New Vincent Chin Podcast Never Contacted Helen Zia or the Chin Estate

Journalist Helen Zia speaks at a protest seeking justice for Vincent Chin in the 1980's. (Photo credit: Corky Lee)

This post was updated on 5/29/21 to include new developments in this story, including comments from A-Major Media. This post was updated on 6/3/21 to include new comments by Annie Tan and Rosalind Chao.

Earlier this year, it was announced that Gemma Chan would be partnering with A-Major Media and M88 to produce a new star-studded podcast centered around the 1982 racially-motivated murder of Vincent Chin that sparked a nationwide protest galvanizing the Asian American community. That podcast — Hold Still, Vincent — involves a table read of a screenplay by the same name written by Johnny Ngo, and it features a star-studded cast of Asian American actors including Remy Hii as Vincent Chin, Rosalind Chao as Vincent’s mother Lily Chin, and Kelly Marie Tran as both Liza Chan and Helen Zia. Benedict Wong, Ki Hong Lee, Stephanie Hsu and Tzi Ma also make appearances. The podcast also features an interview with Asian American artists and activists moderated by John Cho. Hold Still, Vincent released all five episodes on May 27, and is also expected to be developed into a feature film.

Both podcast and film have excited the Asian American community because they are expected to introduce a pivotal moment in Asian American movement history to a wider audience. Many were disappointed therefore when Helen Zia — the journalist who played a central role in organizing the demands for justice for Chin and his family — revealed that neither she nor the Vincent Chin Estate have ever been contacted by the makers of Hold Still, Vincent.

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Report: Asian American Women Twice as Likely to Be Targets of Anti-Asian Hate

Photograph of the NYC public art installation "I Still Believe in Our City" featuring artwork by Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya.

A joint study by the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) and Stop AAPI Hate finds that Asian American women are twice as likely as Asian American men to self-report being targeted in anti-Asian hate incidents. Further, NAPAWF reports that in a separate poll surveying 3,500 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women, nearly four out of five Asian American women say that anti-Asian racism has affected their lives – for many, the impact has been significant.

Most strikingly, that survey found that half of all Asian American and Pacific Islander women have personally experienced a specific incident of anti-Asian racism in the last two years.

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100+ Asian and LGBTQ Organizations’ Statement in Opposition to Law Enforcement-Based Hate Crime Legislation

FILE - In this March 13, 2021, file photo, Chinese-Japanese American student Kara Chu, 18, holds a pair of heart balloons decorated by herself for the rally "Love Our Communities: Build Collective Power" to raise awareness of anti-Asian violence outside the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

By Guest Contributor: 100+ Asian American and LGBTQ Organizations

We, the undersigned Asian and LGBTQ organizations, reject hate crime legislation that relies on anti-Black, law enforcement responses to the recent rise in anti-Asian bias incidents across the US.

In the same week the verdict in George Floyd’s murder was announced, footage of the killing of Adam Toledo was released, one week after Daunte Wright was killed by the police, and countless others experienced violence at the hands of law enforcement, Asian communities celebrated the passage of S.937, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act in the US Senate.

While we wish we could celebrate the historic visibility of anti-Asian violence and racism, which is as old as the colonization of the Americas, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act contradicts Asian solidarity with Black, Brown, undocumented, trans, low-income, sex worker, and other marginalized communities whose liberation is bound together. Furthermore, the bolstering of law enforcement and criminalization does not keep us safe and in fact harms and furthers violence against Asian communities facing some of the greatest disparities and attacks – sex workers, low wage workers, people with disabilities, people living with HIV, youth, women, trans and non binary people, migrants amongst others. It also ignores that police violence is also anti-Asian violence, which has disproportionately targeted Black and Brown Asians. We uplift the names of Christian Hall and Angelo Quinto, Asian Americans who were recently killed by police during mental health crises.

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INTERVIEW: Gene Luen Yang and Bernard Chang On Bringing the Monkey King to DC Comics

Page featuring the new Monkey Prince character from DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Collection. (Photo credit: DC Comics)

By: Hannah Han

DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Collection is DC Comics’ newest comic book anthology celebrating Asian Superheroes comes just in time to celebrate Asian Pacifiic American heritage in May.

This is an exclusive interview with writer Gene Luen Yang and artist Bernard Chang, who have contributed a special story introducing a brand new DC superhero, Monkey Prince, as the main event of this 96-page anthology commemorating some of DC’s beloved Asian and Asian American characters.

In the excerpt of The Monkey Prince Hates Superheroes from DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration, we only really got a small window into Monkey Prince’s world, but it’s really so richly depicted and vibrant, and I loved all of the references to Chinese mythology.

When you are drafting the story, what were your sources of inspiration, especially when giving Monkey Prince his distinct personality and background? Did you pull any inspiration from your own lives at any point?

Gene Luen Yang: I think I speak for both Bernard and me that even though we worked on The Monkey Prince for a few months, we’ve actually been working on this story all of our lives. Bernard and I have thought about the Monkey King since we were little kids, since we’ve heard these stories from our parents. Again, being both Monkey King fans and superhero fans, we’ve thought about the connections between superhero stories and ancient Chinese mythology for years and years and years. In a lot of ways, this project felt like we were just pouring all the stuff out onto the page that has been with us since we were little kids.

Bernard Chang: Both of us grew up with our parents reading bedtime stories about the Monkey King to us. Growing up in America, we’re first introduced to a lot of American superheroes with these powers to fly and [with] super strength and all these things. And when our parents would read to us about the Monkey King, it was our own superhero that we could associate with.

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On the Continued Value of AAPI Heritage Month

Several paper cranes organized into a rainbow

May has once again arrived, and with it comes yet another Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI1AAPI is primarily used in this post to refer to AAPI Heritage Month (or more archaically, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM)), which is conventionally named for both groups. Otherwise, I use the AAPI acronym only when it is contextually appropriate to jointly refer to both Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Otherwise, I am specific about which community I am referring to, and use the appropriate term accordingly.) Heritage Month. Back when I first started my activism work, I used to mark this month in my calendar. I looked forward to May as a moment of celebration and triumph for communities otherwise too often overlooked.

When I was a student activist, I skipped weeks of classes (much to the chagrin of my parents and professors): I was on a quixotic mission to expand our school’s celebration of AAPI Heritage Month from a mere week of events to a full month’s worth of invited speakers, film screenings, and workshops. In the early days of Reappropriate, I planned a (barely-sustainable) schedule of posts to commemorate AAPI Heritage Month that included hours of research and writing each week. By May 31, I would collapse in an exhausted heap, worn out from a month of frenzied, non-stop work but convinced that I had poured my energy into a just and worthy cause.

Our community’s collective excitement over AAPI Heritage Month is understandable. For many in the AAPI communities, our politics are centrally defined by the search for visibility. We desperately yearn to be seen: whether it is to see ourselves represented in popular media; or, to see ourselves elected to public office; or, to see our most marginalized voices be better centered within the larger Asian American movement. And rightfully so: for centuries, the Asian American experience has been defined by our political invisibility. Our history – both of racial trauma and triumph – is largely unknown. Even in the modern age, we are ignored by mainstream political discourse. This invisibility is even more salient for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, who are so often marginalized by both mainstream America and Asian American organizing efforts alike that they now (understandably) question the value of combining Asian American and Pacific Islander politics into a single acronym at all.

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