PEN America prize finalist to speak at Facing History event Nov. 1

Author Helen Zia

Facing History of Northern California will host author and activist Helen Zia for We are Facing History: Uncovering California’s Hidden Stories at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center in downtown Oakland from 6 p.m. Р7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 1.

Zia will speak about the importance of sharing stories of Asian American and Pacific Islander experiences that helped shape California. This is a free event, and there is free secured parking in the building.

Register or learn more about the event HERE

Zia is the daughter of immigrants from China whose latest book, “Last Boat out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao’s Revolution”, was one of NPR’s Best Books and a finalist for a 2020 PEN America prize.

Her first book, “Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People”, is about the civil rights struggles of Asian Americans, and it is still used as a foundational history text in colleges and high schools. Helen also wrote “My Country Versus Me” with nuclear physicist Wen Ho Lee, whom the FBI falsely accused of being a spy.

Helen launched the Vincent Chin Institute to counter anti-Asian bigotry and promote solidarity. A lifelong activist, she is featured in several documentaries, including the Oscar-nominated “Who Killed Vincent Chin?”, about the landmark civil rights case of anti-Asian violence.


Facing History’s mission is to use lessons of history to challenge teachers and their students to stand up to bigotry and hate. Facing History is a global nonprofit founded in Boston in 1976. It provides professional development and online resources for teachers and students.

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