Tortoise & Dolphin

Relationship: Im/migrant
A tortoise carrying a dolphin.
A tortoise carrying a dolphin.

Last Dec, my husband, Albert, and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. We both came from Hong Kong as students  In the sixties, completed our graduate studies, met in Chicago and made it our home.
In 1978, a group of my friends and I saw the flight of new immigrants, the tremendous struggles they faced with limited English and a completely different culture.  We developed the Chinese American Service League (CASL) and grew it from a one- person shop in 1979 to one of the largest comprehensive social service agency serving the needs of Chinese Americans in the Midwest. I am always thankful for the many volunteers and loyal staff, many of them are immigrants from the community. 
My continuous thirty eight years of dedication to CASL as its CEO was supported by many individuals and groups. But the one person who carried me through all the challenging times was my husband, Albert, who passed away early March.  My daughter, Jacinta, described him as the tortoise that steadily awaits for me to rest on him while I, like a dolphin, charges full force ahead to create the many projects and programs to benefit the community.
This is the symbol I carry in my mind as a happy and grateful immigrant. I am forever thankful to my husband’s sacrifice, wise advice and steadfast support.
Bernarda (Bernie) Wong
Retired President & CEO
Chinese American Service League (CASL)

Place(s): Chicago and China
Year: 1962

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant