Celebrating Him Mark Lai's Accomplishments

May 27, 2009

The celebration
will be at the Chinese Culture Center in San Francisco from 2:30 to 5 pm. Details are still being worked out.

Lai was a renowned scholar and historian who help teach one of the first college courses in Chinese American history when the field of Asian American studies was just getting off the ground. His collection of papers and research, if piled up would be 200-foot tall stack, was donated to the UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies Library in 2003.

Hyphen was a fellow honoree with Lai at last year's Chinese for Affirmative Action Celebration of Justice. Our accomplishments paled compared to his.

One of Lai's favorite projects was the In Search of Roots program, which he helped create. The genealogy program gives young Chinese Americans a chance research their family history and visit where their families came from in China. I followed the 2000 Roots group to China, and attended the lectures Lai gave before the trip. He was such a nice man and so knowledgeable. I can see why they called him the dean of Chinese American history.

Lai was one of the pioneers who helped create the field of ethnic studies, and because of his efforts, college students now have the luxury and benefit of taking Asian American
studies classes.


Harry Mok

Editor in chief

Editor in Chief Harry Mok wrote about growing up on a Chinese vegetable farm for the second issue of Hyphen and has been a volunteer editor since 2004. As a board member of the San Francisco and New York chapters of the Asian American Journalists Association, Harry has recruited and organized events for student members. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was also a graduate student instructor in the Asian American Studies Department.