LOS ANGELES (March 1, 2013) — The City of Los Angeles established a new landmark in Chinatown, with the dedication of Judge Delbert E. Wong Square, named for a prominent judge and community leader on Friday, March 1, 2013. The dedication marks the City’s first recognition of a Chinese American with an official landmark.
Located at the intersection of Ord and North Hill Streets, the square marks the first time that the City of Los Angeles is recognizing a Chinese American with an official landmark. Los Angeles City Councilmember Ed Reyes played a key role in securing the designation, after friends and supporters of Judge Wong approached his office about commemorating Judge Wong publicly.
“The square will officially carry the name of the man who helped transform the Chinatown community — Judge Wong,” said Councilmember Ed P. Reyes. “Through this square dedication, we celebrate a judge, a national leader, a family man and friend to many, and a leader passionate about transforming the Chinatown community with a focus on families and children.”
Judge Wong, who passed away in 2006, dedicated his life to public service and was a trailblazer throughout his career. Among his many “firsts”, Judge Wong was the first Chinese American judge in the lower 48 states when he was appointed to the bench in 1958. He was also the first Chinese American to graduate from Stanford Law School, the first Asian American to serve as deputy legislative counsel to the California state legislature, and the first Asian American to be a deputy attorney general.
Stewart Kwoh, President and Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, said “Judge Wong was a hero to many Chinese and Asian American lawyers and law students, not only for his many historic accomplishments, but also for his generosity and commitment to many Asian American and Chinese American community groups.”
The effort to recognize Judge Wong was led by a group of volunteers who admired Judge Wong, and was supported by many key community organizations that serve the Chinatown community, including: Asian Pacific American Bar Association; Asian Pacific American Legal Center; Chinese American Citizens Alliance (Los Angeles Lodge); Chinese Historical Society of Southern California; Chinese American Museum; Friends of Chinatown Library; Chinatown Business Improvement District; Chinatown Service Center; Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles; Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, Los Angeles; OCA-Greater Los Angeles; Southern California Chinese American Lawyers Association.
“This is a proud moment for our community,” said Dr. Munson Kwok, naming committee member and a board member of the Friends of the Chinese American Museum. “The city is beginning to recognize its Chinese American heroes.”
The Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, is the nation’s largest Asian American legal and civil rights organization and serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year. Founded in 1983, APALC advocates for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society. Through direct legal services, impact litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, leadership development and capacity building, APALC seeks to serve the most vulnerable members of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (NHPI) communities while also building a strong Asian American and NHPI voice for civil rights and social justice.