Hon. Sue Pai Yang Papers (TAM Pending)

Hon. Sue Pai Yang (b.1942-) is a retired New Jersey lawyer and judge. Born in Chongqing, China, Yang and her family traveled to the United States in 1950 in order to reunite with her father, Dr. Shih-I Pai, a founding member of the Institute of Fluid Dynamics and Applied Mathematics at the University of Maryland. Yang earned a B.S. in Home Economics from the University of Maryland and a M.S. in Food and Nutrition from Cornell University. 

After moving to New Jersey in 1971, Yang began teaching in the newly established Food and Nutrition program at Montclair State College. Despite teaching more courses than any other faculty member in the Department of Home Economics, Yang was ultimately denied tenure and filed charges of discrimination against Montclair. This discriminatory experience inspired Yang to devote her life to addressing the inequities women and people of color face in the US. She enrolled in Rutgers Law School-Newark in 1981, becoming a Deputy Attorney General and the first Asian American Judge of Compensation in New Jersey. After experiencing implicit bias in the legal community, she helped found the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of NJ (APALA NJ) and served as its first President. Yang also advocated for increased minority representation in the NJ State Bar Association and eventually became the first Asian American to serve on the Association’s Board of Trustees. Throughout her career, Yang was active with the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) and the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ); served on the Boards of the NJ and the National Women’s Political Caucus; and with her husband, Dr. Chung Shu Yang (C.S.), helped organize the New Jersey chapter of the National Pacific Asian Coalition (PAC NJ). 

Sue Pai Yang’s collection includes news clippings (Chinese and English) of Yang and C.S. ‘s accomplishments, records related to Vietnamese refugee resettlement in NJ, papers documenting Yang’s efforts to end workplace discrimination, unpublished court decisions, letters to and from Yang, and family photos.   

The Hon. Sue Pai Yang Papers are in transfer to the NYU Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. A finding aid for the collection is in process.