New Book About Local Humanitarian Betty Chinn now Available

Betty Chinns smiles as she stands at the bumper of a Betty's Blue Angel truck
The Betty Kwan Chinn Homeless Foundation includes a day center, Betty's House, Betty's Showers, Betty's Blue Angel Outreach and more.
The Press at Cal Poly Humboldt has released The Gray Bird Sings: The Extraordinary Life of Betty Kwan Chinn, an uplifting biography about the local hero and philanthropist.

Chinn is a humanitarian who has been compared to Mother Teresa, hailed as the “Hong Kong Angel,” and is beloved by her community in Humboldt County. She miraculously survived brutalities during the Chinese Cultural Revolution to become a beacon for humanity and an inspiration for all.

For decades, Chinn has helped community members suffering from homelessness, and mental health and substance abuse issues. She runs The Betty Kwan Chinn Homeless Foundation, and in 2022 she received an honorary doctorate from Cal Poly Humboldt for her exemplary service.

President Barack Obama, who awarded Chinn the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2010, said: “Touched by childhood tragedy, Betty Chinn brings hope to those who have fallen on hard times. Left homeless as a child in China, Chinn became mute. When she came to America, she found both her voice and her mission: aiding those without shelter on our own shores.”

The Gray Bird Sings: The Extraordinary Life of Betty Kwan Chinn details Chinn’s harrowing story as a homeless youth in China, her journey to the United States, and her philanthropic work which has gained international attention.

Local author Karen Price worked over 15 years to compile the memoir. Her close personal connection with Chinn and 40-year career as a therapist and clinical psychologist allows her to bring a unique care and perspective to a story of trauma, beautiful forgiveness, and inspiring achievement.

The book was released this October by The Press at Cal Poly Humboldt. The Press at Cal Poly Humboldt is a nonprofit press that publishes high-quality scholarly, intellectual, and creative works by or in support of the campus community. The press supports the University’s purpose to improve the human condition and our environment by promoting understanding of social, economic, and environmental issues.

All royalties from sales of the book go to support the Betty Kwan Chinn Homeless Foundation. The book is available online or can be ordered from our local booksellers.

For more information, contact The Press at Cal Poly Humboldt.

The Press at Cal Poly Humboldt

(707) 826-5602


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