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The case of Vincent Chin, where two white men publicly brutally beat a Chinese American man to death in 1982 and only received 3 years probation each, is an open sore in Asian American history. While Asian American activists took the case to court, filing the first federal case of a hate crime against an Asian American, the killers were still acquitted of all charges (including committing a hate crime) by an all white jury in Cincinnati.

Most recently, two young white men beat to death Luis Ramirez, a Mexican immigrant, while taunting him with racial slurs. The killers were also acquitted by an all white jury of all charges including third-degree murder and ethnic intimidation. Although the Vincent Chin case has passed but is continually remembered by the Asian American community, Luis Ramirez's case is still active. This is where crossracial coalition and alliance work is crucial.

So far, this is the only petition/action I've found, but let's all please keep our eyes peeled for more actions to come. Petition


No Justice for Vincent Then, No Justice for Luis Now

Editor’s Note: Last week, two of the young white men who allegedly killed Mexican immigrant Luis Ramirez in Shenandoah, Penn. were acquitted by an all white jury. The case mirrors the first federal hate crime prosecution involving an Asian American. Carmina Ocampo is a Skadden fellow and staff attorney at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) of Los Angeles. Immigration Matters regularly features the views of immigration advocates and experts.

Last July, Luis Ramirez, a Latino immigrant who worked in a factory, was brutally killed by a gang of drunken white teenagers motivated by their dislike of the growing Latino population in their small coalmining town of Shenandoah, Penn. Two of the young white men who killed Luis were recently acquitted by an all white jury of all serious charges including third-degree murder and ethnic intimidation.

The facts of this case sounded all too familiar to those of us lawyers who work on civil rights cases. They mirror the facts at the heart of the 1982 Vincent Chin hate crime case.

Luis Ramirez was taunted with racial slurs and beaten to death during an altercation with a group of drunken white teenagers....Luis’s murder occurred during a time of increasing anti-immigrant sentiment directed primarily towards Latino immigrants, exacerbated by the economic crisis. Vincent Chin’s murder took place during a climate of intense anti-Asian sentiment directed at the Japanese who were blamed for taking jobs away from American workers. Helen Zia, a well-known Asian American civil rights activist described the early 1980s as a dangerous time to look Asian. The same may be said for Latinos today.

In both Luis’s and Vincent’s cases, the killers argued that their actions should be excused because they were drunk, the victims were the aggressors, and they were merely exercising self-defense during a drunken brawl.

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