Vincent Chin’s Beating Death Spurred Changes in Law
In Ferndale, Michigan, community members unveiled a new plaque commemorating the life and brutal 1982 beating death of Vincent Chin, and the important legacy of the landmark case that galvanized the Asian American community and spurred major legal changes. According to the Detroit Free Press, Chin had been celebrating his upcoming wedding with three friends when they were accosted by two laid-off autoworkers, who chased the group down the street, ultimately finding Chin and beating him to death with a baseball bat, according to testimony. The two men blamed him for losing their auto jobs to foreign cars. Chin’s killers, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz were given no jail time, $3000 in fines and three years of probation a piece — a sentence that sparked outrage among Asian Americans across the nation. Dramatic changes have been made in Michigan’s criminal courts since the killing, including: Victim impact statements — At the sentencings of Ebens and Nitz, there was no chance for Chin’s family to address the court. Since then, that has become the standard; Mandatory minimum sentences — The case revealed the excessive leeway Michigan judges had in sentencing, leading to a state Supreme Court ruling and, ultimately, legislation that required judges to justify differing from guidelines;  Civil rights laws — Chin’s killers’ light treatment by a Wayne County Circuit judge led Asian Americans to request intervention by the U.S. Justice Department, ultimately giving “the opportunity to identify Asian Americans as a minority group that is protected by civil rights laws.

Current Scores Won’t Prep U.S. Students For 21st Century
A glaring message from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) report released in December is that equity matters, reports CNN. Others might argue that economic competitiveness is the real issue here, considering that assessments of American 15 year-olds’ capabilities in reading, math and science rank low among the 34 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which performed the study. America’s performance reveals dangerous disparities: The 113-point gap in math literacy between the United States and No. 1 spot-holder Shanghai-China is the equivalent of more than two school years of schooling. The real lesson is about a country’s commitment to an equity-centered education. While school systems across the globe are challenged with meeting the needs of students from disadvantaged backgrounds — be it low socio-economic status, single parent households, or foreign-born parents — the top PISA performers managed to still provide an equal, high-quality education to each child attending their schools. Whether it was Canada’s commitment to meet the needs of their immigrant students or China’s policy shift to a more inclusive school system, the best-performing countries demonstrated the power of setting high expectations for all students and investing in resources, teachers, and leaders to help students meet these high expectations, regardless of their family background or geographic location. The commitment by the top-ranking countries to serve each child’s needs translated not only into a fair and accessible education system, but one that prepares its citizens with competitive 21st century knowledge and skills.

Yao Ming’s Legacy in the NBA
ESPN reported on the significance and legacy of Chinese basketball player, Yao Ming, despite his marked absence from the court in the last two years. The career obituaries that detail all the games missed in recent seasons and various injuries to his feet and legs tend to not mention that Yao played all 82 games his rookie year in the NBA, all 82 games his second season and 80 in his third season, reports ESPN. Yao was an offensive force and averaged 25 points a game in 2006 and averaged 22 points a game in 2007 and 2008. He shot better than 50 percent for the season six straight times and was third in the league in field goal percentage in 2005. The latest injury, the one that will force Yao to the sideline for the rest of this season and threatens to end his career, has prompted conversation about the enormous contribution he made to basketball. Yao Ming has introduced more people to professional basketball, surely the NBA brand, than any one man in the history of the sport. While it’s difficult to get exact ratings of the 39 NBA games broadcast in a season in China on CCTV (China Central television), the best available evidence is that approximately 200 million have frequently watched when the Rockets play, which is about one-third of the time. That’s 195 million more than watch an NBA playoff game, on average. The league even announced a massive cooperative with AEG to design, market and operate multi-purpose sports and entertainment arenas in major cities throughout China.

Illinois Senator: Women, Asians and Hispanics “are not people who have been discriminated against.”
Former Chicago mayoral candidate and current Illinois State Senator, James Meeks’ claim that women, Asians and Hispanics “are not people who have been discriminated against” has created a firestorm among those groups, reports the Huffington Post.  His controversial comments were made during a radio forum while talking about the city’s programs designed to benefit minority- and women-owned enterprises, which mandate that a certain share of city contracts go to such businesses. “I think that the word ‘minority,’ from our standpoint, should mean African American,” Meeks said, as reported by FOX Chicago. “I don’t think women, Asians and Hispanics should be able to use that title. That’s why our numbers cannot improve, because we use women, Asians and Hispanics, who are not people of color, who are not people who have been discriminated against.” Later, when asked to clarify, Meeks said that the City Hall programs should only stop their set-asides for “white women.” Meeks withdrew from the mayoral race on Dec. 23.

Korean Adoptee Wants to Give Orphans a Shot at the American Dream
Separated from his family during the Korean War, 12 year-old Sam Han was sheltered by strangers until an unlikely meeting set him on a journey to the United States, reports the Associated Press. He was adopted by a Minnesota professor and became a successful business executive. Now Han wants to give other overseas orphans a shot at making a life for themselves, before time runs out. He spends nights on the phone with advocates overseas and lobbies lawmakers for a bill to let Americans adopt North Korean orphans. It is a far cry from the lifestyle he enjoyed while building a multimillion-dollar global chemical company. Then, in 2002, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given just a few years to live. Han moved into his daughter’s home, sold all of his possessions, and started a children’s foundation in a Los Angeles suburb, while undergoing therapy and clinical trials for bone marrow cancer. Han lost his parents and sister during a chaotic exodus of his village in December 1950. Then 6, Han wandered door-to-door in a poor village, begging for food. A farmer raised Han for six years before the child travelled to Seoul. It was at a hospital when Arthur Schneider, a forestry expert and University of Minnesota professor, met him. After listening to the boy’s story, Schneider offered to pay for his education and petitioned to adopt Han. In 1961, Congress finally passed a bill on Han’s behalf to allow the single Schneider to adopt Han. In the U.S., Sang Man Han — dubbed “Sam” — earned a master’s in business administration and took a job in Europe with DuPont, then started his own chemical trading company. When the onslaught of cancer came on, Han decided to honor his adoptive father by helping other orphans. Run out of Han’s bedroom, the Han-Schneider International Children’s Foundation is a small network of volunteers who send meals to two state-run North Korean orphanages and help support orphanages in Cambodia and Tanzania.

Reality Show on APIs Picked Up By Major Network
The K-town reality show (aka “the Asian American Jersey Shore”), based off of the young Asian American night-life scene in Korea Town in Los Angeles, has sealed a deal with a major network and will air soon. The popular “Jersey Shore” reality show it was inspired from followed Italian Americans during a debauched summer, and community critics were up in arms that the show misrepresented Italian Americans, portraying them in a negative light. It is yet to be seen how “K-Town” will be perceived. Is it a celebration that Asian Americans have been recognized and made it to mainstream to help break stereotypes, or will Asian American viewers regret the depictions of drunken nights and fights it is sure to feature?

Community Activist and Ex-Con Faces Deportation
Eddy Zheng served over twenty years behind bars for a robbery he committed at age 16. Since then, he’s turned his life around and became a valuable educator, activist and community leader in the San Francisco Bay Area. But now, he faces deportation to China, reports KQED, the Bay Area News Blog. Zheng is known to have dedicated his life to preventing youth violence and delinquency through his work at Bay Area programs. But immigration laws make Zheng deportable to China, even though he’s already served his sentence and was found suitable to re-enter society by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2005. Zheng is appealing the order for his deportation to China. At issue is whether a Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision to remove Zheng considered positive factors in addition to his prison record. Zheng was allegedly involved in a robbery-kidnapping as a teen. His incarceration prevented him from becoming a naturalized citizen, and although released from prison, was taken into custody by the Department of Homeland Security pending deportation proceedings. He was set free in 2007, but an immigration court eventually ordered that he be deported to China, where he lived as a boy.

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