Go Go My Detroit Asian Americans

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

If you didn't know already, Detroit is a hotspot for Asian Americans - but it doesn't mean they haven't had a struggle to get there:

In 1982, the baseball-bat slaying of Chinese American Vincent Chin on Woodward by two white autoworkers who mistook him for Japanese and their subsequent light sentencing -- neither served jail time -- set off a coalescing of Pan-Asian groups throughout metro Detroit and the nation.

Anger overcame fear, and Asian Americans found a voice.

"It really became a national movement, a civil rights movement, that had Detroit at its epicenter," said community activist Helen Zia, 55, who cofounded the American Citizens for Justice, whose mandate was to address what it saw as the unfairness in Chin's case. Zia, who now lives in California, later included her experience with the Chin case in her book, "Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People."

"It's amazing," Zia said, "but in some ways, because the Detroit community was so small and because it had such a strong civil rights history, it meant that people had to depend on each other. ... The community really stepped up and became a model around the country."
Read the full article - it's a good read - down at Michigan United.

Update: Check out the coverage down at Hyphen as well on the article that I just saw.