Leno will name San Francisco
Woman of the Year
March 19, 2006
The California State Assembly will recognize Yvonne Y. Lee's
extraordinary accomplishments on behalf of the indigent, the elderly
and immigrants in San Francisco by honoring her as the 13th Assembly
District's Woman of the Year in a ceremony Monday.
"Yvonne Lee has touched the lives and hearts of so many
in our own City and beyond," said Assemblyman Leno (D-San
"Her deep compassion for those less fortunate has fueled
her tireless activism and her drive to give a voice to those who
might otherwise be silenced."
The California State Assembly hosts the Woman of the Year ceremony
annually as a way of recognizing outstanding women who have made
significant contributions to communities across California.
Lee began her public service career with Self Help for the Elderly,
a multi-service agency fighting for the rights of low income and
elderly tenants in San Francisco.
While there, she secured federal and private funding to build
The Lady Saw Senior Center, a $4.6 million senior housing and
community center. In 1989, Lee was appointed National Executive
Director of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, which advocates
for disfranchised citizens of Chinese ancestry in the United States.
She collaborated with other civil rights organizations on the
passage of the Immigration Act of 1990, the Americans with Disabilities
Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1990, and the Hate Crimes Statistics
Act. In 1990, Lee co-founded the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans
for Fair Reapportionment, a California public interest organization
helping to ensure fair representation in state government.
Her work has given her insight into her own history and she felt
compelled to share this with others when she co-produced "Separate
Lives, Broken Dreams," a video documentary that she won an
Emmy for best documentary and an international CINE Award. The
documentary commemorated the 50th anniversary of the repeal of
the Chinese Exclusion Act.
In 1995, Lee was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, a bi-partisan fact finding federal
agency with a statutory responsibility to monitor and investigate
civil rights violations.
During her six-year term, the Commission investigated border
patrol and immigration, racial tension in Los Angeles and Miami
and police and community relations.