Chinese for Affirmative Action’s Christina Mei-Yue Wong has been chosen by KQED and Union Bank of California as a “Local Hero” for her fierce advocacy of educational equity on behalf of Asian and Pacific Americans (APA).
Christina is the Director of Community Initiatives at CAA, where, for nearly a decade, she has transformed the way San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) evaluates and works to meet the needs of APA students. Her educational policy work focuses on a wide range of issues, including school integration, language access, parental involvement, multilingual programs, and violence prevention and intervention.
“I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award than Christina,” stated Vincent Pan, CAA’s executive director. “All of us at CAA congratulate her and celebrate the importance and urgency of her work.”
As a leading advocate for parental involvement in public schools, Christina has created pathways to increase opportunities for immigrant parents to be engaged in their child’s education. In 2001, she successfully advocated for the first SFUSD translation department which provided Chinese and Spanish translation of district documents.
Several years later, she established the Visitacion Valley Parents Association (VVPA), a unique cooperative of parent leaders who train and work to address educational concerns affecting immigrant families. VVPA now has over 300 members who are often seen at the San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco’s City Hall and the State Capitol advocating for new policies and funds that address the needs of their community.
Christina is also a co-author of two studies on language access for parents with children in public schools, No Parents Left Behind (2005) and Lost Without Translation (2006). Both studies have led to state legislation to better enforce the translation of written school materials for limited-English proficient parents; state funding for a clearinghouse of translated documents that can be used by school districts throughout the state; and the allocation of local funds to expand SFUSD’s language services to school sites.
Christina also serves on many boards and task forces concerning local and statewide educational issues, including San Francisco APA Education Coalition, San Francisco School Volunteers, Bay Area Parent Leadership Action Network, SFUSD Safe Schools Task Force and Parent Involvement Coalition, and California Department of Education Translation Advisory Group.
In addition to CAA’s educational equity project, Christina oversees CAA’s immigrant rights project which monitors local policies and federal legislation that impact immigrants and provides access to legal and family support resources to San Francisco residents.
The “Local Heroes” award spotlights the contributions of people like Christina Wong, whose work benefits Bay Area residents, but oftentimes go unnoticed by the public. She will be receive her award along with four other honorees at KQED’s and Union Bank’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month celebration to be held on Wednesday, May 7. A video showcasing her accomplishments will be broadcasted on KQED throughout May.