By: Tom Hayashi
WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA, a national organization dedicated to advancing the political, social, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), applauds the United States Army’s swift action in conducting a full investigation in the case surrounding the death of Private Danny Chen.
The recent announcement of the charges made against eight soldiers responsible for the death of Private Danny Chen demonstrates the United States Army’s commitment to ensuring that there is accountability for military personnel surrounding the circumstances that have been in question. Discovering the way in which Pvt. Chen had come to his death is a bitter reminder of similar incidents in the history of our community including but not limited to the racially charged massacre in Los Angeles’ Chinatown in 1871 and more recently, the case of Vincent Chin, murdered by disgruntled Detroit Caucasian auto workers in 1982.
While the particulars of the case can be found being covered by a number of media outlets, what is painfully clear is that racism and hate continues to be a significant challenge in the United States.
“The news of the Chen case is a bittersweet moment for me, on one hand I could not imagine the depth of despair that the family has gone through. On the other hand, I am very proud of our OCA-NY chapter working together with their community members and our OCA National Center along with our colleagues in Washington DC to push for accountability and reform by the US Army,” remarked Ken Lee, OCA National President.
Prompted by the Chen case, representatives from the OCA-NY Chapter, OCA National Center, Japanese American Citizens League, Asian American Justice Center, and former Marine Captain Bruce Yamashita, presently a practicing attorney in the greater DC area, attended a meeting on December 14th at the Pentagon to discuss a number of concerns for the health and well-being of APA women and men in uniform. Most notably, concerns centered on institutional culture and procedures that may be ineffective in both pro-actively and re-actively dealing with hate motivated harassment and discrimination. A number of suggestions have been received by the top brass of the Army and we await their response.
“We have had a long standing tradition of support for all branches of the military and embrace the American value of defending the Constitution”, said OCA’s Interim Executive Director, Tom Hayashi. “Because so many APAs throughout our history have and continue to make significant contributions in the armed forces, OCA is committed to working with the Pentagon to protect the women and men who proudly serve, we have and always will be a resource to the Army, and I look forward to working closely with our liaison on the larger issues as the community struggles to heal from the wound of losing one of their sons in uniform.”