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Asian American Heritage Month Marked by Exhibit and Panel Discussion
May 8 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pmFree
New Canaan Library joins the Fairfield County Chapter of the OCA – a national organization advocating for the rights of Asian Americans – and community partners in celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander National Heritage Month. Throughout May, the Library will feature an exhibit on the 1982 killing of Vincent Chin, a racially motivated crime that galvanized a new civil rights movement.
In addition to the exhibit, the month’s focus will include a May 8th panel discussion exploring the current climate of hate and what individuals and communities can do to reduce racial bias. The panel begins at 6:30 PM in the Library’s Jim & Dede Bartlett Auditorium, followed by a reception showcasing Asian foods.
Vincent Chin was a young Chinese man who was racially assaulted in public by two white auto workers who had recently lost their jobs. In the 1980s fuel-efficient Japanese cars gave Detroit serious competition, leading to massive layoffs. Racial tensions were high. The two auto workers followed him into the parking lot and was overheard asking a passer-by to “help get the Chinese.” The two beat him to death with a baseball bat. The two pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to a mere three years’ probation and a $3,000 fine and served no jail time. This incident became the impetus for the Asian American civil rights movement. The exhibit also explores the efforts of Lily, Vincent’s mother, to seek justice for her son.
Panelists for the May 8 discussion are Dr. Jason Chang, Director of Asian & Asian American Studies & Associate Professor of History, UConn; Ms. Ngoc Dinh, Director of Customer Success, Microsoft; Ms. Carmen Hughes, Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility Strategies Officer, City of Stamford; and William Tong, Esq., Attorney General, State of CT. The moderator will be Ms. Pauline Ning Brody, VP, OCA-Fairfield County Chapter. Appreciation goes to community partners OCA- Fairfield County, AAPI Westport and Stand Together Against Racism (S.T.A.R.) for their collaboration in bringing these programs to the Library.
The exhibit was curated by OCA National and brought to New Canaan by the OCA-Fairfield County Chapter. Formerly known as the Organization of Chinese Americans, OCA advocates for the rights and wellbeing of all Asian Americans. It is headquartered in Washington, DC and has over 50 chapters around the country.