Bernarda “Bernie” Wong, a giant and trailblazer in the Chinese American community passed away Monday night. Bernie was among the founding members of the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA) and served as the organization’s first Chair of the Board of Directors in 1979.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Bernie came to the US in 1962. Upon completing a master’s degree in social work from Washington University in 1968, she championed issues affecting Chinese residents in Chicago before incorporating the Chinese American Service League (CASL) in 1978. She also served as a key advisor on Asian affairs in the administrations of Chicago mayors Richard M. Daly, Rahm Emanuel, Lori Lightfoot, and Illinois governors Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner because of her comprehensive insight and unwavering leadership.