The State Bar's 34th Michigan Legal Milestone Plaque Text
From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry
"It's not fair" were the last anguished words whispered by Vincent Chin as he lay dying·the victim of a hate crime on June 19, 1982. His words became a rallying cry for the Asian American community outraged at the lenient sentences his assailants received and, they spawned a civil rights movement.
On that fateful evening, Chin and three friends were celebrating his upcoming wedding at a bar in Highland Park. An argument broke out with two unemployed auto workers who blamed Asians for taking away their jobs.
After the group was kicked out of the bar, the two unemployed auto workers pursued and caught up with Chin and his friends on Woodward Avenue. While one held Chin, the other bludgeoned him with a baseball bat.
Chin died four days later.
The assailants received three years' probation and a $3,000 fine for a pled down manslaughter charge.
Later, federal civil rights cases against the two were appealed. Juries acquitted both of them.
Although Vincent Chin's killers were never imprisoned for their crimes, the case galvanized the Asian American community and led to the formation of various groups including American Citizens for Justice. The case also helped form the basis for state and federal changes on important legal issues dealing with hate crimes, minimum sentencing guidelines, and victims' rights.
Placed by the State Bar of Michigan and the Michigan Asian Pacific American Bar Association, June 19, 2009.
City of Ferndale's IN MEMORY OF VINCENT CHIN Text
The State Bar of Michigan 34th Michigan Legal Milestone marker commemorates Ferndale as the birthplace in 1983 of the pan-ethnic Asian American civil and victim's rights movement resulting in the formation of the civil rights organization American Citizens for Justice. In response to the injustices in the 1982 beating death of Vincent Chin in Highland Park, Michigan, members of the Asian American community assembled at 22828 Woodward Avenue, the former Golden Star Chinese Restaurant located in the northeast block of Woodward and Nine Mile where Chin was employed. The people of Ferndale are proud to host this memorial and we stand united for fairness and justice for all people as we celebrate and value America's diversity.
Dedicated in 2010 by the 42nd Ferndale City Council
Craig S. Covey - Mayor
T. Scott Galloway
Michael B. Lennon
Melanie C. Piana