Connie Young Yu is a Chinese American writer, historian, and lecturer. She has been described as only writing for a purpose. Her writing is always focused on issues that she feels are important. She authored countless articles and three books. Through her writings, lectures, and community activities, she has devoted her energies to highlighting and promoting the history of Chinese and Asian America. The stories and lives she shares are often never featured nor shared through mainstream historical texts.
Connie’s civic involvement in saving the detention barracks of Angel Island Immigration Station that had Chinese poems carved on the walls. The existence of these poems were not rediscovered until 1970. Through her writings and acitivism she played a vital role in getting the Angel Island Immigration Station designated a National Historic Landmark. Without these actions, The California State Parks administration had plans to demolish the entire site, and with that a pivotal chapter of the Asian American experience would have been lost to time.
Connie Young Yu’s early activism also was crucial to the founding of Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI). She was one of the founders of this now 45-year-old nonprofit organization. AACI is now the largest direct services provider to the Asian American community in the South Bay. Her early work through AACI also was critical to change how Asians and minorities were represented in school textbooks. She was part of a textbook campaign to successfully change the State Educational Code to include accurate information on diverse communities as well as increase multicultural representation.
Yu’s grandfather helped to build the transcontinental railroad in the United States. Two generations later, Connie Young Yu would speak on behalf of all the descendents of the Chinese Transcontinental Railroad workers at the U.S. Department of Labor induction of the Chinese Railroad Workers into the Labor Hall of Fame.
Yu’s work has been recognized by numerous organizations and dignitaries. Her work has brought a voice to a history that could have been lost. This history is a clear marker of where the Asian American community has come from, and a reminder of how new communities became a part of America.