Oral History Archive - Subjects
Burma. Canada. Social Work. Queens. Catholicity. Chinatown (New York, N.Y.) , Community activists
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2015.048.013 The Family Journey of Thomas and Edwin Wong

Edwin Wong and his father has been involved with community work in their personal and professional lives for almost four decades combined. Mr. Wong was born in Burma and has family roots in China, Hong Kong and Canada. When he arrived in New York City he became involved with the Department of Social Services, working as a case worker in neighborhoods in the Bronx and the Lower East Side. On his own time he became involved in local community boards in Queens and also spent his time in Manhattan Chinatown, joining the Wong Family Association as well as the Chinese Community Center. He credits his language skills, knowledge, personality and refusal to keep quiet as positives that helped him get to where he is today, although he also describes some experiences with discrimination and prejudice against Chinese and Chinese Americans, especially during the hiring and promoting process. While Mr. Wong is incredibly dedicated to community work, he makes sure to prioritize the wellbeing of the immediate family first, saying that personal and family needs have to be met before you get involved with the community. He transmits this value to his three sons. Edwin internalizes this lesson, saying that financial and overall stability is needed before community work can be done, although he is actively involved in community groups and boards around his neighborhood of Forest Hills.





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