American Citizens for Justice Records: 1983-2004
Summary Information
Title: American Citizens for Justice Records
Creator: American Citizens for Justice.
Inclusive dates: 1983-2004
Extent: 9 linear feet
Abstract:
The American Citizens for Justice, (or the Asian American Center for Justice) a Detroit-based Asian American civil rights group, was founded in reaction to the fatal beating of Vincent Chin, a Chinese-American man. The ACJ later evolved into an organization advocating for the rights of Asian-Americans in general. Records consist of meeting minutes, financial reports, correspondence, publications and grants, Vincent Chin related information, legal case files, health project files, as well as topical files.
Call number: 05100 Bd 2
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid created by Polly Reynolds, August 2005

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The records were deposited by the American Citizens for Justice (donor no. 9614) in June 2005. Additions to the collection deposited in October 2005

Access Restrictions:

The record group is open to research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.

Copyright:

Copyright has been retained by the American Citizens for Justice. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, American Citizens for Justice Records, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Biography

The American Citizens for Justice (or the Asian American Center for Justice), a Detroit-based Asian American civil rights group was founded in reaction to the fatal beating of Vincent Chin, a Chinese-American man. On June 19, 1982, while at a club in Detroit for his bachelor party, Chin encountered Ronald Ebens, a Detroit autoworker. According to reports, Ebens verbally harassed Chin, blaming his race for recent U.S. automotive unemployment (mistakenly believing Chin to be Japanese). A fight between the two men broke out, Chin striking Ebens before the men were separated. Ebens and his stepson, Michael Nitz, later deliberately tracked down Chin and attacked him with a baseball bat in front of a fast-food restaurant. Injuries from the attack led to Chin's death four days later.

Outraged by a judge's lenient sentence for these two men: a $3000 fine and 3 years probation, a group of Asian Pacific Americans formed the American Citizens for Justice on March 30, 1983, with the immediate goal of fighting for a retrial. Consisting of individuals of wide-ranging Asian descent including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Filipino, this group represented for the "first time, according to APA advocates and academics, that people who trace their ancestry to different countries in Asia and the Pacific Islands crossed ethnic and socioeconomic lines to fight as a united group of Asian Pacific Americans" (http://www.asianweek.com/061397/feature.html, para. 9). Working with other Asian Pacific American groups, the ACJ gathered support, "staged rallies, organized demonstrations, and launched a massive letter-writing campaign" (para. 23) all in hopes of bringing Chin's killers to justice. In 1984, the two men were brought to trial and Ebens was found guilty and sentenced to 25 years in prison. However, this ruling was later overturned due to a legal technicality. In a 1987 retrial, Ebens and Nitz were found not guilty on all charges.

The goals of the American Citizens for Justice have extended since the Chin incident, moving beyond the trial to broader aims of educating the public about Asian-American discrimination and helping other victims of racial harassment and injustice. The ACJ advocates for Asian-Pacific Americans in several areas, including law enforcement, legislation, networking, education, and health (ACJ brochure). In addition to offering free legal consultation to victims of racial harassment and discrimination, the ACJ also collaborates with other attorneys and legal groups to monitor and provide advice for anti-Asian incidents throughout the country. Through petitions and letter-writing, the ACJ "works to influence public policy and public institutions for just treatment of APAs" (ACJ brochure). Additionally, the ACJ has been fully involved in public education, sponsoring several workshops and conferences, educating students and others on Asian-American discrimination and culture. Throughout its existence, the ACJ has also been involved in many different projects. In 1989, with a grant from the Michigan Department of Public Health, the ACJ conducted a health needs assessment survey of the Southeast Asian communities of Detroit. The ACJ is still in existence today and continues to advocate for Asian Americans.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The American Citizens for Justice record group details the administrative functions as well as the activities and goals of the organization. Records consist of meeting minutes, financial reports, correspondence, publications and grants, Vincent Chin related information, legal case files, health project files, as well as topical files.

This Record group contains the following series: Administrative, Vincent Chin Case and Aftermath, Public Relations, Grants/Funding, Activities, Topical, and Visual Materials.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.


  • Asian Americans -- Michigan.
  • Chinese Americans -- Michigan.
  • Minorities -- Crimes against -- Michigan.
  • Chinese Americans -- Michigan.
  • Asian Americans -- Michigan.
  • Videotapes.
  • Photographs.
  • American Citizens for Justice.
  • Chin, Vincent.
  • American Citizens for Justice.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
Administrative 1982-2003 [series] (3 linear feet)

The Administrative series (3 linear feet, 1982-2003) details the overall governing and planning structure of the ACJ including constitution and bylaws, executive board meeting minutes and agenda, financial reports and statements, incoming correspondence (1984-2003) and some outgoing correspondence (1988-1990). Meeting minutes and director's reports are especially useful for the background and planning of ACJ projects and to get an overall sense of the ACJ's goals.

Box   1  
Constitution and by-laws
 
Executive Director
Box   1  
David Fukuzawa
Box   1  
Joanna Su
Box   1  
Reports 1988-1990 (3 folders)
 
Executive Board
Box   1  
Forms and procedures
Box   1  
Meeting minutes/agenda 1985-2003 (21 folders)
Box   1  
Retreats
 
Committees
Box   2  
Attorney
Box   2  
Finance
Box   2  
Fundraising
Box   2  
Strategic planning
 
Membership
Box   2  
Membership form
Box   2  
Membership lists
 
General meetings 1982-1985, 1987-1999 (14 folders)
Box   2  
Future speakers
 
Finance
Box   2  
Financial statements 1987-1994
Box   2  
Fundraising
Box   2  
Market plan 1989
 
Treasurer's reports
Box   2  
1987
Box   2  
1992-1993
Box   2  
1993-1994
Box   2  
1995-1996
 
Correspondence
 
Incoming
Box   2  
1984-1985, 1987-1988
Box   2  
1989
Box   2  
1990
Box   2  
1991
Box   2  
1992
Box   2  
1993
Box   2  
1994
Box   3  
1995
Box   3  
1996
Box   3  
1997
Box   3  
1998
Box   3  
1999
Box   3  
2000
Box   3  
2001
Box   3  
2002
Box   3  
2003 (2 folders)
Box   3  
Outgoing 1988-1990 (3 folders)
 
Other
Box   3  
Miscellaneous and agendas
Box   3  
Rededication programs 1983, 1985-1999 (2 folders)
Box   3  
Status report 1989
 
Vincent Chin Case and Aftermath 1983-1989 [series] (0.5 linear feet)

The Vincent Chin Case and Aftermath series (0.5 linear feet, 1983-1989) contains files relating to the Vincent Chin incident and legal case, including clippings and articles, ACJ's involvement with the case (court watch documents, petitions, remembrance services), as well as public reaction, including response letters from viewers of a Phil Donahue show that covered the Chin case in 1983.

 
General information
Box   4  
Scrapbook of articles and information on Vincent Chin 1983
Box   4  
Articles and clippings (2 folders)
Box   4  
ACJ organizing efforts 1983-1986
Box   4  
Donations 1983
Box   4  
Film, "Who killed Vincent Chin?" 1988-1989
Box   4  
Other group involvement/reactions 1983-1984, 1987
Box   4  
Remembrance services 1983-1989
Box   4  
Remembrance services, ACJ/Hawaii day of remembrance 1986
Box   4  
Response letters from Phil Donahue show 1983 (2 folders)
Box   4  
Run for Justice 1985
 
Court case
Box   4  
Articles on court ruling 1983-1987 (2 folders)
Box   4  
Court watch documents and copies of legal documents 1983-1984, 1987
Box   4  
Ebens 1989-1990
Box   4  
Letters from ACJ re: Chin case 1983, 1985, 1989
Box   4  
Chin case petition forms, ca. 1983
 
Public Relations 1983-2001 [series] (0.3 linear feet)

The Public Relations series (0.3 linear feet 1983-2001) includes informational brochures and flyers, press releases, speeches, and newsletters.

Box   4  
Contact lists 1989
Box   4  
Flyers/brochures 1988-1997
Box   4  
General PR 1987-1988, undated
Box   4  
Press releases 1988-1989
Box   4  
Speeches 1983-1991
Box   4  
Support documents
 
Publications
 
Newsletters
 
Justice Update 1983-2001
Box   4  
1983-1997 (15 folders)
Box   5  
1998-1999 (2 folders)
Box   5  
2001
Box   5  
Year book 1983
 
Grants/Funding 1984-2001 [series] (0.75 linear feet)

The Grants/Funding series (0.75 linear feet, 1984-2001) contains ACJ grant proposals submitted to various agencies and foundations (arranged by organization). The proposals are especially useful for information on the background of the ACJ as well as the proposed activities and projects of the organization as well.

Box   5  
Contacts and funding summaries 1989-1990
Box   5  
Proposals 1984
Box   5  
Grants 1992, 1994-1995
Box   5  
ACJ recipe book 1988
Box   5  
ANR Pipeline Company 1990
Box   5  
Bingo files 1991
Box   5  
The Boehm Foundation 1988
Box   5  
Buck Dinner 1988
Box   5  
Bydale Foundation 1988
Box   5  
Chicago Resource Center 1988
Box   5  
Chrysler Motors 1988
Box   5  
Coalition for Human Needs 1988-1989
Box   5  
Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan 1988
Box   5  
Deer Creek Foundation 1988
Box   5  
Donovan, Leisure, Newton & Irvine Foundation 1988
Box   5  
Episcopal Diocese of Michigan 1988
Box   5  
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 1988
Box   5  
The Field Foundation 1988
Box   5  
First of America Bank Fund 1988
Box   5  
Ford Foundation 1988
Box   5  
Ford Motor Company 1988-1989
Box   5  
Funding Exchange/National Community Funds 1988-1989
Box   5  
General Motors Foundation 1988-1989
Box   5  
Hughes Memorial Foundation 1988
Box   5  
Hycliff Foundation, Inc. 1988
Box   5  
Inacomp Computers 1988-1989
Box   5  
J. Roderick MacArthur Foundation 1988
Box   5  
Japan Business Society of Detroit Foundation 1995-2001 (7 folders)
Box   5  
Joint Foundation Support 1989
Box   5  
McGregor Fund 1990
Box   5  
Michigan Bell Foundation 1988
Box   5  
Michigan Council for the Humanities 1988
Box   5  
The Needmor Fund 1988
Box   5  
Norman Foundation 1988
Box   5  
The Ottinger Foundation 1988
Box   5  
Presbyterian USA Funding 1990
Box   5  
Sisters of the Living Word 1988
Box   5  
United Foundation 1988-1989
Box   5  
United Methodist Church 1987-1990 (4 folders)
 
Activities 1985-2004 [series] (3.25 linear feet)

The Activities series (3.25 linear feet, 1985-2004) comprises all of the various activities of the ACJ and has been divided into several subseries: education, health, legal, and other.

 
Education [subseries]

The Education subseries documents the ACJ's involvement in public education of Asian Pacific Americans, covering issues like discrimination as well as history and culture through conferences and workshops. Many of the files contain handouts and agendas from these various events.

 
General
Box   5  
Asian American Civil Rights Education project, 1988-89
Box   5  
Media project
 
Workshops/conferences
 
ACJ Youth Conference
Box   5  
May 20, 1995
Box   5  
September 23, 1995
Box   5  
September 13, 1997
Box   5  
Cultural Awareness workshop 1998
Box   5  
"Enhancing Police and Community Trust," 2000
Box   5  
Multicultural Immersion Program 1996-2004 (9 folders)
Box   5  
Miscellaneous
 
Health 1989-1990 [subseries]

The Health subseries contains files relating to the ACJ's involvement in health-related issues. Most of the documents pertain to ACJ's 1989/1990 Southeast Asian Community Health Needs Assessment Project, funded by the Michigan Department of Health.

 
Topical files
Box   6  
AMAP (Asian Mutual Assistance Program)
Box   6  
Mental Health Needs and Services for Asian Americans project
Box   6  
MDHEC (Metropolitan Detroit Health Education Council) Conference
Box   6  
Minority Health Issues Committee
Box   6  
Minority HIV RFP
Box   6  
Miscellaneous health-related documents
Box   6  
Reduction in mortality/morbidity in minorities RFP
Box   6  
Refugee Act 1980
Box   6  
United Community Services
 
Southeast Asian Community Health Needs Assessment Project
 
Background/research
Box   6  
Community survey
Box   6  
Detroit Health Department
Box   6  
Health provider survey questionnaires
Box   6  
Health surveys
Box   6  
Hmong community
Box   6  
Laotian community
Box   6  
Multicultural clinics
Box   6  
Other minority health projects
Box   6  
Refugee health
Box   6  
Refugee mental health
Box   6  
Refugee mutual assistance associations
Box   6  
Refugees in Michigan
Box   6  
Southeast Asians, resources
 
Project
Box   6  
Contact notes
Box   6  
Financial status reports
Box   6  
Health provider survey questionnaire
Box   6  
Health Task Force
Box   6  
Interview materials
Box   6  
Miscellaneous
Box   6  
Miscellaneous proposals and notes
Box   6  
Proposals and budgets
Box   6  
Proposals and planning
Box   6  
Reports
Box   6  
Status reports
Box   6  
Survey logistics
Box   6  
Survey publications
 
Legal [subseries]

The Legal subseries contains case files of ACJ clients as well as documents and correspondence referring to regional and national legal cases that the ACJ followed.

Box   7  
Attorney client committee intake form
Box   7  
Attorney watch for anti-Asian incidents 1989
Box   7  
Civil rights project
 
ACJ case files 1989-1990
Box   7  
Brown, X. (discrimination INS)
Box   7  
Chou, S. (employment)
Box   7  
Chow, C. (racial harassment and false accusation)
Box   7  
Dick, M. (traffic incident)
Box   7  
Gonzales (medical?)
Box   7  
"Ho, Mr." (immigration problems?)
Box   7  
Huang, J. (employment)
Box   7  
Huie, W. A. (assault)
Box   7  
Jain, J. (employment)
Box   7  
Lee, N. (assault)
Box   7  
Lee, S. (assault)
Box   7  
Mazhar, I. (employment discrimination)
Box   7  
Melton, K. (employment discrimination)
Box   7  
Patel, P. P. (employment discrimination)
Box   7  
Red Dragon Restaurant (discrimination?)
Box   7  
Saxena, R. (employment discrimination)
Box   7  
Schafer family (discrimination)
Box   7  
Tewari et al. (employment discrimination)
Box   7  
Tien, K. (assault)
Box   7  
Wei, M. (employment discrimination)
Box   7  
Young, W. (discrimination)
Box   7  
Zhou, J. (employment)
 
Other legal cases
Box   7  
Huang, L. G. (Massachusetts) 1985
Box   7  
Isa, Esha (Illinois), 1988-89
 
Loo, Jim (North Carolina) 1988-1989
Box   7  
Case ruling
Box   7  
Correspondence
Box   7  
Documents
Box   7  
Organizing and fundraising efforts
Box   7  
Probable cause hearing transcript
 
Lor/Yang (Minnesota) 1989-1990
Box   7  
Correspondence
Box   7  
Documents
Box   7  
Takahashi (California) 1988
Box   7  
Yim, C. K. (Michigan) 1985
 
Topical 1985-1994 [series]

The Topical series (1.75 linear feet, 1985-1994) includes ACJ's topical files relating to various issues that the ACJ documented including articles and clippings on Asian-Americans, collected materials from other APA groups, documents on legislation affecting Asian-Americans as well as news articles detailing specific incidents of anti-Asian-American violence and discrimination. This series shows the kinds of issues and ideas that the ACJ wanted to track and also demonstrates the ACJ's broader aims of advocating for Asian Americans in general.

Box   8  
Articles/clippings (4 folders)
Box   8  
Anti-Asian Violence Network 1984-1985, 1988
Box   8  
APA Leader Council 1988
Box   8  
APASO (Asian Pacific American Student Organization, Michigan State University) 1989-1990
Box   8  
Asian Americans for Equality
Box   8  
Asian Foundation for Community Development 1986-1989
Box   8  
Asian Law Caucus 1989-1991
Box   8  
Asian Pacific Heritage Week 1986, 1988
Box   8  
Association for Asian American Studies, scattered
Box   8  
Battered women 1988-1990
Box   8  
Business Advisory Council 1988
Box   8  
Campus issues 1987-1990
Box   8  
Chicago Commission on Asian American Affairs 1989-1990
Box   8  
Civil Rights Act of 1990
Box   8  
Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence 1988-1992
Box   8  
Crime victim's rights 1985, 1988
Box   8  
Cultural Leadership program 1995
Box   8  
Detroit Chinatown proposal 1989
Box   8  
Detroit Ecumenical Working Group of Asian Pacific Americans (DEWGAPA) 1988-1990
Box   8  
Detroit Minority Business Development Center 1988-1989
Box   8  
Discrimination 1986-1994
 
Ecumenical Working Group of Asian Pacific Americans (EWGAPA)
Box   8  
1987
Box   8  
1988
Box   8  
1989
Box   8  
1990
Box   8  
1991
Box   8  
1992
Box   9  
1993
Box   9  
1994
Box   9  
Study guide 1988-1989
Box   9  
English only statements 1989
Box   9  
English proficiency exam at Wayne State University 1988
Box   9  
Governor's Advisory Commission on Asian-American Affairs 1985, 1987, 1991
Box   9  
House Bill no. 4508 (Asian Pacific American Commission) 1993
Box   9  
House Concurrent Resolution no. 147 1989
Box   9  
House Resolution no. 442 redress 1986-1989
Box   9  
House Resolution no. 2712 1990
Box   9  
International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit 1988-1991
Box   9  
Lakes Area Council for Diversity 1995
Box   9  
Michigan Department of Civil Rights 1988-1990
Box   9  
Michigan Victim Alliance 1987-1990
Box   9  
Midwest APA students 1989-1991
Box   9  
Model minority 1989-1990
Box   9  
National Asian Pacific Bar Association (NAPBA) 1989-1992
Box   9  
National Congressional Conference on Asian-American Violence November 1989
Box   9  
National Network Against Asian-American Violence 1990-1993
Box   9  
Oberlin College protests 1990
Box   9  
Roland Hwang files 1992-1994 (3 folders)
Box   9  
Slurs and stereotypes 1988-1990
Box   9  
UMASC (University of Michigan Asian Student Coalition) 1987-1990
Box   9  
University of Michigan 1987-1990
Box   9  
Wayne State University beatings 1988-1990
Box   9  
WTVS 1988
Box   9  
Youth outreach 1988-1989
 
Visual Materials 1986-1996 [series]

The Visual Materials series (0.25 linear feet, 1986-1996 and undated) contains several videotapes, including videos of the ACJ rededication dinner, videos of regional conferences and workshops that the ACJ took part in, and several videos sponsored by the ACJ that promote Asian-American awareness. The photographs are unlabeled, but appear to be from a meeting or workshop.

Box   9  
Photographs of meetings, etc. undated
 
Videotapes
Box   9  
ACJ Rededication Dinner 1986 (2 videotapes)
Box   9  
Asian Pacific American Conference, Lansing Community College 1991
Box   9  
Solace 1996
Box   9  
Cultural Sensitivity Asian cultures, Rebecca Lo undated
Box   9  
Asian-American identity (interview project sponsored by the ACJ) undated