Assemblymember Thurmond Honors Longtime Berkeley Activist Ying Lee


Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) has recognized Ying Lee, former Berkeley City Councilmember and tireless social justice activist, as the 15th Assembly District’s Women’s History Month awardee.

“I had the pleasure of presenting this award to my friend and mentor Ying Lee to recognize her years of work. It was an honor to seat her at my desk on the floor of the Assembly with her children and grandchildren in attendance,” he said.

Lee’s long history of activism has included work with the ACLU, the Asian Law Caucus and as a Democratic Party delegate during the 1972 presidential campaign of George McGovern.

In 1973 Lee was elected to the Berkeley City Council as the first and only Asian American to serve to date.

A former teacher, she also worked as an aide for Congress Members Ron Dellums and Barbara Lee.

Even at 83, she has not slowed down, making sure her children and grandchildren and those who follow do not stop fighting for peace and justice.

She is actively involved in the Save Our Berkeley Post Office effort, Black Lives Matter protests and on Thursdays she attends Grandmothers Against War meetings.

Lee’s story is captured in a 2012 oral history book called “Ying Lee, From Shanghai to Berkeley,” edited by Judith Scherr and available through the Berkeley Historical Society.

Assemblymember Tony Thurmond represents the 15th Assembly District, comprised of the cities of Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Emeryville, Hercules, Kensington, Piedmont, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo, Tara Hills, and a portion of Oakland.


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