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Stand with Sherry Chen

Michele Young

In 2014, Sherry Chen, an Ohioan Chinese-American scientist, was falsely accused of espionage, publicly branded a traitor, her life turned upside down, and prosecuted, but all charges were abruptly dropped weeks before the trial in 2015. The New York Times called for an “explanation or apology.” Instead, in 2016, Ms. Chen was fired.
Ms. Chen’s quest to win her job and life led her to the steps of the Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse on March 14 where an administrative judge for the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board heard her appeal for wrongful termination, race discrimination and retaliation. Sherry Chen was not alone for Asian-American leaders across the nation that came to support her quest for justice, the effort spearheaded by Wenkui (Vincent) Wang, Chairman of the Board of the Ohio Chinese American Association.
Leaders flew in from across the United States, from Boston, California, Iowaand Washington, D.C., Chinese Americans including HaipeiShue, Honorary Chair of the United Chinese Americans, Ji Su, President of the National Council of Chinese Americans, and Monica Yeung Arima, Board Member of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association San Mateo.
An all-star list of Asian American organizations came behind Sherry Chen, including The Committee of 100, National Council of Chinese Americans, Asian American Association for Justice, Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association, Ohio Chinese American Association, Ohio Center for Cultural Exchange, Mason Huaxian Chinese School, Society of Chinese Professors and Scientists UC Chapter, and Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
Outside the Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse in the blistering cold, supporters stood vigil for two days while Sherry Chen’s case was heard in the courtroom. Press flew in from across the nation to report on this historic trial. All major local TV stations and newspapers sent crew to cover this high profile event, including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Cincinnati Enquirer, City Beat, CCTV and World Journal, along with several independent documentary film makers. AsAmNews and China Daily reported the hearing as well. Rally organizers Michele Young, XiaojieShauZavon, and Wenkui Vincent Wang were interviewed on the NewsMakers show at Local12, CBS’s Cincinnati affiliate TV station.
Congressman Ted W. Lieu, Congresswoman Judy Chu and Congressman Keith Ellison led forty-two (42) U.S. Congress membersto speak out for Ms. Chen and Professor Xiaoxing Xi of Temple University, and demanded Department of Justice to conduct a full investigation of why there appears to be an ongoing pattern and practice of people of color being singled out by federal law enforcement and prosecutors. The joint congressional letter is co-signed by the Chair and Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, the Chairs of the Progressive Caucus, the Chairs of the Asian Pacific American Caucus, the Chair of the Hispanic Caucus, the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and 33 other members of the House.
Ms. Chen’s case is a justice issue for all Americans, not only Asian-Americans. In our nation, it is an outrage that a citizen who proudly became a citizen and selflessly served our country was treated as a suspicious foreigner no matter how much she contributed to our nation and lost everything she built over a lifetime of virtue and hard work. This is one of a string of false espionage charges recklessly leveled and dropped against Chinese-American scientist, without explanation or apology.
Many community leaders expressed their outrage.
“Ms. Sherry Chen is a loyal American citizen, an award-winning scientist that dedicated her life to the good of the country.? The government’s knee-jerk reaction to false accusations against Ms. Chen sent the wrong message to the American people and has demoralized other hard working federal employees at National Weather Service that serve the country every day,” said Vincent Wang, Chairman of the Board, Ohio Chinese American Association.
“We support Sherry Chen because we don’t want such a pattern of wrongly investigating and prosecuting innocent Americans based on their race, ethnicity and national origin,” said National Asian American leader, ?Treasurer of National Council of Chinese Americans, XiaojieShauZavon.?
“Chinese Americans love this country and have made valuable contributions to all aspects of our society. Sherry Chen had her loyalty questioned and her livelihood taken from her, not because of actual wrongdoing but based on national origin, said Tessa Xuan, Executive Director of Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
"Our federal government should reinstate Ms. Sherry Chen's job with full back pay and benefits. There is no doubt this was a witch hunt from the get go," said Lee Wong, Trustee of West Chester Township.
"Sherry Chen is an excellent scientist, dedicated employee and loyal citizen. What happened to her is totally unfair," said Yumin Yin, Board Director of the Ohio Chinese American Association.
"This is not a Chinese American issue or an Asian American issue. It is an American issue that strikes at our fundamental values when American citizens are targeted for their race, ethnicity, or national origin. As U.S. Representative Ted W. Lieu said, the decision to fire Mrs. Chen was a ‘saving face issue’ for the government ", said Dr. David Chen, President of Ohio Chinese American Association.?
The decision of the administrative trial judge may not be for weeks or months. But, the Asian-American community is changed, coming together to fight for civil rights. Supporters can help support Sherry at the Sherry Chen Legal Defense Fund at sherrychendefensefund.org or learn more at ohioacaa.org/sherry.
“Sherry Chen’s case is a test of the American values and ideals at a historical time. Are we still a land of freedom and equality? Can justice be served to all people regardless of their gender, race and national origin? All American people must stand together to hold the government accountable for its wrongful actions against innocent citizens like Sherry Chen”, Mr. Wang explains. Let’s stand together for Sherry Chen, stand together for the American values.
* Michele Young is a mom of five, attorney, civic leader, author and 2016 Democratic candidate for Congress in Ohio's 1st District.?Her website is micheleyoung.org.
Dan Hurley Interviews Michele Young, XiaojieShauZavon, and Wenkui Vincent Wang on the NewsMakers show at Local12, CBS’s Cincinnati affiliate TV station.

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

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