The ECAASU: East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) is beyond disbelief by the acquittal of Sgt. Adam Holcomb in relation to the Pvt. Danny Chen suicide case. During his deployment in Afghanistan, Chen allegedly shot himself to death on October 3, 2011 following a period of being taunted with racial slurs during training and being subjected to severe hazing from fellow soldiers. On the day Chen committed suicide, Holcomb was accused of dragging Chen over a gravel path while using racial slurs and hateful language such as “Dragon Lady”, “chink”, and “gook”. Holcomb was acquitted in a military trial of the most serious charges he faced, which included negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, communicating a threat, and hazing. The panel of ten service members recommended Holcomb’s sentence to 30 days confinement, a reduction in rank, and loss of a month’s worth of pay — totaling $1,181.55.It is disheartening to discover that the life of an Asian American soldier is worth only $1,181.55. Pvt. Danny Chen’s suicide case should serve to us all as an important reminder that racism, bigotry, and hazing in the military should not be tolerated. This is not justice, and ECAASU stands firmly in solidarity with Pvt. Danny Chen and his family.
In response to these recent developments, ECAASU is co-sponsoring a rally in New York City on August 11 along with OCA-NY at 2PM at Columbus Park. We have also asked our supporters to contribute a single word to describe what being Asian America(n) means today. From these responses, we have put together a Wordle, or word cloud of the most frequent responses, which we hope will help to transcend prevalent negative stereotypes of Asian Americans, and to illuminate the diversity of our community.