The Tragedy of June 19, 1982

I may be a day late in posting this, but the time for reflection is a never-ending one, really: it’s 40 years since the death of Vincent Chin.

See here for Emil Guillermo’s perspective, posted June 16, 2022, on the hate crime that had occurred, and how we can reflect. There are no easy answers.

I’ve proposed for the last eight years a national period of meditation each and every year between June 19 to June 23 to ask ourselves some basic questions. Questions like, “What does it mean to be an Asian American today?” / “What does it take to stand up for a sense of ourselves?” / “Our community? Our personal and public identity?” / “What does real equality, real justice mean today?” Those are the things worth thinking about now and in the future.

Emil Guillermo

Guillermo ponders on what is justice, if those who commit the crime don’t take responsibility or don’t show remorse? What is a hate crime, if the intent by the person who commits the crime leads to no admission and no reparation?

Guillermo further notes:

No one has to hear from the killer ever. Apology? There’s no there there. / But every year, it’s important for all Asian Americans, past, present, and future, to pause and reflect on what happened on those five days, starting on June 19th and ending on June 23rd, when we awake, inspired to take action, moved by the memory of Vincent Chin.

The further reality is that, during the years of the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-Asian hate persists and reminds us that the perpetual foreigner trope persists, and so we keep struggling somehow for what is better, what does it mean to be American, what is equality, and what is justice.

So, yes, Guillermo’s questions are very real.

Significantly, in the 40 years since Vincent Chin’s death, the needs for solidarity and dialog and work persist too. See for more on the struggle of against anti-Asian hate: “Remembering Vincent Chin — and the deep roots of anti-Asian violence,” by Li Zhou, June 19, 2022, over at Vox. Zhou reports:

Overall, activists note that while the causes of anti-Asian discrimination are enduring and as tenacious today as in the 1980s, thanks to continued activism, awareness about these biases has also increased and improved significantly. Continuing to grow this understanding, and maintaining the willingness to fight back against it, is central to moving forward, they say.

As a closing note to pass along: Triscribe’s own FC shared, via Facebook, the link to the Vincent Chin 40th Remembrance and Rededication. I hope that I can check out videos of the remembrance later, but there’s also a guide to consider as well.

Remember to take care of yourself too, as the struggle is real and can be tiring. Keep learning and keep trying. — ssw15

Memorial Day 2022, or How AAPI Heritage Month 2022 is Winding Down

Hope you’re having a meaningful Memorial Day. Take a moment to remember those who died in service for us and this country. And may we honor them by doing better ourselves for each other.

Meanwhile, AAPI Heritage Month 2022 is zooming by like a blink of an eye. We had parades (see here for the previous link about the info) and we have at least one museum exhibit (see the Museum of New York‘s ongoing exhibit of the work of Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya on “Raise Your Voice.

We are still in a pandemic. We are still struggling with the perpetual perceptions of being foreign in our own country. Plus, AAPI Heritage Month is Mental Health Awareness Month, so I suggest checking out A Brief But Spectacular Take by Christine Catipon, as a feature of the PBS NewsHour. Catipon, a clinical psychologist at the University of California, Irvine Counseling Center, has a succinct take on being Filipina and overcoming shame and teaching that self-care is important. Worth a watch/listen.

I meant to check out the link to Barnes & Noble’s post, April 28, 2022, regarding episodes from its podcast Poured Over regarding AAPI literature. But, it’s worth checking out all-year round (and for us at triscribe, AAPI Heritage is a year-round thing anyway).

For AAPI Heritage Month, Short Wave, an NPR podcast, explores the life of Chien-Shiung Wu: a physicist, Chinese immigrant, a woman, a wife, mother, grandmother, mentor. She should not be forgotten. The episodes are worth a listen. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.

Also, last but not least, check out FC’s post, from April 2022 – but still timely because FC, as triscribe founder, is our AAPI Heritage inspiration for all he has done for the AAPI legal community in bringing us – law students and practitioners – altogether.

As it says under the title of triscribe – “We’re still here!” Until next time… — ssw15

Taking a Moment to Pause and Reflect 2021

Try to remember the kind of September

When life was slow and oh, so mellow.

Try to remember the kind of September

When grass was green and grain was yellow.

-“Try to Remember,” from The Fantasticks.

I have been in a mood this whole week, realizing that the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001, was upon us. It feels surreal that it has been 20 years.

20 years ago, I was trying to figure out how to make any use of my last year in law school, and then that Tuesday happened. I didn’t imagine the entirely different landscape that we’ve had since. I never imagined that all the crises and calamities we’d be through.

20 years ago: I didn’t think that we’d be in a pandemic. I didn’t think that the progress of, say, 15 years of rebuilding downtown Manhattan would be reduced to misery by the pandemic. I didn’t think that Afghanistan would be such a regression, leaving much to be desired about our moral values as a country, let alone what moral values were in Afghanistan.

20 years of what, as far as we went forward and as far as we have not done enough, I’d say.

It’s a Saturday and we’re in the 2nd year of a 9/11 anniversary during a pandemic. I woke up to watch the moment of silence on television for 10:28am, when the 2nd tower of the World Trade Center fell. I let out my own moment of wondering and feeling despair.

I managed to get out to the Brooklyn Promenade after all, earlier this evening, awhile before sunset. There was a prayer circle of a family and people just walking their dogs. It was peaceful. I didn’t stay long, but it was nice.

I do wish all a peaceful and thoughtful day.

This NPR piece, “How To Talk About 9/11 With A New Generation Of Kids,” Sept. 9, 2021, was worthwhile. The experts explained about being clear with kids about what happened, accepting the discomfort, and being able to share your own feelings. And, I liked how the piece closed: “And the answers — that it is possible but hard and that we have to help each other — are as relevant today as ever.”

Dan Barry’s piece over at the NY Times, as part of 20th anniversary observations, raises “What Does It Mean To ‘Never Forget’?” Barry notes:

What, exactly, do you remember? What stories do you tell when a casual conversation morphs into a therapy session? What stories do you keep to yourself? And what instantly transports you back to that deceptively sunny Tuesday morning? [….]

“When I hear ‘Never Forget’ for 9/11, my next question is: ‘Never forget what?’ said Charles B. Stone, an associate professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. [….] “Probably the closest answer is: Never forget that it occurred,” Dr. Stone said. “But it’s the little details that will be forgotten.”

Dan Barry (see the above link).

Barry’s piece is worth a read, because I do wonder what we’re asked to do when we’re told to not forget. Memory is a tricky thing. We’re only human; perhaps that’s the most important to remember – never forget you’re only human.

Photo I had taken some years ago, at the Brooklyn Promenade.

See here for last year’s post, for more photos or observations.

Since I’m the one who brings up The Fantasticks’ lyric about September, I’ll note that FC shared this over on Facebook, so I’m passing it along: “Wake Me Up When September Ends” – Green Day (Cover by First to Eleven). As FC said: “Today’s soundtrack – ‘twenty years have gone so fast.'”

Take a moment to pause and reflect, and thanks for being here. — ssw15