Discussion Questions: From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry

Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen and I are looking forward to this important discussion and are so glad you’re making the time to join us this evening. We’re providing the questions here to help facilitate the conversation. 


  1. What did you know about the killing of Vincent Chin before reading this book? Were you living at the time of the incident? Were you aware of what was happening or involved in any way? Did you learn about it in a class?
  2. What surprised you in this book? What angered you or made you sad? What other emotions did you experience while reading? How was the author positioning you? 
  3. Ronald Ebens stated over and over that he wasn’t a racist. What then in the 1980s, and even now, might cultivate implicit bias toward Asian Americans? How do we eliminate this bias in ourselves or others?
  4. How does knowing about Vincent Chin shape your understanding of civil rights history in the US?
  5. What price did Ebens pay socially, economically, and legally for murdering Vincent Chin?
  6. How can you describe the inadequacies of the legal system on both the state and federal level? Who benefits from them?
  7. What are some antiracist steps you have taken over the past year and what are some steps you will take in striving to be an antiracist? How will you check yourself and hold yourself accountable if you notice you, or someone else, is being racist?



Paula Yoo is an award-winning book author, TV writer/producer and feature screenwriter. She is also a former journalist, having worked for The Seattle Times, The Detroit News, and PEOPLE Magazine. She graduated with a B.A. cum laude in English from Yale University, an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College, where she was the recipient of the Larry Levis Fellowship in Fiction.

Paula is the author of many published children’s books and YA novels. Her latest Young Adult narrative non-fiction book, FROM A WHISPER TO A RALLYING CRY: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement is from Norton Young Readers (W.W. Norton & Company). Her books have won many awards, including IRA Notables, Junior Guild Library Selections, and starred reviews from Kirkus. Her debut YA novel Good Enough (HarperCollins 2008) was one of the winners of the Asian Pacific American Awards for Youth Literature.

Paula’s TV credits include Freeform’s Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, The CW’s Supergirl, SyFy’s Defiance and Eureka, Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle, and NBC’s The West Wing. She has also sold TV pilots and feature scripts.

Paula is also a professional violinist, having played with the Southeast Symphony, Vicente Chamber Orchestra, Torrance Symphony, Glendale Philharmonic and Detroit Civic Symphony Orchestra, toured and recorded with bands including Il Divo, No Doubt, Fun, Arthur Lee, Love Revisited and Spiritualized, and appeared on national TV shows and commercial spots, including A&E’s The Two Coreys reality show and a United Airlines commercial. When she’s not writing or playing her violin, Paula loves hanging out with her family and cats in Los Angeles, California.