SR0265LRB102 18299 LAW 26026 r


2    WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois Senate are saddened
3to learn of the death of Bernarda "Bernie" Wong of Chicago, who
4passed away on April 27, 2021; and
5    WHEREAS, Bernie Wong was born in Hong Kong to Jorge and
6Virginia Lo in 1943; she came to the U.S. at the age of 18; she
7obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at Briar Cliff
8College in Sioux City, Iowa in 1966; she earned her Master of
9Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis in 1968;
10she married Albert Yum-Chiu Wong in December 1968, and he
11preceded her in death on March 8, 2019; and
12    WHEREAS, Bernie Wong worked as a social worker in the
13Chicagoland area before she co-founded the Chinese American
14Service League (CASL) in 1978, a non-profit organization that
15has helped countless Chinese immigrants by providing social
16services and programs; she helped seniors, families, and
17undocumented immigrants by offering a number of services at
18CASL, including teaching English as a second language, job
19training, elder care, daycare, and early childhood education;
20she served as the president of CASL for decades before
21stepping down in 2016, but she continued serving as an advisor
22and a volunteer in retirement; and



SR0265- 2 -LRB102 18299 LAW 26026 r

1    WHEREAS, As its first employee, Bernie Wong began the
2Chinese American Service League with a $16,000 budget, and she
3led CASL into becoming the largest and most prominent social
4service organization serving Asian Americans in the Midwest
5today, with more than 600 employees, hundreds of volunteers,
6and a budget of more than $34 million; among CASL's many
7achievements, she was especially proud of the development of
8the Albert and Bernie Wong Senior Living Community and the Kam
9L. Liu Community Service Center; through CASL, she
10strengthened Chinatown's community, which led to it becoming
11consolidated into one legislative district; she was also
12instrumental in the development of several attractions,
13including Chinatown Square and Ping Tom Memorial Park; and
14    WHEREAS, Bernie Wong's work went beyond the Chinese
15American Service League; she broke barriers in Chicago by
16becoming the first Asian American to be appointed to the
17boards of the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and the
18Chicago Public Library; she was a founding board member of the
19National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA) and the founder
20of Chinese Immigrant Services Agencies Network International
21(CISANI); she chaired Mayor Richard M. Daley's Advisory
22Council on Asian Affairs, and she served on the Asian Advisory
23Council for Governors Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner; she belonged
24to the boards of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and
25Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and Leadership Greater Chicago; she



SR0265- 3 -LRB102 18299 LAW 26026 r

1also served as a council member of the Illinois Department on
2Aging; and
3    WHEREAS, Bernie Wong was recognized and honored by a
4number of organizations, mayors, governors, and presidents for
5her service and work, and her awards included the Community
6Organizer Trailblazer Award from the Rainbow/Push Coalition,
7the Distinguished Alumni Award from both Briar Cliff College
8and Washington University in St. Louis, the Edward J. Williams
9Community Leadership Award from Harris Bank, the Distinguished
10Community Leader award from then-Mayor Richard Daley, and the
11Champions of Change award by then-President Barack Obama in
12March 2012; and
13    WHEREAS, Bernie Wong was active in St. Therese Chinese
14Catholic Church, where she sang in the choir; and
15    WHEREAS, Bernie Wong was a trailblazing pioneer and a
16champion of social justice who dedicated her life to serving
17immigrants; her legacy will live on in the mission of the
18Chinese American Service League; and
19    WHEREAS, Bernie Wong is survived by her daughter, Jacinta
20Wong, and her grandchildren, Tiana and Matthew; therefore, be



SR0265- 4 -LRB102 18299 LAW 26026 r

2ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we mourn the passing of
3Bernarda "Bernie" Wong and extend our sincere condolences to
4her family, friends, and all who knew and loved her; and be it
6    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
7presented to the family of Bernie Wong as an expression of our
8deepest sympathy.