Sunday, September 09, 2007

Chicago Tribune coverage of Du Doan vigil

Asian-Americans label angler's death racist
Fifty people attend a vigil at Montrose Harbor, where a Vietnamese fisherman drowned within seconds after being shoved into the water

By Emma Graves Fitzsimmons

Tribune staff reporter

September 9, 2007

Authorities aren't calling the drowning of a Vietnamese fisherman a hate crime, but members of the Asian-American community who gathered at a vigil on Saturday said they believe he was targeted because of his race.

"There were a lot of people out at the harbor early that morning from different backgrounds. Why did the alleged perpetrator pick on those individuals?" said Ben Lumicao, an adviser on the city's Commission on Human Relations. "Everyone in the Asian-American community had the same reaction: That could have been me or my uncle or my grandfather."

About 50 people attended the vigil at Montrose Harbor that was put together by a broad coalition of advocacy groups, including organizations representing Cambodian, Chinese, Japanese and Korean residents. After a musical performance on the sunny afternoon, there was a silent prayer for the family of the victim, Du Doan, 62, of the Far Northwest Side.

It is important for everyone to come together to talk about the fear and outrage people are feeling, said Sharmila Kanagalingham, a leader of Apna Ghar, a domestic violence shelter for Asian women.

"As Asian-Americans, we have always been viewed as a silent, model community," she told the crowd. "We will not be silent about this."

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