It’s no coincidence that one of the tragic milestones in the Asian American civil rights movement coincides with AAJC ‘s anniversary.
AAJC founders Stewart Kwoh, Casmiro Tolentino, Judy Chu, and Mike Eng share a belief that the Vincent Chin case exemplified “the need for a strong Asian American legal defense capability.”
“I think about her every week,” Kwoh says, talking about Lily Chin, mother of Vincent. “Her courage and unflagging commitment to securing justice for her son inspired and catalyzed a movement that continues to this very day.”
Kwoh helped to mobilize support for a civil rights case against Chin’s killers. Support for it was so overwhelming, they convinced the conservative Ronald Reagan White House to bring the case forward for prosecution.
The Department of Justice would win a conviction, but the case was eventually thrown out on appeal.
To this day, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, recently renamed Asian Americans Advancing Justice, carries on the legacy and political consciousness inspired by Vincent Chin.
You can read more about the connection between Vincent Chin and the Justice Center in AAJC.