Rocky Chin Papers
Scope and Contents
Spanning between 1966 to 2016, with the bulk of materials from 1984-2001, this collection documents Rockwell "Rocky" Chin's work as an activist, his involvement in political campaigns, and his teaching. Consisting of both paper and electronic formats, Rocky Chin's collection contains correspondence, memoranda, meeting minutes, newsletters, publications and reports, legal briefs, brochures, event and conference programs, speech and article drafts, flyers, press releases, and newspaper clippings. A large portion of the collection pertains to Chin's service on the New York City Commission on Human Rights (HRC) and materials related to Asian American movement groups like Basement Workshop, APA labor unions, the demonstrations and rallies organized around redistricting issues, and Asian American involvement in various local and national political campaigns. There are also collected publications, reports, and audiovisual recordings related to Asian American cultural events and labor activism. The publications in this collection include books and studies from national press outlets as well as issues of newsletters and periodicals from local community groups across the country and activist organizations. There is a portion of materials documenting Chin's 2001 run for City Council representative for District 1, which includes completed candidate questionnaires and surveys, printed campaign literature, printouts of digital photographs, a campaign banner, and photographic contact sheets. To a lesser extent, the collection contains Chin's teaching materials for his courses on Asian American studies. Some materials in this collection may have been created by Chin's wife, May Chen.
- Creation: 1968-2016
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1984-2001
- Chin, Rockwell (Rocky) (Person)
- Chin, Rockwell (Rocky) (Donor, Person)
- Chen, May Ying (Donor, Person)
Language of Materials
The majority of materials are in English and Traditional Chinese. To a lesser extent are materials in Korean, Spanish, Japanese, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
Conditions Governing Access
Materials are open without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
This collection is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use materials in the collection in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).
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.
14.5 Linear Feet (in 20 manuscript boxes, 1 record carton, 1 half manuscript box, 1 flat box, 1 oversize flat box, and 5 oversize folders in shared housing)
637 Megabytes (in 68 computer files.)
1 videodiscs (dvd)
1 videocassettes (vhs)
Rockwell "Rocky" Chin has been active in labor, community, and civil rights struggles in New York City since the early 1980s, particularly through his involvement with various Asian Pacific American (APA) organizations. Spanning between 1966 to 2016, with the bulk of materials from 1984-2001, this collection documents Chin's work as an activist, his involvement in political campaigns, and his teaching. Materials include correspondence, memoranda, meeting minutes, newsletters, publications and reports, legal briefs, brochures, event and conference programs, speech and article drafts, flyers, press releases, and newspaper clippings. A large portion of the collection pertains to Chin's service on the New York City Commission on Human Rights and materials related to Asian American movement groups like Basement Workshop, APA labor unions, the Asian American studies movement, demonstrations and rallies organized around redistricting issues, and Asian American involvement in various local and national political campaigns. There are also collected publications, reports, and audiovisual recordings related to Asian American cultural events and labor and community activism.
The Rocky Chin Papers is arranged into three series:
Series I. Activism
Series II. Political Campaigns
Series III. Teaching
Audiovisual Access Policies and Procedures
Audiovisual materials have not been preserved and may not be available to researchers. Materials not yet digitized will need to have access copies made before they can be used. To request an access copy, or if you are unsure if an item has been digitized, please contact Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, email@example.com, 212-998-2596 with the collection name, collection number, and a description of the item(s) requested. A staff member will respond to you with further information.
Born-Digital Access Policies and Procedures
Advance notice is required for the use of computer records. Original physical digital media is restricted. An access terminal for born-digital materials in the collection is available by appointment for reading room viewing and listening only. Researchers may view an item's original container and/or carrier, but the physical carriers themselves are not available for use because of preservation concerns.
Materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please request materials at least two business days prior to your research visit to coordinate access.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Rocky Chin and his wife, May Chen, in January 2012. The accession number associated with this gift is 2012.008.
Rocky Chin donated an additional 4 boxes of collected periodicals and recordings in 2018. The accession number associated with this gift is 2018.025.
After the first donation in 2012, approximately 0.25 linear feet of widely distributed newspapers (NY Times, Washington Post, etc.) from the 2008 presidential election were discarded. During processing in 2020, out-of-scope, duplicate, and mold-damaged materials were deaccessioned, including an election banner, campaign signs, optical discs, and conference proceedings.
Approximately 1.5 linear feet of books, newsletters, and comic books were separated for library cataloging.
This record was shared by the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University as a part of the ArchivesSpace Inclusive Examples project. For more information, reach out to the institution.
During processing in 2020, original folders were retained whenever possible. Where appropriate, materials were rehoused in archival folders. If original folder titles are available, they were transcribed onto the new folder with descriptive enhancements by the archivist as necessary. If the original folder was kept, loose labels were stapled to ensure accurate titling and prevent loss of information. Loose paper materials were placed in archival folders with descriptive titles by the archivist. In February 2020, mold-damaged and out-of-scope materials were deaccessioned. Two optical disks were identified and inventoried, and forensically imaged, analyzed, and arranged in Forensic Toolkit.
New York University Libraries follows professional standards and best practices when imaging, ingesting, and processing born-digital material in order to maintain the integrity of the content.
In 2021, narrative description in the Series I scope note was edited to more accurately describe the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.
Researchers can access previous versions of the finding aid in our GitHub repository at https://github.com/NYULibraries/findingaids_eads/commits/master/tamwag/wag_325.xml.
- Asian Americans -- Civil rights
- Asian Americans -- Economic conditions
- Asian Americans -- Legal status, laws, etc.
- Asian Americans -- New York (State) -- New York
- Asian Americans -- Political activity
- Asian Americans -- Politics and government
- Asian Americans -- Social conditions
- Asian Americans and mass media
- Discrimination against Asian Americans
- Guide to the Rocky Chin Papers WAG.325
- Collection processed by Rachel Schimke, Amy C. Vo
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English
- January 2020: Record updated by Amy C. Vo to reflect arrangement and description
- February 2021: Edited by Amy C. Vo to change legacy description about the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II
Part of the Jane Smith Special Collections and Archives Repository