Kobre & Kim Honors Helen Zia for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

May 27, 2022

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Kobre & Kim is reflecting on the achievements of Asian Americans in and out of the legal industry. Today, we honor Helen Zia for her activism and leadership in the Asian American community.

Helen Zia is a Chinese American author, activist and former journalist. As an activist, Ms. Zia has been an outspoken leader on topics such as civil rights, women’s rights and LGBTQ rights. She became a key player in the Asian American civil rights movement following the racially motivated murder of Vincent Chin in 1982. She led the fight for federal civil rights charges against the perpetrators.

 Ms. Zia found her calling as a journalist and author, focusing on the Asian American experience and shedding light on the treatment of Asian Americans throughout history. In 2000, Ms. Zia published her first book, Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People, which explores key events in the rise of Asian Americans as politically and socially influential in American history. Her latest work, Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao’s Revolution, recounts real-life stories of the exodus of Chinese immigrants fleeing the Communist Revolution during the 1950s. She was a finalist for the PEN America Award for Biography.

Ms. Zia is also a Fulbright Scholar and was part of the first class of graduating women from Princeton University. She received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of San Francisco and an honorary Doctor of Laws from the City University of New York Law School for bringing important matters of law and civil rights into public view.