On behalf of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, I am sad to announce the passing on July 26, 2011 of former staff member, Carolyn M. Yee. Carolyn is survived by her husband Bill Lann Lee, former Assistant Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division under President Bill Clinton, and their children, Mark, Nicholas, and Angela Manese-Lee.
Carolyn Yee was a valued member of the Center, having served as the head of the publications unit and the third editor of Amerasia Journal from 1976-1977. Emma Gee and Yuji Ichioka, who had known Carolyn during her student days in Berkeley, encouraged Carolyn to work at the Center. As co-editor with the late Megumi Dick Osumi, Carolyn helped to channel “the creative spirit of survival that is uniquely American” into Amerasia by publishing writers including Hisaye Yamamoto, Carlos Bulosan, Toshio Mori, Wakako Yamauchi, Jeffery Paul Chan, Tomas Santos, Janice Mirikitani, Lawson Inada, and many others who formed the emerging canon of Asian American literature at the time. Carolyn and her family have long continued to support the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, most notably with an academic prize that she and Bill established in his father’s name, the Wei-Lim Lee Memorial Prize.
Carolyn would later have a long and distinguished career serving the community as an attorney, most recently as University Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel of the University of California Office of the President since 2006. Prior to joining the office, Ms. Yee was the AV-rated (Martindale-Hubbell) Principal in the Law Office of Carolyn M. Yee in Los Angeles, specializing in all aspects of labor and employment law practice. She has also served as in-house employment counsel for Southern California Edison Company and, prior to that, as an attorney with the National Labor Relations Board. Carolyn was a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley (A.B. and J.D.).
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests charitable donations to the Berkeley Community Fund’s High Hopes Scholarship Fund, which can be sent to the following address:
Berkeley Community Fund
High Hopes Scholarships
2111 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
We are grateful to Carolyn Yee for her contributions and on-going support of our Center and are honored to have been part of her distinguished legacy of community service and advocacy.
David K. Yoo
Director & Professor