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Guide to the Rocky Chin Papers WAG.325

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2596

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Rachel Schimke, Amy C. Vo

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on March 02, 2021
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Record updated by Amy C. Vo to reflect arrangement and description Edited by Amy C. Vo to change legacy description about the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II  , January 2020 , February 2021

Biographical Note

Rockwell "Rocky" Chin has lived and worked in Lower Manhattan since the early 1980s, where he has been active in labor, community, and civil rights struggles. He was born in Washington, D.C. and completed his undergraduate studies at Lehigh University. Chin went on to receive a master's degree in City Planning from Yale University in 1971 and a law degree from the University of Southern California in 1974.

At the New York City Commission on Human Rights (HRC), Chin served as Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Community Relations, Acting General Counsel, and Supervising Attorney. In addition to prosecuting and mediating discrimination cases at the Commission, Chin participated in the HRC's efforts to eliminate exclusive male-only private clubs, address discrimination against immigrants, and eliminate barriers for people with disabilities.

In September 1992, Chin helped organize the first City Hall conference addressing the concerns of the city's Asian Pacific American communities. He attended the founding convention of the National Rainbow Coalition (now Rainbow/PUSH), helped coordinate support for Jesse Jackson and David Dinkins during their successful New York City campaigns, served as Treasurer for the Honorable Doris Ling-Cohen, and was the campaign manager for Sau Ngar Li and Danny Yip's Community School District 2 campaigns.

Chin is a member of the American Bar Association's Coordinating Committee on Immigration, the New York City Organizing Committee for Citizen Action, the New York Immigration Coalition, the Lower East Side Call for Justice, and the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO. He has served as honorary board member of the Asian American Arts Alliance and as board member of Mobilizing For Justice (MFJ) Legal Services, Inc. For many years, Chin also served as Vice Chair of Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP) and as Civil Rights Chair of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). He is a founder of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) and a former president of AABANY.

In 2001, Chin ran and was defeated in the race for City Council as representative for District 1. He is a former member of Community Board 3 (Lower East Side).

Chin has taught at Hunter College, City College, Cornell University's School of Law, and New York University. He is married to May Chen, who served as an officer for Local 23-25 and as International Vice President of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (later UNITE, UNITE/HERE, and Workers United).

From 2007-2015, Chin served as Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity at the New York State Division of Human Rights. He has served as an AARP-New York Executive Council Member since 2016, and was named Commissioner of the New York City Commission on Human Rights in 2019.