Role model for Asian women everywhere
Beverly Yip began community organization and political activism long before she received her MSW in Social Work from San Diego State University in 1974. She was heavily involved with the League of Women Voters, which helped her create her vision and grassroots organizing skills.
Shortly after she graduated with her MSW she used her education to make a difference and to further her goal of bringing unity throughout the Asian and Pacific Islander community. In 1974 she became the founding executive director for the Union of Pan Asian Communities (UPAC), bringing together leaders of six Asian and Pacific Islander communities , Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Guamanian and Samoan. With one table, five staff, and two telephones, UPAC was born.
Bringing these communities together was not an easy task given that the immigrant based populations had a history of war in their countries of origin. Organizing them on American soil proved to be a difficult challenge. With dedication and hard work, Ms. Yip was able to convince these smaller communities to form a greater community and get the services they needed to ensure their survival. Through her efforts, she gained the respect of politicians, community leaders and staff.
Prior to UPAC there were very few agencies that provided comprehensive health and human services, and none that provided them to all Asian Pacific Islander communities. From its creation and over the next 16 years, Ms. Yip designed UPAC to meet the economic, social, psychological and physical needs of San Diego’s Asian and Pacific Islander population.
Today UPAC continues to celebrate its capacity to deliver services. Its multicultural, multilingual and multidisciplinary staff, representing 30 different languages and dialects, serve over 18,000 people annually. Services are provided in adult and child mental health, domestic violence, addition and recovery, health promotion and disease prevention, children and youth development, economic development, senior services, and community development.
Beverly Yip is remembered for her compassion to provide essential human care services for those most in need, her courage to identify and address critical health, social and economic challenges and her vision to respect and unite diverse cultures and generations for the good of all communities. In July 2006, she was featured in San Diego Magazine as one of the city’s historic icons; a woman who was instrumental in shaping how people and organizations can unite together to improve life for all.