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Candlelight Vigil Held Outside Home of Ronald Ebens from Vincent Chin Case

Ronald Ebens Candlelight vigil 2017

By Corky Lee
Special to AsAmNews

It started on Father’s Day in NYC Chinatown at First Chinese Baptist Church. I organized a free screening of Who Killed Vincent Chin? by Christine Choy & Renee Taijima.

Chin was beaten and killed with a baseball bat on the night of his bachelor party 35 years ago by two unemployed auto workers who blamed the Japanese auto industry for their economic troubles. The case galvanized the Asian American community and is considered a landmark in AAPI history.
Choy and Taijima’s film was nominated for an Oscar in 1989.  A lengthy Q&A post screening led to dinner with Choy. Chin would have been 62 years old, a father, perhaps a grandfather & eligible for early SS benefits.

It’s come to my attention that a freelance photog in Ferndale, MI is the son of Vicki Wong, Vincent’s bride in 1982. This is after I contacted him regarding covering the Vincent Chin 35th memorial in Detroit which is being held today.

Two days later, I flew to Las Vegas to organize local APA’s for a screening of Choy’s documentary  and  a candlelight
vigil in front of Ronald Ebens residence in nearby Henderson, NV on Friday. In the 11th hour, I rented a hotel convention room for the screening when community space was unavailable. Members of local community organizations did show up after last minute email blasts- CACA, JACL & OCA. Many were not familiar with the Vincent Chin case, some weren’t born in 1982. Post screening there was combined community interest to be more pro active in APA civil rights matters.

(Note from editor: Ebens and his stepson Michael Nitz escaped jail time for the killing of Vincent Chin. Ebens still owes $10 million to Chin’s estate in a civil judgement against him.)

Ronald Ebens Candlelight Vigil 2017
Three CACA women revised their family obligations and braved the intense 111° temperature to attend the mini photo exhibit & candlelight vigil on Friday. They handed out Vincent Chin literature to neighbors and to drivers passing by on the street. However, they didn’t want to be interviewed on camera.

Related: Killer of Vincent Chin Still Owes His Estate $10 Million 33 Years Later

As I placed candles and photos from Vincent Chin protest rally circa 1983 in Detroit on Ebens sidewalk, we were confronted by a couple from directly across the street. They berated us for causing Ebens to lose his auto pension. They said we should leave and stop harassing Ebens every few years. Attempts to hand a Vincent Chin article  to the women were fruitless. A second neighbor was watering her lawn and did accept the literature from us. A third neighbor directly next to Ebens said what happened to Chin was a tragedy and it should not have happened.
It appears Ebens was home as witnessed by two vehicles in the car port, a sedan and a van.
Perhaps, a young law school graduate/law school clinic or pro bono law firm would be willing to follow Ebens “money trail” over the last 30-35 years for hidden assets. Similar to Chicago mobster, Al Capone who was jailed for tax evasion. I recalled there were young Japanese American lawyers for Fred Korematsu, Gordon Hiroabayshi and Min Yatsui who convinced the federal government to overturned their wartime convictions for opposing the incarceration camps 40 years later. Vincent and his mother Lily won’t be around if the effort is successful, but it will right a tragic racist wrong.
(correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported how Chin was killed. We regret the error)

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  1. Great work and very much appreciated! We can’t let people forget or dismiss this heinous, racist crime since we are currently seeing history repeat itself.

  2. I agree with you 100%, he and his step son were as racist as they come and got away with murder because they were white. That judge should have been disbarred or thrown off the bench for dismissing his death. Shame on him.


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