professor mentioned Vincent Chin, he noticed how myself and a considerable amount of students didn't know his name. He was surprised and after he told Chin's story, we were too. I remember being angered at the way justice was ignored, even though the event happened over twenty years ago. And although this event happened over twenty years ago, its important that everyone who believes in justice, whether Asian American or not know about this tragic story that is often too untold.
I first heard of Vincent Chin in graduate school, when I started writing my thesis about Asian American attitudes toward affirmative action (about 2 years ago). I was doing my background research on the history of racism and discrimination against different Asian ethnic groups in the United States; particularly about how Asian Americans are grouped together as one, monolithic group, with different ethnicities being ignored. This was particularly relevant to Chin's case, as he was a Chinese American being blamed for the "crime" of Japanese citizens. One man became representative of people's hatred for an entire race. Everytime I came across this story, I felt overwhelmed by the gravity of what happened and the racist response by the justice system. However, I was proud of the response by the Asian American community. While I think it is incredibly important to recognize the heterogeniety and cultural diversity of Asian Americans, the pan-ethnic movement is integral to advancing Asian American issues and rights. To me, Vincent Chin has become a symbol of many things - of a racist society and a racist justice system that has made little change in almost 30 years, but correspondingly and more importantly, of a response by the Asian American community resisting these "norms" in favor of progress, civil rights, and human decency. What really strikes me about this DVD is, had I been asked my senior year in college who Vincent Chin was, I wouldn't have known either.
I first learned about the Vincent Chin case when I was a junior in high school. I was going through the phase that I feel most teenagers go through: the awkward "Who Am I?" phase. You know what I'm talking about. At the time, I was struggling between identifying myself as an American or as an Asian because I was the first American born child of an immigrant family. I joined CAPAY, an Asian American youth group, in high school and a part of the program was Asian American history education. What stood out the most to me was the Vincent Chin case. I was completely shocked and mortified when I heard about Chin being wrongly accused of taking the jobs of other Americans and being beaten to death by a baseball bat. It was right then when I decided I wanted to identify myself as an Asian American activist. I felt that this injustice was a personal attack and I did not want to see modern Vincent Chin cases in my community.
I first heard of Vincent Chin at the 2010 Annual Conference of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. I was on the host committee which approved the idea for the panel featuring the discussion of Vincent Chin as the catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement in the Asian-American legal community. The panel ultimately featured clips of the film including all-star speakers such as the producer of the film and those involved in litigating the case, reporting on the case and leading the protests at the time. The panel was inspiring to the 1500 API attorneys and judges in attendance. If I win this film, I will donate it to the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association's annual dinner as a raffle item to raise funds for API law scholarships and raise awareness at the same time.
Heard about him at the Office of Multicultural Students at UChicago - 2 years ago. First time I learned that Asian Americans were political. First time I saw a group of Asian Americans who were into social justice - not just one or two who cared about one or two issues. First time I saw _straight_ Asian Americans who cared about politics. It was inspiring - made me feel not so alone. I have been so busy being a queer woman who was tokenized for being one of the few queers who was Asian that I hadn't taken time to worry about about being an Asian woman . Loved the film and actually got to meet the documentary maker.