Support the effort to co-name a Chinatown street "Danny Chen Way"

For those of you in New York City, community members are leading an effort to co-name a Chinatown street after Private Danny Chen. OCA-NY invites supporters to attend a meeting of the city's Transportation Committee on Tuesday, June 11, where they'll present a petition in support of "Danny Chen Way."

Private Danny Chen was a Chinese American soldier who grew up in Manhattan's Chinatown. At at 19, he was found dead while serving in Afghanistan, after enduring six weeks of hazing and racial abuse. The case drew international and national attention to the problem of hazing in the military, and the street re-naming is an effort to immortalize Danny's legacy.

If you're available, please join OCA-NY at the Transportation Committee's meeting this week. It's happening Tuesday, June 11, 6:30pm at Confucious Plaza Community Room. Here are some more details:

OCA-NY hopes to immortalize Danny Chen's legacy by co-naming Elizabeth Street, between Bayard and Canal Street (Manhattan Chinatown) "Danny Chen Way." This sign will be a permanent reminder of the community's fight for justice and how the death of a Chinatown soldier raised the public's consciousness of the prevalent practice of hazing--and the urgent need to prevent similar senseless deaths. We need your support to attend the Transportation Committee's June 11 meeting, where Danny's family and OCA-NY will present our petition in support of "Danny Chen Way" and the June 25 meeting with Community Board 3, who will vote on the petition. The June 11th meeting will take place at Confucious Plaza Community Room, 6:30 p.m. and the June 25th Community Board 3 meeting will be at P.S. 20, 166 Essex Street, 6:30 p.m. Please RSVP now to OCA-NY intern, Ivy Pan, ivypan94@gmail.com to let us know which date(s) you can attend. We want to pack these meetings with supporters!

Background info on what happened to Danny? Army investigators found superiors repeatedly subjected him to excessive physical exercise, racial maltreatment, and significantly more guard duty than others. Superiors called Private Chen "Gook", "Chink" and "Dragon Lady" and forced him to perform public acts of humiliation, which included giving orders in Chinese to his English speaking soldiers, cleaning a tent crawling on the ground, and walking back and forth with sandbags tied to his wrists. He was made to do an excessive number of pushups while holding water in his mouth, physically tortured for calling (under orders to do so) a superior by his first name, dragged on his back over 40 meters of rock, and made to crawl over 100 meters of gravel with full gear on while other superiors threw rocks and water bottles at him.
In the end, nothing will bring Danny Chen back, and a family is still left to grieve over the tragic, unnecessary loss of their son. But we can at least say that Danny's death made an impact, and will hopefully have a lasting legacy on preventing further hazing in the military. Renaming a street after him seems like a small gesture to remember his life.

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