San Francisco’s Recreation and Park Commission has voted unanimously to change the name of Visitacion Valley Playground to Yik Oi Huang Peace & Friendship Park, in honor of a community advocate and neighborhood grandmother.
Huang was assaulted while doing her daily exercises at the park on Jan. 8, 2019, and died of her injuries a year later at age 89, according to the city’s Recreation and Park Department.
Friends and family of the longtime Visitacion Valley resident led the effort to rename the site in memory of her compassion, friendship and service to her community.
“I am happy that this ordinary, yet extraordinary human life, is being recognized and celebrated because Yik Oi made — and is still making — a meaningful difference in the lives of others,” said her granddaughter Sasanna Yee, who co-founded the renaming committee. “My grandmother’s joyous spirit will live on in the laughter and happiness of the community as they befriend each other at the park, creating social cohesion that eliminates the conditions that led to such violence.”
For more than 17 years, Huang — known to many locals as “Grandma Huang” and “Huang PoPo” — served as an ambassador for the Visitacion Valley Friendship Club, which offers senior services to the Chinese immigrant community and advocates for voting rights, aging issues and emergency preparedness.
“Grandma Yik Oi Huang loved her family, friends, and neighbors and was known for her joyous spirit and countless acts of kindness,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “So many of the friendships she developed began and flourished at this park, and now, with the renaming of Yik Oi Huang Peace & Friendship Park, we will forever be reminded of the lasting legacy she left on this community for generations to come.”