Inspirational Author and Journalist Paula Yoo Spoke and Met with Smoky Students

Paula Yoo is a Yale graduate, award-winning author, TV writer/producer, and former journalist for the Seattle Times, the Detroit News, and People magazine.


Zakary Peterson

Paula Yoo stands in front of her whiteboard in which she presented “1 in 4 Asian American youths experience racist bullying” as well as other facts and pictures from her life experiences and interviews.

The library was filled on Tuesday as students watched Paula Yoo give a speech about her latest book “From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement”, her own upbringing that lacked Asian American representation in the books she read which inspired her to write novels with more representation for minorities, and her own personal life as an Asian American.

The book, which came out April 21, 2021, is a long-form journalistic piece about the events that led to the death of  Vincent Chin, and the civil rights movement that followed afterwards. It tracked how the court gave leincency to the two white men who killed Chin with a baseball bat that many saw as a racially-motivated attack because Chin was Chinese.

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  • Paula Yoo spoke about some of the inspirations for her upbringing that made her want to become an author and why she thinks representation in children’s books is important.

  • Students completely packed the library on Tuesday as Paula Yoo answered students’ questions ranging from curiosity about her journalistic career to her personal life.

  • Paula Yoo signed a copy of her latest book, “From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement” after speaking about what happened to Vincent Chin and the connection between the past and present hate directed towards Asian Americans.

  • Paula Yoo spoke at length with various members of Smoky Hill after her presentation to answer questions that students had so she spoke at length to give insight into her life, both as an Asian American and as a journalist.

  • After speaking about her experiences with immigration and some of the challenges that have followed in her life with Sofiia Znakharenko(right), Paula Yoo(left) posed for a picture.

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After talking about the book, Yoo gave details of how this attack on an Asian American reverberates today with anti-Asian hate from the Coronavirus as many politicians and Americans called it the “China Virus” or used other hateful rhetoric which transcended and manifested into physical violence for numerous Asian Americans living in the United States.

You can purchase Paula Yoo’s book about Vincent Chin here, and you can see all of her books here.