President Barack Obama has appointed a New Jersey native to head the federal government agency charged with enforcing its anti-discrimination laws.
Jenny R. Yang, who grew up in Livingston, will serve as the Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the group announced in a release yesterday. Her appointment runs through June of 2017.
For her family, the appointment is particularly significant because Yang will be the first Asian American Chair of the EEOC.
Jenny Yang, 44, who now lives in Washington with her husband and two sons, is a graduate of Livingston High School. She went on to earn a B.A. from Cornell University in government, and a J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was an editor of the law review and a Root-Tilden public interest scholar.
Before joining the EEOC as a commissioner last year, she worked as an employment attorney with the firm Cohen, Milstein, Sellers & Toll PLLC. She previously worked as a senior trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
The daughter of two Chinese American immigrants, Yang has also done a lot of work on behalf of the Asian American community and represents the Commission on the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Yang’s mother said she is confident that her daughter will approach her new post with the lessons she learned from her childhood in New Jersey, her Chinese heritage, and the experiences she’s had throughout her career defending workers of all backgrounds.