The Arizona Republic’s Feb. 14 centennial issue mentioned prominent people in Arizona history and failed to mention Wing F. Ong, the first Asian-American ever to be elected to public office in the U.S. It happened right here in Arizona in 1946.
He was an example of the fulfillment of the American dream. He served two terms in the Arizona House from 1947 to 1951 and one term in the Arizona Senate beginning in 1967.
All too often Asian-Americans are overlooked and seldom thought of as “Americans.”
However, daughter Madeline Ong-Sakata, made sure the State did not forget. She states:
My father was a poor immigrant, who spoke no English but managed to graduate from Monroe School in the Phoenix Union district (where he won a statewide essay contest), Phoenix College and the University of Arizona School of Law.
He always taught us to be proud Americans but not to forget our heritage.
His fight for justice, civil rights and the plight of his fellow man drove him to become a lawyer who specialized in immigration.
Failing to mention Wing F. Ong does an injustice to Arizona history.