Helen Zia

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Helen Zia (; pinyin: Xiè Hànlán; born 1952) is an American journalist and scholar who has covered Asian American communities and social and political movements for decades.

Life and career

Zia was born in New Jersey to first generation immigrants from Shanghai. She entered Princeton University in the early 1970s and was a member of its first graduating class of women. As a student, Zia was among the founders of the Asian American Students Association. She was also a vocal anti-war activist, voicing her Opposition to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, and a firm believer in feminism.

She entered medical school in 1974, but quit in 1976. She moved to Detroit, Michigan. She went to work as a construction laborer, an autoworker and a community organizer, after which she discovered her life’s work as a journalist and writer.

She is the author of Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People, a finalist for the prestigious Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize. President of the United States Bill Clinton quoted from Asian American Dreams at two separate speeches in the White House Rose Garden.

She is also co-author, with Wen Ho Lee, of My Country Versus Me, which reveals what happened to the Los Alamos scientist who was falsely accused of being a spy for the People's Republic of China in the “worst case since the Rosenbergs.”

Zia is former Executive Editor of Ms. Magazine. Her articles, essays and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, books and...
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