Oakland activist, author, education advocate Jean Yonemura Wing dies

View Original Notice ? Oakland activist, author, education advocate Jean Yonemura Wing dies

OAKLAND — Jean Yonemura Wing, a principled leader in the pursuit of equitable and diverse education in the Bay Area and beyond, died March 29. She was 70.

She was a Berkeley High School graduate who returned to campus as a parent of a student and a researcher for the school’s diversity project, drawing on experience from UC Berkeley, where she earned her doctorate degree. Her 2006 book, “Unfinished Business,” outlined the project’s challenges and hard-fought achievements.

Yonemura Wing led the Oakland Unified School District’s Research, Assessment and Data Department for 16 years and helped to pioneer the district’s equity dashboard among other initiatives before retiring in June 2020, according to a social media post from the district’s Asian Pacific Islander Student Initiative. She had been a continuing advisor, coach and volunteer for Kingmakers of Oakland and, before that, the African American Male Achievement Initiative.

In a statement last week, Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell shared the word with families and educators of Yonemura Wing’s passing, as well as praise and warm remembrances from current and former district staff.

“Jean was a loving wife, mother, and grandmother. I was sad when she left the District because she was such a joy to work with, and I knew how much she meant to the organization,” Johnson-Trammell said in part.

“But of course, after spending decades in support of students here in Oakland and in Berkeley, a peaceful retirement was well-deserved. Now, less than a year later, I am devastated. We all are. The OUSD family will be there for Butch and Jean’s entire family.”

Earlier this week, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. offered his deepest condolences and warmest wishes for Yonemura Wing’s accomplishments in remarks to her family and community.

“With Jean’s departure, there is a hole in our soul. We lost one who touched our hearts and minds. Jean had all of our attention without being loud or boisterous,” Jackson said in a social media post Tuesday.

“We look back on these moments with pride. When Blacks were attacked, Jean stood with us. When the children of Oakland were underserved and marginalized, Jean displayed non-negotiable dignity. When Jean talked, she made the children comfortable. And she loved teaching someone else’s children beside her own.”

In a social media post Friday, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, praised Yonemura Wing’s legacy of care.

“My condolences and prayers go out to my dear friend Butch Wing and all of Jean’s loved ones,” Lee said in part.  “She was a woman warrior for justice, dignity of all people & the well-being of children.”

She is survived by her husband, Butch Wing, and their daughter, Teri Wing. In lieu of flowers, donations to Kingmakers of Oakland are welcome.

Contact George Kelly at 408-859-5180.

View Original Notice ? Oakland activist, author, education advocate Jean Yonemura Wing dies