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Lifetime's Remarkable Women campaign honors extraordinary women who inspire and empower others to make a difference in their communities and the world.
September 3: Kimi Lee
Kimi Lee: Founder of the Garment Worker Center
Hometown: Los Angeles Education: University of California, Davis Goals: Lee is an activist who speaks out on behalf of exploited workers in sweatshops.Kimi Lee
Kimi Lee has an extensive history of working with youth and community organizing and has been a campaign organizer against the various attacks on people of color for over ten years.
After graduating from UC Davis, Kimi became the Field Organizer for the University of California Student Association (UCSA), a statewide coalition of UC undergraduate, professional and graduate student associations. She was one of the lead student organizers during the UC Regent's attack on affirmative action and worked against Proposition 209. She became the Executive Director of UCSA and helped run a statewide student voter registration and education campaign, which registered over 20,000 new student voters.
In 1997, Kimi moved to Los Angeles to work as a labor researcher with SEIU Local 1877. She then became the Field and Legislative Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California. She was the Southern California Campaign Director for the No on Prop 21 campaign and created Southern Californians for Youth, a network of youth organizing groups in Los Angeles County.
Kimi is now the Executive Director of the Garment Worker Center (GWC). She was the first staff person hired to open and establish the GWC in 2001. Since then, the GWC has successfully organized a national boycott against a major retailer led by garment workers, developed garment worker leaders and helped workers get over $1.5 million in owed wages and penalties. GWC also measures its impact through the transformation of women into leaders by identifying who is able to conduct workshops, recruit organizers and speak up at their factories. Kimi's family immigrated from Burma and her mother was a garment worker in San Francisco, both of which led to her social justice activism.