There will be four sessions at KASCON XXVI.: (1) [ROOTS] Engaging the Past; (2) [IDENTITIES] Breaking Down the Walls; (3) [PASSIONS] Grasping the Present; (4) [VISIONS] Imagining the Future.

I. [ROOTS] Engaging the Past: Taking a comprehensive look at our history as Koreans as well as Korean Americans and how this historical heritage impacts our present.
Topics include:

  • History of Korean migration
  • Evolution of religion in Korean culture
  • Impact of Korean War
  • North + South Korean History
  • Economic growth + Diaspora

II. [IDENTITIES] Breaking Down the Walls: Taking a critical look at the identities that we occupy and build, and what it means to examine ourselves as individuals and as members of communities that intersect, working with/against each other to produce the unique experiences each of us live. Topics include:

  • Gender rights + LGBTQ activism
  • Intergenerational tensions + family structure
  • Media representations of Asians
  • Adopted and/or Multiracial Koreans
  • Relations w/ other ethnic groups

III. [PASSIONS] Grasping the Present: Viewing how Korean Americans are making inroads into industries today in entrepreneurship and their various other professional fields and industries. Does being Korean or Asian American influence where we stand in social and economic institutions today? Is it limiting? Is it empowering? What are the effects of our successes and of our failures?

Topics include:

  • Contemporary Art
  • Politics + Civic Engagement
  • Entrepreneurs + Business
  • Body Image
  • Academic culture + Elitism

IV. [VISIONS] Imagining the Future: Envisioning a future that we create with our own hands, through establishing a clear sense of our identities and our goals, both as a group and as individuals. Anexploration of visions, goals, and hopes, diverse and sometimes disparate, and the bigger picture they create of a living, evolving community. Topics include:

  • Education Reform
  • Immigration Reform + Political Representation
  • Social Entrepreneurship + Humanitarian Work
  • Increasing economic presence of Asian countries
  • Preservation of culture

Speakers include Maria Yoon, John J. Kim, Curtis Chin, Pauline Park, Iris Shim, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, Keish Kim, Franny Choi, Steven Choi, Christine Yoo, Karen Chung, and Mark Ro Beyersdorf.

Nearly three decades after the racially charged beating death of Vincent Chin in Highland Park, the impact of his death among Asian Americans was highlighted Thursday night as part of the Asian American Journalists Association conference in Detroit.

The AAJA screened the 1987 Academy Award-nominated documentary “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” at the RenCen4 Theaters.

Documentary director Christine Choy, activist Helen Zia, attorney Roland Hwang, who represented Chin’s family, and broadcaster Ti-Hua Chang discussed Chin’s death and the aftermath of what became an Asian-American civil rights movement.

"Vincent Chin was all of us … just a regular guy," Chang said. "They used a Louisville Slugger to hit him four times in the head, and they beat him like a dog."

Chin was a 27-year-old Chinese-American engineer who was beaten in the head with a baseball bat in June 1982 by Chrysler plant superintendent Ronald Ebens and his stepson, Michael Nitz. The men mistook Chin for being Japanese American, blaming the Japanese for taking U.S. auto industry jobs.

Neither man served a day in jail after receiving three years of probation in a state trial and being acquitted of all charges in a federal case.

Zia, a Chinese-American journalist who once worked as a large-press operator for Chrysler, said Chin’s death led to the embrace of the term Asian American. The movement was “about educating us and educating the larger community,” she said.

Denise Yee Grim, executive director of the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce, wasn’t on the panel but grew up with Chin in Oak Park.

She said he was a funny guy, who always had a smile on his face and loved comic books.

Speaking through tears, Grim said she and her family and friends were devastated and outraged when they learned about his death.

"To make it even worse, they didn’t even know his nationality," she said. "That really hurt."

"He was a great guy, and I don’t want anyone to forget that," Grim said.