Zhou Brothers' 'Red Angel' sculpture honoring late Chinese American advocate Bernie Wong unveiled

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Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Zhou Brothers' 'Red Angel' for late Bernie Wong unveiled in Chicago
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The Zhou Brothers' 'Red Angel' sculpture honoring late Chinese American advocate Bernie Wong was unveiled in Chicago Tuesday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A sculpture by world-renowned artists, the Zhou Brothers, was unveiled in Chicago Tuesday in honor of the late Bernie Wong, a trailblazer and fierce advocate for the Chinese American community.

The "Red Angel" sculpture was dedicated to the social justice icon who passed away from cancer earlier this year. Bernie Wong co-founded the Chinese American Service League more than 40 years ago. It is currently the largest social service agency in the Midwest serving Asian Americans with programs reaching thousands of clients every years.

CASL CEO Paul Luu called the reveal a "momentous moment not just for CASL" but also "in celebration of [their] dear beloved leader and founder Bernie Wong."

Just outside of CASL, Chicago came together Tuesday to honor Wong's legacy.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot called Wong "a true champion for the Chinese community."

"Not just in Chicago, but across the country, she had national standings," Lightfoot said. "She blazed a trail of success and opened up doors of opportunity."

Lightfoot shared what Wong said about Chicago, a city she so loved, as her health declined.

"She said that 'I hope people in this city learn to fall back in love with each other,'" Lightfoot said. "I'm grateful to continue to uplift and celebrate the life of this amazing woman who graced our city."

With Wong's decades of advocacy and activism in mind, the Zhou Brothers, whose art work is known around the world, created the "Red Angel."

"The 'Red Angel' is beauty love, passion and great spirit of mankind," the Zhou Brothers said.

The artists said the felt Wong's guiding hand when they first immigrated to the United States. Her vision for CASL more than 40 years ago was to provide support for immigrant families.

Chicago Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez, an immigrant, expressed his thoughts on Wong.

"As an immigrant myself, to see the many challenges in the immigrant community," Sigcho-Lopez said. "The work that Bernie provided for the community make stories like mine possible."

State Rep. Theresa Mah said "it's fitting" to have the sculpture in Chicago to remember Wong "to have her watch over the community as [they] continue to grow."