[Sorry that I’m ranting about these things, but also not sorry at all.]
I don’t know what it is–maybe it’s a culmination of a rough weekend with a myriad of positive/negative emotions or maybe it’s just that I’m up at 3AM and I need emotional release after spending hours today thinking about all these concepts and ideas–but I’m literally tearing up right now going through this presentation Ivy made for Danny Chen.
And I’m not quite sure why I’m tearing up over this, because literally nothing that doesn’t directly impact my personal life ever makes me cry, but this is. I think I’m upset but also touched in so many ways.
I’m upset because after 2 years, there is still no real justice for Danny Chen. The soldiers got away with barely a slap on the wrist for what happened. And none of the action that followed the incident was a result of the justice system.
I’m upset because I’m reminded of how the law so often stops “justice” from being achieved. (To summarize an article I read on Time just now that briefly sums up some of what we talked a lot about over the year in my classes: we expect the law to bring us to justice and to resolve high-profile trials where the public is divided on how they feel, but we are expecting too much. There is a difference between law and politics. The Zimmerman verdict doesn’t answer the politically charged questions that people on the streets were asking. It answers the question of whether or not Zimmerman is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which doesn’t take into account racial profiling at all.)
I’m upset because people easily view these events from a very removed standpoint. The train of thought people probably follow is: it happened; I should be upset because this sounds wrong; I hope there is justice for this crime committed against him. And it just ends there. It’s so easy to not think about Danny Chen, or Trayvon Martin, or the many people out there who are being murdered for no reason as real people with childhoods and aspirations. And reading the petition for the co-naming of Danny Chen Way is really moving because it adds another element to the whole case (“Growing up, he attended drawing classes at Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, played in Columbus Park, and worshiped at Heavenly Grace Buddhist Temple with his parents. He ate at restaurants throughout Chinatown, and frequently at restaurants on Elizabeth Street, namely Shanghai Restaurant for steamed dumplings and daily at Jing Fong Restaurant when he was a child.”).
But I’m also touched by what organizations like OCA-NY have been doing. It’s truly empowering to see community organizing in a place so close to home, and just to see a community care about political issues– particularly a community that, for several reasons, fears getting involved in politics. I love seeing birthday cards for Danny Chen’s 20th birthday from across the nation/world, showing support and recognition of the injustice. I love seeing children writing that they know about Danny Chen, and they know about the racism that exists (one 8-year-old said, “We are so upset and sad that those other soldiers, who were ON YOUR SIDE, were so cruel to you because you were Chinese-American. I don’t want to ever join the army, because it is a violent place where you can be tortured by someone on your side”).