OCA MOURNS DEATH OF LILY CHIN
For Immediate Release; June 10, 2002; Contact: Giles Li 202-223-5500
The Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) sends its deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Lily Chin, who passed away yesterday, Sunday, June 9 at the age of 82 in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
Ms. Chin was the mother of the late Vincent Chin, who was beaten to death in a hate crime 20 years ago this month by two white autoworkers who blamed Japan for the downfall of the American auto industry. Although Vincent Chin was a Chinese American, his ignorant murderers took out their anger on him, an innocent man prepared to wed in a matter of days. Over the past two decades, Ms. Chin has become an inspiration for the entire Asian Pacific American (APA) community.
Considering the 20th anniversary of her son's death takes place next week on Wednesday, June 19, the death of Ms. Chin is even more tragic. OCA joins the entire APA community in mourning the loss of a strong and courageous woman. She had established a scholarship fund in memory of her son, which is administered by American Citizens for Justice.
Donations can be made in memory of Lily Chin to:
The following death notice has been prepared by the family and friends of Mrs. Lily Chin, for release on June 10, 2002:
Mrs. Lily Chin, 1920-2002
Mrs. Lily Chin, formerly of Oak Park, Michigan, passed away at the age of 82 on June 9, 2002 at 1:55 am at the Farmington Hills (Mich.) Health Center, after a long illness. A beloved figure in the Asian American community of metropolitan Detroit, she was the mother of Vincent Chin, who was killed by two autoworkers in 1982. Mrs. Chin lived these last 20 years following her son's death with great dignity and strength, and to many people she represented tremendous moral courage in the face of injustice.
She often expressed her gratitude to all those around the country who had been so kind and supportive to her. Born in Heping, China in Guangdong Province, Mrs. Chin came to the U.S. after World War II to marry David Bing Hing Chin, a Chinese American World War II veteran and a resident of Highland Park, Michigan. David Chin had worked in Detroit's laundry's and restaurants. Lily Chin became an active member of Detroit's Chinese American community, and in the early 1960s, she and her husband adopted Vincent, their only child. On the eve of her son's bachelor party on June 19, 1982, he was brutally attacked and killed.
Mrs. Chin had courageously persevered in the fight for justice in her son's murder and the subsequent trials of her son's killers, Chrysler plant superintendent Ronald Ebens, and his stepson, Michael Nitz. She never gave up in her quest for justice and her hope that no other mother would lose a child from hate and prejudice.
For the last 15 years, after the legal efforts on her son's behalf ended with the acquittal on appeal of Ronald Ebens, Mrs. Chin moved to China, after spending most of her life in Detroit as a U.S. citizen. She left her longtime home in Oak Park because it was too painful to continue to be reminded of the hate killing and injustice against her son. A civil judgment of $1 million was levied against Ronald Ebens, but he successfully evaded making payment despite efforts of community groups to enforce the judgment. Mrs. Chin had planned to live out her years in China, until her illness brought her back to family and friends in Detroit.
Vincent Chin's slaying came to symbolize anti-Asian violence nationally and internationally. His death took place in the climate of a protracted national anti-Japanese and anti-Asian hysteria. In the moments before the fatal attack, witnesses overheard Ronald Ebens' say to Vincent, "It's because of you m-therfuckers that we're out of work."
After Wayne County Judge Charles Kaufman sentenced the confessed killers to only three years' probation and fines for their vicious bludgeoning attack on Chin, a civil rights movement of Asian Americans was born, led by Detroit-based American Citizens for Justice, with Mrs. Lily Chin's active involvement. Her legacy, and her son's, was recorded in the Academy-award nominated documentary film, "Who Killed Vincent Chin?," which has been viewed by millions of Americans.
Federal prosecutors eventually brought forth the first criminal civil rights prosecution involving an Asian American victim in U.S. history. Asian American efforts on Vincent Chin's behalf and other victims of hate crimes led to a broadening of federal hate crimes prosecutions. June 19, 2002 marks 20 years since the fatal assault on Vincent Chin, and numerous commemoration events are scheduled around the country.
In Detroit, a teach-in will be held on June 21 and a grave side memorial for Vincent is planned for June 23; for information see the website at: http://rededication.cjb.net. Other events honoring Mrs. Chin and Vincent Chin are planned in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC, and San Francisco.
Mrs. Chin had established a scholarship in Vincent's memory, to be administered by American Citizens for Justice; donations may be sent to ACJ at P.O. Box 2735, Southfield, MI 48037. She was a member of the Farmington Hills Chinese Bible Church. She leaves behind a sister, Amy Lee and nephew Lewis Lee, both of Farmington Hills, niece Jenny Lee of Troy, as well as several other sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews across the U.S., in Hong Kong and China.
A public memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 15, 2002 at 10:00 am. The funeral home is William Sullivan & Son Funeral Home, 705 W. Eleven Mile Rd., Royal Oak, just west of Woodward; (248) 541-7000. At 11:00 am, Saturday, there will be a funeral procession to Forest Lawn Cemetery, on Van Dyke Ave., south of McNichols, in Detroit.