Rocky Chin

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Rocky Chin

Rockwell "Rocky" Chin, is Director, Office of Equal Opportunity & Diversity, New York State Division of Human Rights.

He is married to May Chen.


Rocky Chin is a civil rights attorney who has been an active community leader advocating for labor and human rights. An Asian American born in Washington D.C., Chin completed his BA at Lehigh University, his MA at Yale University, and his JD at the University of Southern California. As an attorney, Chin has represented marginalized groups including immigrant and working-class families. He is married to May Chen, former vice president of UNITE HERE and a founding member of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance.


Chin’s early involvement in the Asian American movement began in the 1970’s with the arts and activist collective, Basement Workshop. Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, Chin worked to advance the civic voice and empowerment of minorities, particularly Asian Americans living in Chinatown. In September 1992, Chin helped coordinate the first City Hall Conference on Asian/Pacific Americans, which addressed political issues related to the A/PA community. Furthermore, in attending the founding committee of the Rainbow Coalition, Chin coordinated support for Jesse Jackson and David Dinkins during their New York City campaigns. He also served as Treasurer to the honorable Doris Ling-Cohan and was the campaign manager for Sau Ngar Li and Danny Yip of Community District 2. In 2001, Chin was one of a few Asian American candidates in the running for New York City Council.

Chin has played an integral role in forming and leading A/PA coalitions. In 1989, he spearheaded the founding of Asian American Bar Association of New York . In addition to being one of the founding members of AABANY, he is the president of AABANY Foundation. Chin also holds additional leadership roles, serving as Honorary Board member of Asian American Arts Alliance and is an Advisory Board member for New York’s “Jobs with Justice” campaign. He also held tenure for many years as Vice Chair for Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, and Civil Rights Chair for National Asian Pacific American Bar Association .

Chin’s professional career is dedicated to advancing civil rights at New York City’s Commission on Human Rights, where he has worked towards eliminating gender and immigration barriers, as well as discrimination against people with disabilities. Over the past 20 years in working at HRC, Chin has served as Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Community Relations, Acting General Counsel and Supervising Attorney. In 2007, he was appointed to his current position as Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity.

East Wind

In 1985 Contributing Editors to the League of Revolutionary Struggle Asian journal East Wind included:

NEW YORK Rockwell Chin, attorney; Sasha Hohri, Concerned Japanese Americans; Fred Wei-han Houn, musician, writer, political activist; Yuri Kochiyama, activist in the Asian and Third World people's movements.

I Wor Kuen

In the 1970s, Rocky Chin was close to the Maoist I Wor Kuen. [1]

Steering Committee

1989 Steering Committee Chinese Progressive Association (New York).[2]

Council run

In his 2001, New York City Council run, Rocky Chin garnered support from a diverse cast. His backers included David Dinkins, playwright David Henry Hwang, actor Ossie Davis, and Washington Heights councilmember Guillermo Linares. This multiracial lineup reflects Chin's long civil rights record. He also enjoyed backing from several unions, including UNITE, the garment workers' union, where his wife, May Chen, was a vice president.[3]

Liu advisor

In 2009, Binghampton alumnus John Liu '88 was elected New York City comptroller, the first Asian American to win citywide office. On May 5, 2011, at the SUNY Global Center in New York City, Binghamton University's Asian and Asian American Alumni Council (AAAAC) assembled a panel to explore whether his election was an anomaly or a milestone that signaled a rising Asian-American political voice.[4]

The panelists were Margaret Chin, the first Asian American elected to Manhattan's District 1; Grace Meng, the only Asian American in the New York State Assembly; Chung Seto, who ran John Liu's successful comptroller campaign and is now his advisor; Kevin Kim, candidate for New York City Council from Queens; and Professor Lisa Yun, professor in the departments of English, General Literature and Rhetoric and of Asian and Asian American Studies at Binghamton University.

The moderator was Rocky Chin, director of the New York State Division of Human Rights and cofounder of the Asian American Bar Association of New York. Comptroller John Liu also stopped by.[5]