The fallen body of Michelle Yu, 49, was found this morning, Dec. 9, on Mt. Baldy, after a four-day search. She was the devoted mother of a college student, Kelly.
Many in our professional worlds are just climbers and little more. Michelle was climbing bigger mountains, the mountains that so many cannot reach. A passionate lawyer, devoted to legal services to the poor, a battler for immigrants, a state Senate staffer a decade ago, she worked for me as a policy consultant during my years in Sacramento.
Michelle initiated the first legislation to obtain legal recognition for carwash workers, long one of our most exploited, unpaid and underpaid, and unrepresented classes of workers. A decade later California finally established protections for those workers.
Her death comes as a deep shock to those of us who knew her, laughed with her, and worked long hours alongside her. Our hearts are throbbing and reaching out for Kelly and for Michelle’s family.
I have asked the state Senate to recess in her name and memory.