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Monday, October 2, 2023

Prominent attorney and champion of the Korean-American community, William P. Min, passes away at 90

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Attorney William P. Min is speaking about the need for single-member districts during a public hearing at the Los Angeles City Council.

Attorney William P. Min was invited to the White House in 1981 to represent the Korean-American community. He is with former President Jimmy Carter and his wife. [Courtesy of Attorney William P. Min]
Attorney William P. Min, the “saint of the Korean-American community in Southern California,” passed away at 8 a.m. on June 1. He was 90 years old.

Min had been receiving treatment for his recent exacerbation of pneumonia.

Born in Seoul in 1933, he came to Los Angeles with his family at the age of 15, accompanying his father, the late Hee Sik Min, who was the first Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Los Angeles. After passing the California State Bar in 1975, becoming the third Korean American in California and the second in Southern California to do so, Min practiced criminal law for 48 years.

He founded the Korean American Bar Association of Southern California (KABA) in 1983 and served on the board of directors of the Korean Youth Center (KYC) (1975-83), which is the predecessor to the current Korean American Community Center (KYCC).

He was the first Korean-American commissioner of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (1983-87), and after the 1992 L.A. riots, he served as the president of the Korean-American Social and Legal Aid Society (KALAF), which litigated on behalf of riot-affected business owners.

For 38 years, he provided free legal consultations to Korean Americans on May 1 each year in honor of Law Day.

He is also credited for the creation of three public schools in Southern California named after Korean immigrants.

At the time, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) was in the midst of a school construction boom, and Min named the new elementary school at Oxford Ave. and 2nd St. Charles Kim Elementary School.

In 2009, he led the effort to name a middle school at Wilshire Ave. and Chateau St. Young Oak Kim Academy after the war hero Colonel Young Oak Kim. And in 2013, he led the effort to name an elementary school at Vermont Ave. and Virgil Ave. Dr. Sammy Lee Medical and Health Science Magnet Elementary School after the Olympic gold medalist and physician Dr. Sammy Lee.

He also served as the first president of the International Korean Educators Network (IKEN) (2010) and as an advisor to the Patriots Association (2013).

He has been honored with The Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation (2001), the first Korean Legal Award for Korean Americans (2009), the Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Association of Korean Prosecutors (2018), and the KABA Pioneer Award (2018).

He was also present during the 2012 campaign to unify L.A. Koreatown, which was divided into four districts. Less than a year after his eye ball enucleation surgery for cancer, Mr. Min wore a black eye patch to a public hearing with the city of Los Angeles and testified in favor of unification.

Min continued to serve the community even as he underwent multiple major surgeries and radiation treatments for cancer in other parts of his body after his eye ball enucleation surgery in 2011.

His last volunteer work was promoting a free legal counseling seminar in Koreatown on May 6, organized by the Korean American Bar Association (KABA) and the L.A. Central Lions Club for Law Day. He was hospitalized and treated for inflammation in his leg about two months ago, but he loved the Korean American community so much that he attended the publicity request with his sore leg.

His family will announce funeral arrangements as soon as they are available.

Contact: (213)447-5475 Caroline Shim, (626)274-8311 Carol Min

BY NICOLE CHANG [support@koreadaily.com]