Him Mark Lai (1925-2009) was internationally known as “the dean of Chinese American studies” for his many years as a historian, writer, and community activist. (His accomplishments and contributions to the Asian American community are too numerous to list here; we encourage you to explore the biographies here at the Him Mark Lai Digital Archive for a full recounting of Him Mark’s life and scholarship.)
Laura Lai (1933–2014) was an unsung hero in supporting Him Mark’s work, as well as herself participating within the community. After Him Mark’s passing, Laura continued to contribute to the community and the organizations they helped build (including the CHSA Museum) with her kind spirit and unconditional support. Outgoing and upbeat, Laura enjoyed dramas, music, and good food, especially when shared with friends, all of whom cherished her kindness, warmth, and generosity.
Together, their relationship and their efforts in the Chinese American community laid the foundation for Asian American studies in this country, and their legacy continues in the lives that they touched, including ours. Proof that true love can achieve great things!
Watch this video tribute to Laura Lai by Felicia Lowe, which celebrates the lives of both Laura and Him Mark Lai.